Saving Money (Without Coupons??)

So, as many of you know I have been trying to find a way to get to Ireland for a while now. Studying abroad for a semester puts me in the hole of about 15K and Grad school in Ireland would cost even more and require me leaving everything I know for a long period of time (not sure I have the guts to do that yet!) A friend of mine mentioned that I should blog about how I should save for my trip.

I've had it in my head for a while now that I am going to Ireland for one to two weeks next year. The only problem with that is I haven't really set many goals financially for myself except starting a "piggy bank" where I put my spare change and extra dollars. I currently have enough to buy enough food for one day, if that. Money burns holes in my pockets. No lie. If I do not spend it, I will go crazzzzy! That is how I feel at times.

In order to make my dream a reality I realize that I need to set realistic goals. In order to do just that i've done a little research on the world wide web on other people's recommendations to save money for a trip. Thought i'd share this little tid bit and hope to get myself on the right path. After all, I really don't care to be 40 and still saving for this trip!

Here we go!

Step 1: Make a Budget
-Decide what time frame your budget will consist of. Most people do it monthly.
-Note your income. You cannot save more than you make.
-Note your expenses. You cannot save more than
what you have left after your expenses each month!
-Keep Records of everything!

Step 2: Start a Savings Plan
-When do I want to make this trip a reality?
-Keep Track of any changes in your finances.
-Invest! Invest! Invest!
-Set aside a certain amount of your surplus earnings to save each month. W
hen possible, save more than your goal.

Step 3: Curb Your Spending
-Eat Out Less.
-Eliminate Expensive Coffee Drinks: If I stopped myself from buying
a $4.50 Venti White Chocolate Mocha twice a week from Starbucks, 
I would have about $36 a month extra to put into a savings account.
-Buy Used or Non-Brand name products
-Eliminate unnecessary expenses
-Brown bag it to work or school
-Car pool to work or school
-Restrict yourself to eating out once a month and remove take-out orders entirely
-Get rid of your cell phone contract and switch to a
pay-as-you-go phone. Use it only when you need too.
-Cancel subscriptions to magazines you don't read, cable,
internet or gym memberships you don't use.
-Watch a movie at home instead of paying for high priced tickets at a theatre.
-Sign up for store membership cards, clip coupons and ask for discounts when shopping!!

Step 4: Get Out Of Debt
-Pay off your credit card debt
-Don't buy things you cannot afford outright
-Save money to pay off your debt
-Ask your credit card company if they can lower your interest rate. It doesn't hurt to ask!

I must admit, some of these look rather intimidating and all but possible. Do you have any other ideas to help me save for my trip? or for anyone who is looking to save money?

In a week or so I will post more of a plan and guidelines that I plan to follow in order to reach my savings goal. Hopefully by sharing it with someone besides my little notebook on my desk, I will NOT cheat. Ok, I probably will either way but I need to be held accountable for my actions!


Monica Anguish said...

Did you really have to bring up White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks. I have only had three this week! Really that's not that much... okay, okay, NO more coffee from Starbucks. ugh. :(


Amber said...

Yeah.... it is my downfall as well. Starbucks is my drug. But I do have a $25 gift card right now... so if I ration it out... I should be able to enjoy it for a while longer! =p

Jess said...

Sounds great, Ambs! good luck!

Amber said...

Thanks Jess! =)