Making money is only half the equation when it comes to saving up for a trip. The other half is budgeting and allocating a percentage of your income towards your savings every month. For me, having the most incredibly supportive family really helped! My sweet little mama left my room untouched in these 2 years that I was living abroad. And the fact that I didn’t have to pay a huge rent every month was a major factor why I was able to save so much, but I also found other ways to add to my savings…
NETFLIX > CABLE TV
This is something we’ve been doing at our household for some time now and it’s worked great for us. We cancelled our cable and signed up for Netflix instead, saving at least $60 a month.
BUY AN UNLOCKED PHONE
You might think getting a brand new iPhone for $200 is a great deal but really, you end up paying so much more over time by signing a yearly contract. Buying an unlocked phone (new or used) allows you to choose monthly contracts which are SO much cheaper than yearly ones! Some benefits of unlocked phones and monthly plans are: 1. it’s at least $20/month in savings, 2. cancel any time without paying a cancellation fee, and 3. use it anywhere in the world! I used Freedom Mobile while in Vancouver and despite all the bad reviews, I found it to be a great deal ($30/month for unlimited everything). I didn’t have great reception when far away from major cities, for example, on Seymour mountain but I figured I’d try it for the time being until it no longer worked for me – that’s the great thing about monthly contracts, you’re never locked in!
GET CONNECTED, GET ACTIVE
I found out about Get Connected Get Active when I had just moved home and didn’t have an income, and it felt like it was a gift sent from heaven! In the city’s attempt to get all residents active, GCGA Program offers 50 free passes or $10 for one year of unlimited access to all gyms, swimming pools, and drop-in fitness sessions in Coquitlam. That includes Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, Aquatic Centre, Pinetree Community Centre, Victoria Community Hall, Glen Pine Pavilion, and Dogwood Pavilion. This program is offered to all low-income families and individuals over the age of 18, living in Coquitlam. The drop-in fitness sessions are free to all members (or you can use one of your 50 free passes) and they are excellent for days when you didn’t have the motivation for the gym! I tried pilates, B.A.R.E., and Yoga, but they offer so much more such as Zumba, Cycle Fit and Belly dancing! This is their drop-in schedule for the fall.
Nothing will compare to $10 for a year of unlimited access to 6 different sport facilities BUT this personal trainer app will definitely come close! I stumbled upon Aaptiv when I was searching for motivation to run outside and this app exceeded my expectations x million! It’s like having your own personal trainer at your fingertips – whenever and wherever you want! With over 20 different qualified trainers, each with their own motivational techniques to match your workout style, Aaptiv was my best find this summer! They offer thousands of playlists and your personal trainer takes you step by step through your workout with killer music to get you going to the end. You have control over every aspect of your workout; from the activity itself (i.e. running outside, treadmill, yoga, meditation, etc.) to trainer, duration, difficulty level, and even the music genre! And the best news? They offer a 7 day free trial so you can see it for yourself!
Meetup is a great little website that brings together like-minded people over a common interest. I joined a fitness group in Coquitlam called MetamorpHIIT and had a killer workout while meeting some amazing people! They’re a group of super welcoming and energetic volunteers who organize a free bootcamp at Parkland Elementary School every Tuesday at 7pm (rain or shine!). You can join their Facebook group here. Meetups are another excellent way of networking with people in your community who have the same interest as you – whatever it may be! And the best part? Most meet-ups are completely free!
BEWARE OF THE LATTE EFFECT
Spending $5 on your choice of drink every morning, can really add up – that’s $35 in a week, $140 in a month, $1,680 in a year! Although I’m not a coffee person, I realized I was spending way too much on eating out and going to bars. Giving myself a monthly budget really helped me take control of my spendings. That’s not to say it stopped me from going out, I was just a lot smarter about it by making packed lunches and snacks, limiting myself to a couple of drinks when out, etc.
DO. IT. YOURSELF.
It can get extremely expensive to keep up with your beauty routine every month. Take some time to add up all your beauty expenses in the past 3 months – haircuts, highlights, and hair dyes, manicures and pedicures, eyebrows, eyelash extensions, waxing, threading, etc. Not only do they get expensive, but they also take up a lot of our time! If you’re Type A personality like me, then you probably don’t just trust anyone with your beauty upkeep. On my first move to England, this was my main motivation to learn DIY beauty tips; 5 years later, I now do my own eyebrows, threading, and even give myself haircuts. You can find these tips anywhere on the internet, from YouTube to various beauty blogs, and you can really perfect them over time – saving you money and tons of time!
If you’ve come back from long term travels or if you just wanna change your wardrobe on a budget, clothes swap is an excellent solution! Why not make a night out of it and host a swapping party?! Invite your friends and family and ask them to clean out their closets before they come. One person’s trash can be another’s treasure! It’s a great way to recycle unwanted items for clothes you’ll actually wear, all while staying on budget!
Last but certainly not least: manifest it! I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself and your abilities to bring your dreams to life. Know that if you set your mind to it then you WILL do it. Once you set a goal, whether it’s a budget or anything else, practice living as if you have already achieved that goal. Forget about your worries and replace your “ifs” and “buts” with daydreaming about your goals as if they are reality. It’s so much fun to let your mind wander and live in a fantasy world without any limits; and I promise you if you practice this long enough, your fantasy will become your reality in no time.