The hardest part about planning a trip isn’t the trip at all. I have found that finding the money to pay for it with everything going on is definitely the most difficult part. I’m a full time student and money isn’t exactly abundant. As soon as my boyfriend and I decided to take this trip, I knew I had my work cut out for me to save thousands of dollars to travel in Europe for 30 days. I got a job at a daycare working 25 hours a week. It wasn’t a glorious job, and it was quite stressful but it was worth it. That semester I maintained a 4.0 with 16 credits and a part time job. I was exhausted and stressed but attitude is everything! Here are some of the ways I saved up money so quickly.
I cut back my spending immensely. I didn’t buy myself a new item of clothing from December until May so I could put all of my paychecks into the bank. I limited myself to $100 to spend for two weeks not including my rent. This means all of my food, gas, fun, everything was cut to $100 to last me two weeks.[clear]
I really struggled the first couple weeks until I figured out where and when free food was being given out around campus or in my apartment complex. I never turned down a meal from a friend and paid them back in other ways like doing their laundry or prepping the food if they bought it. My friends were so supportive of my strict budget and we went to dollar nacho nights every Thursday as our way of bonding. We spent $3 per person for drinks and a huge plate of nachos with all of the fixings for each person. In a college town, it’s especially easy to find places with crazy deals on a certain night of the week. Take advantage of these!!
If you can’t find cheap food but want to make a birthday or an anniversary still feel special, make it yourself. This goes for any meal actually. You can save so much money by making meals at home rather than going out. Look at this delicious meal! I only spent $7 total on shrimp fettuccine Alfredo and it was more than enough to feed both my boyfriend and I. It was also really really good and a nice treat!
[clear]I took the bus as often as I could to school or to see my boyfriend. My apartment complex gave us free bus passes to ride various buses in the area. This saved me a LOT of money on bus fares and gas. If I had to take my car, I parked 20 minutes across campus in the free lot instead of spending $5 to park right by my class. Yes it stunk but that was money I needed for my trip. I ate Pb&j sandwiches every day for a few months so I wasn’t buying expensive food for lunch and then I didn’t have to leave work on my lunch break. I would sit in my car so I didn’t waste gas driving somewhere or money eating out.[clear]
Every paycheck I got went directly into savings. I tutored students a couple hours a week as soon as I got off work to make some extra money. This money helped pay for my day to day needs and the fun activities I wanted to do. It helped me gain job experience while helping out others who just needed a second point of view. If you have a skill you think others might benefit from offer your services! I emailed my teacher from the previous year that I got a 100 in and she emailed my information to everyone in the class. You wouldn’t believe the number of things people want to learn and would be willing to pay to be taught. Remember, every dollar counts!
I probably made the most money, after working my actual job, selling my clothes and items I no longer wanted. I went through my closet and put anything I wouldn’t wear again or hadn’t worn in a long time into a pile. I then got on Facebook and searched for local yard sale pages near me and had 3 of them with thousands of people on them! I made over $500 selling my clothes, shoes, decorations etc. on these sites! They were all items I wouldn’t wear or use again and someone else could get at a steal because they were used. It was a win-win for both of us and helped me reach my goal much faster.[clear]
The most important part of this is to be creative! Set a goal and don’t give up until you reach it. There are so many different ways you can earn money such as mowing people’s lawns, babysitting, running errands for people, housekeeping, etc. Keep an open mind and be a yes man! Work hard so you can enjoy your amazing trip that much more.
Check out my other post about what to pack when traveling across the country or across the world!