The Eternal Question…
How does one go about saving enough money to travel the world?
It seems that our western lifestyle predicts most of us will just scrape by in our 20’s and 30’s.. maybe finally getting somewhere in our 40’s. However, for Jamie and I, we do not want to wait that long. We spend far too much on higher education and the lifestyles that come with it: the partying, the bad choices, the vehicle or shopping spree we can’t afford. We max out credit cards to have the nicest and newest of everything: phones, computers, clothes, and cars. We live in a disposable country, when it is a few years old it is trashed, or traded in for something better. So, how does one get enough money to travel? Or eventually become expats in the countries we have listed here?
The answer? Sacrifices.
We have come to realize that we do not need the newest cars, ours work just fine. We don’t need a large, new house… we need one with a spare room for guest and a backyard for dogs. It can be older, doesn’t need to be in the newest and best neighborhood as long as it is safe, and doesn’t need 3 bathrooms for just two of us. We work on downsizing our belongings, selling off what we no longer find use for, or donating it to charity. We don’t care if people judge us negatively because we do not have the nicest material belongings, because in the end they will be left with their things, while we are off living an adventure..
So, how are we going to do it?
Well, on paper it seems easy, but putting it into practice a bit more difficult. Here are some ways we are working at currently, to cut our spending and get out of here, sooner rather than later.
1. Coffee From Home
Okay, think about it. If you buy coffee from Starbucks or another coffee shop every single day on your way to work you are looking at about $3-6 bucks per day, depending on if you have just a regular coffee, or if it is a Venti Caramel Macchiato with skim milk and extra shot, like yours truly (Don’t judge me). That adds up pretty quick. That translates to $15-30 a week, and $60-120 a month. You want to go a whole year doing that you are looking at anywhere between $780-1560. OUCH. I mean this is just an estimate, maybe some days you decide to forego the extra shot, and some days off you decide to go there anyways.. the idea is it all adds up. If there is two people in your household like us, man we spend a butt load on coffee!
So the solution? Buy yourself a coffee maker. Get a Tassimo, or Keurig.. or if you are lucky enough like us, somebody will be done with their fancy expresso machine and give it to you for free (We just had to buy a couple parts so it actually works). While you are looking at $100-250 for a coffee maker if you buy it brand new.. that is a heck of a lot cheaper than Starbucks Venti Pumpkin Spiced Lattes half sweet, skim milk, extra shot (yea, I’m a basic bitch). I guarantee about half of you out there already own some type of coffee making device. You could even buy yourself a percolator and a milk frother.. and bam! Lattes on the cheap!
For us.. lets say we were spending about $2k a year on coffee out (That’s probably below actual). Yea, I know. OUCH. Now, we buy Tassimo Pods, They are $10/pack and we maybe go through 2 a week (That’s being generous). Now we are looking at only $1k a year on coffee.. cut that spending in half.. Save the Starbucks for special treats. Saves your waistline too.
Affiliate links below, but these are what we have at home now that helps cut costs. PS. Starbucks and other places do offer syrups to help make your homemade versions taste more professional too 😉
2. No More Fast Food
Kinda seems like we are getting healthier too here no? #Cleaneating #Weightloss etc etc. So.. when we are being lazy, the temptation has always been to order off of skip the dishes, or pizza hut, or stop and get something on the way home through McWuffies drive-through. In the end, that stuff makes us feel like shit. Not even going to sugar coat that one. What you get is usually garbage, and if not, it is expensive, or both! Yea, Pizza Hut means extra pizza and lunch the next day, but it is usually also a $50 bill plus tip at very least. If we go out for dinner, we are usually looking at over $100. If you do that a few times a week, or even a month, that adds up quickly!
So.. what do you do when you are feeling like making food is an insurmountable task? Go get yourself a rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad from your local grocer. You’re looking at max maybe $17-18, and for two people, that should be enough for dinner and lunch the next day.. ka-ching! You are up $30+ in one pop. #Winning!
3. Bagged Lunches for the win
Alright, I have to admit this has been much easier for me to do, and a work in progress for Jamie. In my old school district you were lucky if you had a 20 minute break at lunch to shove your face (don’t chew, that takes up valuable pee-break time) with food, 40 minutes on the odd day you didn’t have supervision. There was no option for me to run out and get food, even though it was across the street. So I always brought a lunch with me. Now that we have moved across the country, I find myself working at rural country schools, with limited options, so again I am forced to eat whatever I bring. Sometimes, when we haven’t been planning, my lunch literally consists of freezer burned pre-made meals I bought when they were on sale, found shoved under some meat at the bottom of the deep-freeze. Mmm. Not. Or I would stop at the grocery store on the way past and grab a $6 ready to go salad and a $3 snack to go with it. $9 lunch every now and then.. those add up! Maybe an extra $50/month for me.
For Jamie, the struggle has been real. Real real. He hates leftovers with a passion, he’s a bit of a snob that way. For the past 17 years he has bought lunch at work, because it was available. Management at a grocery store has it’s perks.. you have food available, literally at your fingertips. And while I may have opted to buy something and eat it for several days, get the frozen meal on sale and heat it up in the microwave (mmm… radiation), he often opted for the made to order, or ready to eat offerings. And being a guy.. he needed more food than I would. On average, he was looking at about $15/day for lunches. That translates to about $75/week and around $300/month just on lunches alone. Which translates to a pretty significant amount considering we budget ourselves around $500 for groceries a month for all meals.
