How do you put together the finances for your travels, long-term or short-term? What do you sacrifice in order to save up the necessary cash? What's your best money-saving tip on the road? Share your money tips - and pick up a few - right here.

Leaving in 9 months... need more money!

DavidAM

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2011
So I've had this plan for a while now, and if you've browsed the forums lately you may have seen my threads about these plans, but basically I want to take a train cross country from New York to Portland and then fly out to Hawaii for at least 6 months and WWOOF. And if my funds look okay then I might even consider a WHV for New Zealand. The thing is, I've decided when I want to leave and I'm sticking to September 2011. But I'm not sure if I'll have the amount of money that I thought I would by that time. I've been working since Thanksgiving, part-time at $10/h. I get paid every two weeks but with Christmas, and buying a few things I'll need for the trip, and just having to live while I'm here, I feel like I'm spending more and not saving enough and it's accumulating slower than I'd like it to.

So since I'm certain that I want to leave in the month of September, that only gives me about 9 months to make a good amount of money. The math I originally did was something like 9-10k by the time I leave. But that's not calculating the cost of living while I'm home. I live with my mom at the moment but I buy my own groceries and pay my own cell phone bill. I also buy a monthly bus pass to get to and from work and every now and then I buy my lunch at work (I work at Whole Foods so I get a 20% discount on anything I buy there).

I was considering a second job that pays weekly so I'd have a second source of income accruing that was also a bit more consistent while I live here. I figure knowing my departure date will also soften the blow of working two jobs because before you know it time will fly and I'll be flying. What do you guys think? I've read a lot of money saving tips and it's always so hard to stick to them. So any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

Scritch

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Location: New Orleans, LA

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  • Added on: January 14th, 2011
It's hard to stick to money saving tips because saving money is hard. There's no easy way around that.

Switch to a prepaid cellphone. That cut my bill in half. I've started texting more because I have unlimited texts, but I definitely don't talk as often as I used to. I'm thinking Skype for those folks I talk to for extended periods of time.

Make a budget. Figure out where your money goes. Then figure out what you need to live on, including some mad money for going out to eat, a show, a movie, or whatever. Then take the rest and set it up to be directly deposited into your savings account.

Eat smaller meals, and snack less. Don't starve yourself, it's just that we've gotten used to eating large portions as Americans. I used to eyeball how much spaghetti I was cooking, and I could easily just dump half a pound of pasta into the water for a single meal. I started using a pasta measure and I was surprised at how much longer a pound of spaghetti lasts me now.

If you can't save up enough money by September? Suck it up and leave in October. Or November. I had originally planned to leave on my trip in May, but a few trips to the doctor really took a bite out of my income and now I may even have to dip into my travel fund. Now I'll be leaving in July, and with less money than I originally intended, although I tend to overbudget.

If you have a part-time job you should absolutely get a second job. Working 70 hours a week is miserable, but working two part-time jobs is more than manageable if you're not in school. The tricky part will be finding one that works with your current job's schedule. Which may mean you lose your nights, weekends, or other block of time you currently have gotten used to dicking around with.

If you're trying to save up $9,000 by September, and you're only working part time at $10 an hour, then your timetable is extremely unrealistic, depending on how much you started with. Do the math. Let's say around 10-15% of your wage goes to various things like taxes, insurance, or whatever. That means you're actually making around $8.50-$9.00 an hour. Part-time is what? 20-30 hours a week? That means you're making between $9,000-$14,000 a year. And since you're not even working a full year, that's closer to $7,000-$11,000 by September.

Even living at home, thinking that you'll be able to put 80% or more of your income into savings, especially as someone who admittedly has a hard time sticking to money saving tips, is unrealistic. I mean, hell, 10% of your current expenses are probably eaten up by having a phone and bus pass. And I would be very surprised if you can eat off the other 10%, especially factoring in eating at work occasionally, even at a 20% discount.

If you're that concerned, I'd really reconsider some of those purchases you previously mentioned, but that's just me.

Seriously, open up Google Docs or Excel, setup a spreadsheet, and enter in columns for: rent ($0), cell phone, bus pass, food (take the average of the past 3 months, fudge it if you have to, by let's say estimating you eat at work 3 times a week, order a pizza once a month, etc.), and any other expenses you can think of. Start saving your receipts or logging your spending, and tally them up at the end of a month. Seeing the reality of your finances laid out in tiny boxes is much different than assuming you just won't spend any money for 10 months.

DavidAM

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Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: January 14th, 2011
Great response. I hate to think that I may have to leave later, but if I have to push it back, I'm not going further than my birthday of October 11th. And I have a few personal reasons for that.

