So you want to go to Europe, eh? Well, getting here and getting around this fruitful continent, costs money. I’m a woman. I like spending the dough. There’s nothing like a new camera, computer, or cell phone that really lights me up inside #nerdalert. Costco is my favorite expedition and you know I don’t walk out of there empty handed. However, after saving for two Eurotrips and a trip abroad, I have learned some ways to save the bucks and book the ticket. I’ve compiled 10 not-so-typical tips for saving for Europe.
1) Use a budget planner to review your finances.
Where is your income going? Figuring this out will help you re-funnel some of this into your trip savings fund. Seeing how much money you spent going out to eat last week or on ATM withdrawal fees last year can be a brutal shock, but something easily remedied. Go the extra mile to find your bank branch and attempt that new Pinterest recipe with your best friend.
Suggested Budget Planners:
- US readers: Mint.com
- UK readers: MoneyDashboard.com
- German readers: Kontoblick.de
With these, you can set goals, sync your bank accounts to see activity break downs, and more.
2) Consider an automated savings account.
Take a percentage of that paycheck and have it deposited automatically into your trip savings fund. No, the savings account won’t pay for the trip with interest gained, but you will have it away from the uncontrollable urges of your debit card wreaking havoc on your checking account.
3) Do I really need this?
Ask yourself this question before every purchase you make. It seems a bit ridiculous, but would you rather go out for dinner tonight or be eating pizza in Italy? Just saying… Homegirl enjoys herself a good drink, but that drink can be had at my kitchen table playing games with friends – it doesn’t have to be at the hottest club in town.
4) Unsubscribe from those retail emails.
ModCloth, Etsy, J.Crew – yep, I used to get all of those too. As much as I love knowing about the 40% off everything in stock sale, it is still money I would not have spent had that email not popped up in my inbox. Do yourself a favor and pass on your eighth pair of J.Crew Chino shorts (I get it, I love them too) so you can hike Cinque Terre this summer.
5) Cut down on routine expenses.
- daily stops at the coffee shop
- after work drinks
- do you really need that GroupOn offer?
- BillShrink.com can help you cut down on cable and phone bills, gasoline, and more.
6) Pick up a side job.
(Preferably one you don’t have to pay income tax on). I know spending the evening with children on a Friday night might not sound ideal, but you know what does? $100 bucks in your pocket at the end of the night. There are good gigs out there, find them. Babysitting not your thing? See if any neighbors need help around the house. Maybe some kids around the neighborhood need a math tutor. Sell some handmade goods on Etsy. Clean out the attic and have a garage sale. The ideas are endless.
7) Travel Gifts.
When people ask what you want for your birthday, Christmas, etc. Tell them travel. Yes, I know lots of people don’t like giving money. For this group, ask them for that new backpack, travel books, plug converters, a camera bag – anything you might want for your upcoming trip.
8) Buy Bottom Shelf.
You know that trick? How they put the more expensive items at eye level because you are more likely to pick them up? Well, it’s true. Next time you’re on the vodka aisle, look down. See that cheap bottle? Grab it. If you’re mixing drinks, I swear no one will notice the difference. If they do, you’re hanging with some sort of alcohol-paletted-goddesses because this vodka drinker can’t tell what’s in there once you dump in some Sugar Free Red Bull. At the bar, just ask for the well. No one’s judging. If they are, they’re an asshole.
9) Go online.
Skip going to the movies. Skip buying DVDs. Watch that cable TV you’re already paying for? What, you’re super budget savvy and cut the cable? Keep it up and cancel Netflix, too. Use your better-off friend’s account. People are generous. Little changes = big moves, people.
10) Recruit a friend.
If you can get a friend to travel with you, spectacular! If you can only get a friend to save with you, still great! Everyone has something to save up for and this friend can help hold you accountable. If everyone is going to an expensive concert on Saturday night, you and your budget-savvy friend can stay in and play Taboo with a bottle of Two Buck Chuck.
Additionally, if you’re looking for some more normal advice, Nomadic Matt has a ton of great tips - listen to him and me and you’ll be in Europe in no time.
What tips do you have for saving up for a trip?