I can hardly believe that Brett and I leave for Europe in 22 days. That’s (just over) three weeks away! And, the best part? I’ll be in Europe for about double that amount of time. Is this real life?!
Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, the decision to travel was kind of a last minute one — Brett and I were saving up money to move across the country with jobs, and that was obviously a much different budget than saving up money to move across the country but first travel for 40 days, which means we won’t have jobs and then also need to account for being unemployed for a few months. I’m pretty sure Brett’s Dad still thinks we’re loony (love ya, Jim!).
With that being said, Brett and I put our heads together, opened up Google Sheets, and built out a budget. We thought of every possible way to save up enough money as quickly as possible, and within about three months, we have been able to fund our Europe trip, and then some! I’ve had a few people ask me for money-saving tips, so I figured that I would compile a list of suggestions below!
1. Qapital – This money saving app has helped me save an easy $800 in a way that I didn’t even notice it *missing*. Essentially, you link Qapital up to your bank account and choose what “rules” you want to follow. My favorite rule, the “Round-up” rule, rounds all my purchases up to the nearest even whole dollar, and puts that amount aside in my separate Qapital account. For example: If I buy something for $12.50, Qapital will take $1.50 from my account (P.S. It’s FDIC insured, so no worries). I also recently started the 52 week rule, where week 1, Qapital saves $1, week 2, it saves $2, so on… I’ve found that, since the amounts are small, I don’t “miss” the money, yet when all these withdrawals add up, I have a nice chunk of savings!
*Here is my referral code! If you sign up with my code, we each get $5!
2. Get a New Credit Card – First, let me say both Brett and I have really great credit scores. I work to always pay my card off when my statement is due — I am not suggesting to get a credit card for the sake of spending money you don’t have! Chase Bank has a great travel card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, that allows for no foreign transaction fees, 2X cash back on anything travel related, and a great sign on bonus. After a month and a half, I received over $600 cash back, which I applied directly to our trip!
*If you’re looking for a new card, here is my referral link for the Chase Sapphire Preferred! We’ll each get bonus points 🙂
3. Cut Back on Eating Out – This is easier said than done, but let me convince you how worth it this is quick. Go look at your Seamless account and your bank statement for the last month, and add up all food and drink expenses that aren’t from the grocery store. Are you cringing yet?! Every time Brett and I considered going out to eat, we took $20 each, put it in our savings fund, and cooked a meal together instead. Our roof in Astoria was the perfect spot to post up for a sunset dinner view, too (as you can see from the photo on this post)! Not only were we then $40 closer to our goal, but we also weren’t absurdly full. Speaking of a savings fund…
4. Create a Separate Bank Account – Whether you’re saving together, or by yourself, I highly recommend creating a new bank account. Brett and I opened a joint account not long after we started dating (we have been slowly saving for our move for a long time), and it’s so good to have — we never touch the money in it! I love Simple Bank — it’s all online, and you have the ability to set up savings goals — but really, having a separate account literally separates your savings, so you’re not tempted to “just borrow a little bit” for a weekend splurge.
5. Cut Down Your Expenses – Lay out what you spend money on each month — rent, food, cable, going out, gym, Netflix, so on. What do you actually need? Brett and I were lucky enough to save on rent for two and a half months by moving back home, however, aside from that, we downgraded our gym memberships, stopped buying so much wine (…), lowered our grocery bill, so on.
Post trip, I plan to share some advice on how we saved money on booking our trip and (hopefully) while travelling as well!
Counting down the days!!