That one trick with the prepaid phone plan is actually very smart and I might actually do it. I actually considered it at one point, but then turned my back on the idea. I have a $60 phone bill, the cheapest Verizon offers for a talk and text plan. The thing is my current plan is over in July and the severance charges are so costly. The bus pass is $72 a month. Cutting out the $60 would be great! But the bus pass is Invaluable. I pay for a 2-zone pass to get to the Whole Foods and then I can use that pass to go wherever I want via the lightrail or more local buses which is very convenient. I use my pass pretty much everyday because I like to take advantage of it. You more than pay for it's price by using it.

The theatre by my job has a Bargain Tuesday deal. Every movie, all day, 3D/2D are $6. I usually go to the movies on that day when something good is playing. Next week I'll probably go and see Blue Valentine or The Dilemma. And I never buy snacks at the theatre. Total rip!

As for grocery shopping, I haven't done it in weeks. I've been closing the last few shifts and so I can never buy anything after work and so usually what I eat is something bought during my break and any fruit I can scavenge from the coolers. LOL! Then I'll usually come home and my mom will have made pasta or I'll have to fend for myself and I'll usually eat whatever's about to go bad because my sisters and mom never eat any of their food quick enough... (yet they complain when I finish it...) LOL!

So it's looking like I'll probably get a second job. I want to make sure I have at least 8k by the time I leave (that's after my transportation costs are covered). I'm completely aware of how much I'm spending without a spreadsheet. To be honest, I can't really sit down and go through everything... I don't have the mindset or patience for it. I'm pretty good at realizing how much I'm spending without one and I know I'm spending more than I should which is why I'm here pondering whether or not I should get a second job. Usually when I get paid it all goes into my checking account and then I'll take about $40 out and only let myself use $60 on my debit. I'm trying to stick to that... Lol! But we'll see how this second job fares.

If anyone has anymore tips or reality checks for me, please let me know! Thanks!
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

travel droppings

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2011
Scritch you are a voice of reason. Great advice. Especially looking at your reciepts every month. I pay with credit card for almost everything, but I also pay it off every month. That way I ca look at my statements to get an idea of what Ive been wasting money on

Also, Scritch, what pay as you go provider are you? I did the same and have T-mobile. .10 per minute, but I dont get unlimited texts.
Cheers.
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DavidAM

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Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2011
I just found Net10 which seems pretty good! Might get into that for a prepaid plan.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

lauracatherine

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2011
If you ditch the weekly movie, that's an extra $24 a month. And if you buy snacks at another store, you'd be saving that money too. Do you have Red Box in your neck of the woods? They're $1 a movie, plus tax. And they're a bit sooner than when movies come out to Blockbuster or Hollywood and the like. I know you still have to live, but to me, this seems like a no-brainer.

You say you eat at work with your 20% discount. But what are you buying? A premade sandwich or salad? If you picked up pasta and veggies or fixings for peanut butter and jelly, that 20% would go a lot farther, as would your savings.

I always keep a running tab of what I spend while I travel, so I figured why not do it at home too? I started using a spreadsheet two months ago and it's really helped me keep track of my expenses. Even if you do a really less specific one it could probably help you.

I have my bank accounts set up that a set amount is taken out of my checking and goes into my savings every pay day. It's easier to save this way, at least for me, because I don't see the money disappearing. I'd recommend doing this as well.

And if you get a second job that cuts into weekends and nights, you'll have less time/opportunities to spend your money.

Best of luck with your savings!
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio

2wanderers

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  • Added on: January 17th, 2011
DavidAM wrote:I'm completely aware of how much I'm spending without a spreadsheet. To be honest, I can't really sit down and go through everything... I don't have the mindset or patience for it. I'm pretty good at realizing how much I'm spending without one and I know I'm spending more than I should which is why I'm here pondering whether or not I should get a second job.
The question isn't just "how much," but also "on what." If you're not up for spreadsheet tracking, you might want to consider using something like mint.com to break down your spending. I can't use it (it'll only connect to US financial institutions), but I've heard great things and it's supposed to be fully automated.

Scritch

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  • Added on: January 18th, 2011
DavidAM wrote:I'm completely aware of how much I'm spending without a spreadsheet. To be honest, I can't really sit down and go through everything... I don't have the mindset or patience for it.

If anyone has anymore tips or reality checks for me, please let me know! Thanks!


Additional tips or reality checks in regard to your finances: get over not having the mindset or patience for sorting through your finances.

That's like saying you want to build muscle and lose weight, but don't have the patience to eat better or exercise.

