Wish you had money to travel? Budget yourself to your goals!
Lots of our friends ask us how we afford to take a two week trip every three months while living on our own, and paying 3 auto loans. We both have regular, hourly paid, non commission jobs. Answer is, we budget! I feel most people think budgeting means restricting yourself which causes anxiety for some. Others may not understand where to start? But without it, Zach and I wouldn’t be able to afford these trips that we do.
If you want to start budgeting your money, here are the first three steps to take:
Begin Bookkeeping Your Expenses
I use excel to log everything related to money, like an accountant (which I’m not!) So first, you’ll need to back log your past two months to find out what you actually spend your money on. Separate it week by week to make it more organized.
Categorize Your Spending Habits
Begin a new column next to what you wrote, and write a category next to each entry. Was it food, personal spending, gas money, etc.
Once it’s categorized, add it up! Now you can look between the two months and find an average that you spend on each category.
Create A Budget
Now that you know what is your norm spending, you can budget what you want it to be in order to achieve your side goals. Subtract your bill expenses from your income and see what is left over. From there, just distribute that money between the categories to decide what you will spend your money on.
This is just a simple example, it can be as detailed as you’d like. But from here, it just takes self-control, monitoring, and patience!
Have questions? Ask us!
Some might find this a surprise, but Europe and the UK have their own electrical outlet plugs that differ from America. So you have two options to be prepared for that. You can either purchase an adapter like this one that will allow you to plug in your phone, hair dryer, etc. We kept ours on “converter” setting. When I tried my hair straightener on the “adapter” setting, it started smoking!
Or, you can wait until you get there to purchase a cheap version of each from one of their markets. Why I say that is because they actually say it’s pretty dangerous to plug in American hair curlers into an adapter. They say that there’s a high chance that it could actually short circuit the whole building that you’re staying in.
The Louvre in Paris
To avoid having to carry a ton of cash on you while traveling (for pick pocketing concerns), perhaps consider getting a credit card that has no foreign fees. We got this Bank of America card and it’s been great! It also has a point system to each towards cash back on future traveling expenses.
*we do not get paid from Bank of America for advertisement
You’ll still need some no matter where you travel, but if you have a safe place to store it, try to only withdrawal cash once. We experienced a $10 fee plus 15% fee per transaction at a foreign bank.
Tip** Some countries you’ll need more cash than others. For instance, most places that we went to in Amsterdam needed cash. However, when we traveled through France, they accepted credit cards more often.
Soulac Sur Mer, France
Wifi hot spots
Before we traveled internationally, we looked into what to turn off on our cell phones to avoid international fees. The average we found online was to expect $200-$1000 for the first time going internationally! We were terrified of this and looked up tips from this and this and neither of us got charged anything! We didn’t get a data plan nor a SIM card.
So once you are in your new country, you’ll need to find a wifi hot spot to look up directions on how to get to that restaurant, or museum you wanted to visit. A cool tip is when you look it up, hit “start directions” on your phone before leaving the wifi hot spot. Your directions will actually still work due to it loading prior to losing that wifi. So it doesn’t use your data, and you’ll be able to keep track of how to get to places!
**these are our experiences with Iphones, on Verizon plans. Charges may vary per person.
Enjoy the travel!