So, we bought ourselves some new food containers, hit up pinterest, broke out the slow cooker, and now we are working at planning meals for the week. We don’t cook everything up like some choose to on Sundays, because we like variety. We just cook extra at night to bring with us to work the next day. Find some of our favorite recipes here.
Money saving: Maybe $400/month at very least. We buy more food now at the grocery store, but there is less fast food and ready made options and more healthy choices – We feel better financially and health wise.
Other Food Tips
- Don’t buy the individual snack sizes of things, buy the big size and use sandwich bags to divvy yourself up the perfect amount.
- Buy things you use a lot of in bulk from stores that offer it (aka Costco) for things like ziploc baggies, laundry detergent, coffee, PB, etc. Things that do not go bad, or club sizes of things you can split up and freeze (bread, chicken, english muffins etc).
- Dont worry about the brand name – buy the no name brand. More often than not it is made in the same facility with the same ingredients, so you are only buying the name. Sometimes though, the no name brand is better and cheaper, double win.
- Search up copycat recipes of the things you really love to make at home on your own. Many things you can buy for $20/plate can be made at home for much cheaper, but same or better quality. My favorite lettuce wraps are to die for, and when I make them at home I get 3 servings for the price of one at the store.
Before, we were both impulse shoppers. Oh, that shirt is nice, lets buy it. New sunglasses? Why not. Backyard trinkets.. sure! But, when it comes down to it, we do not need all of these things, because they are just things. We now wait and think about things before buying them. Leave it, give it a few days, if you still feel you need it then get it. But if it doesn’t serve a definite purpose and help us get where we want to go in the future, it needs to stay on the shelf. The reality is if we are traveling or moving abroad, we will not be able to take all of the things we have accumulated with us. We need to be downsizing, not consuming more, so our focus is now on getting rid of the unnecessary belongings and only purchasing things we can easily resell or move with us when the time is right.
I’ve accumulated a lot of teaching resources and belongings over the last few years, which has been a struggle for me to part with, especially knowing my teaching position might change over time. Which it definitely has. I went from teaching middle school, to primary school, to elementary school, all within a span of a year, mainly thanks to the Fort Mac fire and Jamie’s transfer. I am now trying to only purchase online resources that are easily portable via external harddrive or google drive rather than having paper copies of everything. I do really love having books in my hand, the smell of them, and turning pages, but the reality is, if we move abroad I wont be able to take all my precious books.
For clothing, we are working on getting rid of the clothing we do not wear anymore. If I haven’t worn it in a year its in the sell, donate, or toss pile. Before I purchase anything new, I need to get rid of others, and nothing is bought new unless it will be used for a long time down the road.
This is something we are currently looking at doing as well. We currently pay $1450 for rent, but we are living in a place that we do not really need. We are looking to downsize, yes, moving is a headache, but if we find a place for $200 cheaper per month, that is an extra $2400 in our pocket a year! That’s a pretty nice all inclusive vacation on a tropical beach!
6. Cell Phones/Technology/Cable
Ok, have you really taken a look at your cell phone bill lately? Ours is outrageous. Rogers is trying to take an arm and a leg from us. And do we really use our phones all that much? Nah.. not $160/month worth! With the availability of free wifi everywhere now, it seems we barely use our data. It’s no longer worth it. When we can get out of our contract we will be, and we will be switching to pay as you go. For $15/month you can have a basic phone that has unlimited texting. Add on packages with talk and data and you are looking at anywhere between maybe $20-35/month dependant on how much you talk on it, if you play a lot of games while not on wifi, etc. For us, we can use facetime from our home for most calls, and we text more than anything. So for $50/month for the two of us, rather than $160, heck yea.. its worth it. Oh and buy the latest phone.. not likely. When these crap out then we will get something new.
Second.. who the hell needs cable when you have netflix or a jailbroken Apple TV or a Kodi box? I mean really.. who watches tv when it is on and doesn’t just PVR it? Streaming is where it is at. Face it, you need internet at home, we all do, it’s now a necessity. For my line of work it definitely is. So rather than spend $120-130 on basic cable and internet, we axed the cable and are saving ourselves $50+/month and are surviving on netflix and Kodi. This has been extremely freeing.. we are not subjected to all the commercials trying to sell us crap we don’t need. We don’t see the updates of the terrible world happenings other than when we choose to read about it ourselves or somebody posts something on facebook.. there’s no constant barrage in the face of buy this, look at this, watch this now. We watch what we want, exactly when we want to. Yea, this means having to tell the office crowd to shut their dirty mouths when they are talking about the latest episode that was on TV last night because it probably won’t make it to our stream until the next evening.. but most of the time we just PVR’d it anyways.
7. Home Beauty Routines
This one might be controversial.. but instead of the $25+ haircut every month that Jamie likes, he has me do most of it, and he does the rest. I also need to dye my hair regularly, because I have A LOT of grey poking through. But rather than spend $150+ every few months I opt for a good one every year or so and use the store bought color to maintain it. The one thing I have yet to give up though, is my monthly nail salon visit. It’s hard to want to get anything other than my gel overlays when I have had them for the past 5 years in a row. It’s the one thing I do for myself. We don’t go to spa’s or get massages or any of those likes.. we rely on each other.
Well, that’s about all I can think of right now. If you have some other money saving tips, be sure to let us know about them! Cheers, and happy travelling!