I am terrible at saving money. Really, really terrible. I put money into savings yet somehow it always manages to find its way back into my checking as the balance dips close to zero.
Needless to say, that is a bad habit and, with all of this travel coming up, it’s a habit that can’t continue. I can’t get by throwing a few bucks into savings here and there – if I’m going to Guatemala, saving for travel needs to be my #1 priority.
I’m working on increasing my income which will play a major role in all of the saving I need to do but the truth is, I spend a lot of money on a lot of stupid shit and I usually don’t even realize it. I always think I’m doing great and not spending money but A.) I always find a reason I need to “reward” myself and B.) I’m an impulse shopper. I don’t buy anything expensive but all the $5 and $10 purchases add up by the end of the week.
My goal is to buy my plane ticket by end beginning of May so to aid in that, I am imposing an April Spending Freeze to save money for travel.
In April, I will make no unnecessary purchases.
I’ve broken this down into several categories.
1.) Eating Out. In April, I will not eat out at all. It doesn’t matter how hungry or bored I am – I am only eating at home, even if it means eating Ramen. (Also, minus the Ramen, this is better for my health too!)
2.) Groceries. I probably spend more money on food than any 19 year old should. Obviously I need food and I’m certainly not starving myself this month. However, I am cutting back – I’m going to make it a point to be conscious of what I am purchasing, ditch the expensive snacks, and find recipes that call for fewer or cheaper ingredients.
3.) Clothes/Beauty Items. Summer is coming. My clothes are falling apart. I reallllly want to look good this summer. But, April is not the month for this to happen. I need to remind myself that no matter how cute everything in the store is, it’s not realistic for me to purchase a big new wardrobe anyway because in a few months I will be living out of a backpack and all those cute outfits won’t do me much good. Neither will expensive make-up or whatever else I “need”. The exception to this is hair dye as my hair is two different colors and I look like a zebra right now.
4.) Everything else. There will always be something I can justify buying. I need this for my business or this to help with this project or blahblahblah. Yes, a lot of things can make my life easier. But my focus is on work and saving for travel right now – even though these things can improve another factor of my life, they can wait.
Of course, there are some things I need to spend money on – gas for my car is my biggest expense, along with food (as mentioned above) and my car insurance. There are also a few random things that I do need to purchase and I’ve written them down – once they are purchased, that’s it. My money is officially for my car, food, and travel.
I’m actually pretty exciting about this – it’ll be a good test of my self-control and also force me to prove exactly how much travel means to me as I’m passing up Starbucks for the 5th time this week. I can only imagine how it’s going to feel when I purchase my plane ticket!
How do you save for travel? Have you ever done a spending freeze for any reason before?