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Travel Budget and Spending Changes

March 1, 2012

As I mentioned in my previous post, my mind once again has been consumed with travel thoughts.

Isn’t there a saying that goes something like this: “give attention to the thoughts that consume you.”

No? Well, maybe there should be.

Seeing as all I do while at work and on my own is think about traveling, I figure now is a good time than any to buckle down and figure out how much it would cost me to internationally travel for 3-4 months that I would like to. Truth be told, I don’t even know how much I should save. To determine the cost of 3-4 months in East Africa, I will base it on a budget of $2000 a month, which seems rather generous . For four months, I would need to save $8000. The good news, that I am 25%  there if I utilize funds within my emergency savings fund. If I do not, then I am at ground zero.  Although the idea of saving $8000 seems rather daunting, I am happy to know I have relatively low fixed costs (rent, groceries, cell phone, public transportation pass) and do not spend a lot of money on discretionary items.

Here are some thing that I am immediately implementing to save a maximum amount of money:

1. Cut off the Starbucks gold card. Man, this one has already hurt. I have around $10 left on my card, but once it has finished I will not reload. I spend around $40 a month at starbucks, and honestly those funds can probably last me 2-3 days of travel. Although I will miss my *grande soy extra hot chai lattes with a shot of espresso*, I know I’ll love having an extra $40 a month.

2. Pay off my outstanding credit card. I  currently only have one outstanding card balance of $350, and instead of paying it completely off I have been paying small bits each month. I’m can knock it out and have a clean balance by the end of this month, so it will be something I attack.

3. Walk even more. I currently do not own a car and therefore do not pay for gas nor do I have car insurance. However, I do spend money on transportation and there are plenty of places easily acceptable by foot that I hop on a bus to get to. As a double bonus, walking is great excercise.

4. Speaking of excercise, I am considering ending my gym membership. 😦 While I do utilize my membership at least 3-4x a week, I honestly feel  I can work out at home or hit the pavement and run instead of running on the treadmill. My membership is $40 a month, and over time that adds up to be quite a bit. I’ll definitely miss going to yoga classes, kickboxing, and step aerobics 2x a week (all fitness classes are included in the membership) but if I can save money, I am determined to give it a shot.

5. Get rid of cell phone plan, or at very minimum get a cheap call-only phone. Data packages, text messaging, and unlimited phone calls ADD UP. I currently pay $80 a month for my craptastic blackberry thanks to a Department of Education discount courtesy of my family, but really, who needs a phone? Seriously. With the availability of skype, google voice, etc it just doesn’t seem worth it. I think I am going to do it.

6. Strict shopping ban. Although I don’t leisurely shop, I have an affinity for thrift stores. I can’t help it! I recently attended a clothing swap, and truth be told, I’ll never look at shopping the same way again. I get to give away my clothes while getting new to me items…win!

 

That’s all I have! Anyone with tips that helped you save money in a short period of time, let me know!

♥ Chinye

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