Mint.com is an excellent suggestion, I used it before I switched banks (and my new bank didn't support it.) I should check it out again to see if they're compatible now.

Like 2wanderers said, there's a huge difference between knowing how much you spend and what you're spending it on. When I calculated how much my roommate was spending on cabs a month, he was floored.

And direct deposit is much better than moving the money around yourself. It greatly reduces the temptation to not meet your savings goal each month, for all those times you tell yourself you'll just put aside more next month to make up for it, and then the next month...

Being able to manage your money is especially important when you're working low paying jobs. It's the only way I've been able to keep up with friends who make twice as much as I do, but waste a lot of it. And let's face it, you won't be able to live rent free forever.

Travel: I'm with Virgin, but their service terrible. Once it's up and running, you're fine, but god forbid you ever have an issue. You get 300 minutes and unlimited text/data a month for $25 ($28 with taxes). Before that I was in the same boat as David, shelling out $60+ to Verizon for a basic plan.

I was originally aiming for $15,000 saved up in 2 years, but having to go to the doctor a half dozen times (and probably more in the future) has really eaten into my ability to save. I'm probably going to have closer to $13,000 by the time I leave in July.

DavidAM

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Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: January 20th, 2011
Alright! I have the next two days off of work so I'm gonna sit down and attempt this whole spreadsheet thing... and then clean my room and put some stuff on Craigslist.

You guys are right! If I want to meet my savings goal then I really have to buckle down with my finances. So far I've got all I need for the trip, more than half was provided by family for Christmas so that only left about 4 things I needed to buy on my own and with a couple of gift cards I saved a bit of money on that front. The one thing I'm still debating is the laptop. The digital cam I'm looking to bring I've found on eBay for a third of the price. I'm buying mostly used and refurbished things as well.

I'm definitely gonna cut down on eating at work. I can probably do the math in my head right now on what I spend on lunch there and it's probably close to $250 since I've started. I'm also gonna cut back on ordering pizza and eating out. My grocery bill is usually only a bit more than ordering the usual and it lasts MUCH longer. I'm also gonna cancel my service with Verizon and go with this Net10 company.

Also, I just recently opened a High Yield Investor Checking Account with Charles Schwab. I'm in the process of moving my money over and I'll start direct deposit into the account ASAP. And the biggest news of all which will help my cause is that I asked to become full-time at Whole Foods and they've given me 40 hours. So I'm looking at a much bigger paycheck to put away for this trip while continually cutting costs. Things are hopefully looking good.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

ord2rtw2013

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  • Added on: January 21st, 2011
Are there any places around you doing research? I've made moola taking part in sleep and drug research.

Get the second job! I did and the money is going into my savings account automatically. out of sight then out of mind. Don't underestimate thrift stores. That's about all I've got. Good luck!


DavidAM wrote:So I've had this plan for a while now, and if you've browsed the forums lately you may have seen my threads about these plans, but basically I want to take a train cross country from New York to Portland and then fly out to Hawaii for at least 6 months and WWOOF. And if my funds look okay then I might even consider a WHV for New Zealand. The thing is, I've decided when I want to leave and I'm sticking to September 2011. But I'm not sure if I'll have the amount of money that I thought I would by that time. I've been working since Thanksgiving, part-time at $10/h. I get paid every two weeks but with Christmas, and buying a few things I'll need for the trip, and just having to live while I'm here, I feel like I'm spending more and not saving enough and it's accumulating slower than I'd like it to.

So since I'm certain that I want to leave in the month of September, that only gives me about 9 months to make a good amount of money. The math I originally did was something like 9-10k by the time I leave. But that's not calculating the cost of living while I'm home. I live with my mom at the moment but I buy my own groceries and pay my own cell phone bill. I also buy a monthly bus pass to get to and from work and every now and then I buy my lunch at work (I work at Whole Foods so I get a 20% discount on anything I buy there).

I was considering a second job that pays weekly so I'd have a second source of income accruing that was also a bit more consistent while I live here. I figure knowing my departure date will also soften the blow of working two jobs because before you know it time will fly and I'll be flying. What do you guys think? I've read a lot of money saving tips and it's always so hard to stick to them. So any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

DavidAM

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Location: New Jersey

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  • Added on: January 24th, 2011
I'm not even sure how I'd get into that. But I wouldn't anyway. I don't have time to be a test subject and it creeps me out a little. Well they just canned someone in my department at Whole Foods so I may actually be getting those 40 hours very soon. Which actually makes my yearly income there about 18,000. Minus taxes and living here, I should still have enough to leave on time.
"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Sea of Derailments - http://davidamis.wordpress.com
DavidAM Bandcamp - http://davidam.bandcamp.com

Nomadic_VJ

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  • Added on: June 3rd, 2011
I'm currently saving for my 6-12 months travel, by the end of 2012 I should reach my savings goal with some extra cash. One of the biggest things that is helping me out, is learning how to bugdet my cash. That is the most important thing, learning how to break down your bills, savings, necessary items like gas or transportation card, and spending. Especially a good thing to get in the habit because when traveling, it will make or break how long you can travel for.

