Want to save up for that weekend getaway? Or maybe for a bigger month long trip? Whichever it is, you know you should create a budget for said trip, but how do you actually go about saving money? How do you manage your income so that eventually you will have enough to finally buy that plane ticket?
Budgeting ain’t easy. Did any of you take a budgeting 101 class in college? If you did, you’re one of the lucky few. Managing finances is something I was fortunate enough to learn from my mother. And it sure is coming in handy this year in particular when I am feeling the pinch from a low salary and high cost of living. I have had to be a bit more creative this year in managing my money since I can’t really earn much extra income. Here are some ideas for great money managing strategies to help you reach your goal and next place of adventure.
The Envelope Method
This is the best method for when you’re working with cash. My favorite method by far because I can actually see the money and how I’m dividing it, you create an envelope for your different expenses. For example, I’ve got envelops for pocket money and groceries. I allow myself only a certain amount of pocket money each month and I ballpark grocery expenses. By keeping the cash in the envelopes, once I’ve used up my pocket money, that’s it for the month. It keeps me from constantly pulling out my card and charging things. Same for groceries. Reigns me in on buying junk food!
I also have an envelope for travel. If for some reason I didn’t spend all of my pocket money for the month, I stick the rest in my travel envelope. Or if I picked up an extra private class or made extra cash somehow, it goes straight into the travel envelope.
Old School Excel Spreadsheets
If you’re an expat, chances are you have all types of bank accounts, some in your home country, some in your new country. Managing all of that can be a headache, but that’s easily solved with an excel spreadsheet. I created one to keep track of all of my accounts and also to map out my budget month by month.
Why month by month paired with the envelope method? Well, each month the circumstances are different. I don’t pay bills every month, but every two months. Some months have long weekends and others don’t. So my budget for expenses, pocket money, etc., differs from month to month. Putting it on a spreadsheet helps me to keep it all in one spot and see how the year goes.
If you are attached to your phone like your life depended on it and love apps, there are so many free budgeting apps out there. Some of them link to your bank accounts, some of them don’t. Most of them break down your expenses for you in lovely graphic form to help you see what spending you do and where. Check out the top budgeting apps here.
Old, old school piggybank style
Don’t take this one for granted. Especially if you live in Spain where coins are the dominant form of currency. Let’s be honest, how many times have you wondered why on earth your wallet is so heavy? Those random cents and one euro and two euro coins, toss them into a jar on your desk once in a while. They add up quick.
Either way, the best way to save money for a trip, especially if you don’t have extra income? Curb your spending. Missing out on coffee at the coffee shop and making some at home instead will be a sacrifice well worth it in the long run!
What is your favorite budgeting method?
Nina Lee is a hangry traveler, tea-loving bookworm and dessert fiend. Diving into the Spanish way of life in Madrid, she loves everything to do with culture, dessert and living abroad. Follow her sweet adventures at NinasSweetAdventures.com and check out her blog just for English teachers in Spain at HolaTeacherSpain.com.