When people hear that Kels and I are packing up and moving to Australia, a question that we are constantly asked is “How can you afford that!?!”. Kels and I often look at each other and shrug in response. Yes, we’ve both just recently graduated with degrees from uni – but that doesn’t mean we need to be tied down to staying in Edmonton the rest of our lives.
We’ve known for the last year or so that we wanted to take off for some long term time outside of Canada – so we’ve adjusted our spending, and our lifestyles accordingly. It’s as easy as being aware of your spending habits and keeping your goals in mind (and thanks mom for teaching me skills on how to budget).
Take Date Nights Into Your Own Hands
Date nights are still essential in a relationship, but who says you have to go to the theater and to an expensive dinner to keep that spark in your relationship alive? That gets hella expensive – no thanks. If we wanted to do dinner and a movie we would find a recipe online, grab groceries together and make dinner! Afterwards we would find a movie on Netflix that neither of us had seen and cuddle up with some microwave popcorn. It’s way more fun to have quality time together creating dinner, and WAY cheaper. A date night that could have cost you one hundred dollars now becomes under 20!
Say No to Dranks with Friends
And instead say yes to drinks! Rather than going for bevvies with friends, suggest going for a coffee and a walk outside! Going out for patio drinks or out to the bar with your buddies can always start with good intentions (I’m just going to have one) . . . but we know that one turns into two turns into chicken wings, pizza and three more drinks . . . which turns into an expensive hangout sesh. My favourite memories of with my girlfriends include going to the gym together, drinking tea and watching Disney movies and going for walks outside and chatting.
Think Once, Think Twice – Then Sleep On It
See something you like/want/neeeeeed? Think about it, do you already have one? How often wuold you use/wear it? How many hours do you have to work in order to pay for it? Can you survive without it? It’s so easy to see something you want – buy it – and then realize too late that it wasn’t necessary. Don’t buy on impulse, go home and sleep on it. If you realize you really NEED it, then do some research and make an informed decision. It may have been only $20 on a shirt, but that $20 can go a long way (there’s a night in a hostel). If you can survive without it right now – you probably can put that money into savings for your trip instead!
Track Your Spending
About September last year I decided I wanted to know EXACTLY where my money was going. Kels and I saved all our receipts (groceries, dates, gas, etc) and I created an Excel spreadsheet that I inputted everything into at the end of the month. I was able to see exactly how much we spend on groceries, and even to the point of what sorts of groceries (unnecessary items or yummy veggies?). We found this super helpful if for no other reason than to hold ourselves accountable.
Put Money Away
On that exciting day called pay day, I would pay off any bills I had (phone, rent, utilities, credit card etc) and then from what was left, I put an average of 80% of into a separate savings account I wouldn’t touch. It’s totally fine if you have a different percentage; but, the point is to have a set goal in mind so you are consistently putting money away. Having less money in a spending account also limits any temptations you may have for random buys!
Pack A Lunch
Again, food can be a major money drain – but only if you let it. If you buy lunch five times a week at $10 each time, that’s $50 a week, or $200 a month . . . $2400 a year. It can be so easy and fast to prep some meals to take to work with you for lunch, and SUCH a money saver. Wouldn’t you rather eat out when you’re abroad and try a different culture’s food . . . rather than Subway . . . again?
And above all else,
Keep Your Goals in Mind!
Spend your money on experiences, not things. A cute shirt, a drunken night or a new phone case are all temporary. The memories of you sitting on a beach, climbing a mountain or experiencing a new culture are way WAY more valuable. Remember your WHY every time you pull out your wallet – and before you know it you’ll be packing your bags for your next adventure!