Some people will disagree, but I try my best to use "Cash" for everything instead of deposting paychecks into my checkings account and using my ATM card. I loose track of what I can spend and just swipe away. I usually just keep $50-$100 in my checkings account for backup.

Everytime I get paid, I cash the check at the bank instead of depositing it, when I get home I lay all the money on the table and then sort out. I have 3 banking envelopes to put cash in:
(1) Bills
(2) Savings
(3) Spending

I instanly put $300 away for savings. Then I see what bills need to be paid and put that money in the "Bills" envelope. I usually put the rest of the money in my "Spending" envelope for gas, food, and a few beers. That will give you a visual of what I can spend and not spend. This system has be great for and now it's second nature every pay period.

And one of the best things I like about using cash all the time, I always put the left over change in a 5 gallon jar. Sometimes I even put my left over $1 bills into the jar. You will be suprised how quickly change will add up. I've been stashing away change for 2 years and now need both hands to pick up the jar. By the time for my travel I should have more than a $1000, if not more.....

Scritch

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Location: New Orleans, LA

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  • Added on: June 6th, 2011
Nomadic_VJ wrote:I'm currently saving for my 6-12 months travel, by the end of 2012 I should reach my savings goal with some extra cash. One of the biggest things that is helping me out, is learning how to bugdet my cash. That is the most important thing, learning how to break down your bills, savings, necessary items like gas or transportation card, and spending. Especially a good thing to get in the habit because when traveling, it will make or break how long you can travel for.

Some people will disagree, but I try my best to use "Cash" for everything instead of deposting paychecks into my checkings account and using my ATM card. I loose track of what I can spend and just swipe away. I usually just keep $50-$100 in my checkings account for backup.

Everytime I get paid, I cash the check at the bank instead of depositing it, when I get home I lay all the money on the table and then sort out. I have 3 banking envelopes to put cash in:
(1) Bills
(2) Savings
(3) Spending

I instanly put $300 away for savings. Then I see what bills need to be paid and put that money in the "Bills" envelope. I usually put the rest of the money in my "Spending" envelope for gas, food, and a few beers. That will give you a visual of what I can spend and not spend. This system has be great for and now it's second nature every pay period.

And one of the best things I like about using cash all the time, I always put the left over change in a 5 gallon jar. Sometimes I even put my left over $1 bills into the jar. You will be suprised how quickly change will add up. I've been stashing away change for 2 years and now need both hands to pick up the jar. By the time for my travel I should have more than a $1000, if not more.....


Man, I don't know how big your paychecks are, but I'm not exactly Mr. Moneybags and I would never carry my entire paycheck with me anywhere.

You know you can do all that with direct deposit, right? If you know you always put X amount or Y percent into savings... simply put that immediately into savings. 30% of my paycheck goes straight into my savings account. It's out of sight, out of mind, and I'm never tempted to casually spend it.

I use my debit card for everything because in combination with a service like Mint, I know exactly where my money is going. Spent too much on restaurants one week? I cut back the next week. I also ration out my cash. On Friday I'll withdraw a certain amount, and that has to last me through the weekend for all my socializing and other expenses.

If you really just swipe away, I'd say there's some basic self control issues at work. But if that system works for you, then it works.

Also, while that $1,000 worth of change will be a nice bonus, if it were in a savings account you'd be making interest off of it.

I'm not sure what bills you have, but by their very nature bills tend to be semi-regular. Again, just assume you'll pay X amount every month. Give yourself a buffer. If you don't use it all up? Put the extra into savings.

Even here, where the electric company was allowed to declare limited bankruptcy and can nearly charge whatever they want from month to month to make the money back, I just assume that every month I will pay the highest bill I've ever had.

I set a goal of $15,000, and I've managed to save that while getting my master's, volunteering, and working full-time over a two year period.

One thing I will say is be generous with your savings goal, and realize that you could be hit with unexpected expenses. Some unplanned trips to the doctor over the past year have really eaten into that savings, and I'll probably leave with closer to $12,000 (after my plane ticket to Thailand). I also had to push back the date of my departure two months to make up some of the money I spent.

Plans change, and you should be flexible.



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