Crossing the Finish Line!

So this is it- my spending diet is basically over. The trip is a mere two weeks away. My ultimate goal back in January was to have raised $20,000 by this point. After months of frugality and nail biting, the grand total is:


(This total is assuming I sell my car for exactly what I owed on it- so the actual grand total will *hopefully* be a little higher).

whats in your piggy bank
Creative Commons License photo credit: Identity Photogr@phy

Now keep in mind that I started in September 2008 with literally zero dollars and a credit card balance. I can attribute my success in savings to three main things:

  1. Being fortunate enough to be able to live at home rent-free.
  2. Taking about 60% of each paycheck and putting it directly into my savings account.
  3. Cutting back severely on all those small things like buying clothes and books, eating out, drinking etc.

Of course I did have some splurges, mainly in the area of travel. Over the past two years I’ve taken trips to Iceland, London, San Francisco and New York. If I hadn’t done that I’m sure I could have reached my goal much earlier, but I would probably have gone insane, so it’s a fair trade-off to me.

Worth it.

Overall, hard-core saving wasn’t all that painful a process. I barely missed the money that went into my savings, and I got used to not buying tons of things I didn’t need. I didn’t beat myself up if I overspent one month. I just resolved to do better in the future and pressed on.  Watching the money pile up in my savings account was a powerful motivator.

Some strategies worked for me better than others. I fell down on the selling my stuff plan, and ended up giving a lot of things away. However I made up some of that money via the advertisements on this blog.  I think you need to be honest with yourself and see what works best for you.

Here’s a review of my money saving journey since January, or how I saved 12K in 8 months:

I’m not telling you this to brag, but to point out that this sort of savings IS possible. I know I had an advantage living at home, but I really think that if I could pull this off, most people can. My job was entry-level but not all that high paying. I’m not the best person with money or the most disciplined saver, but a little dedication and prioritization really went a long way.

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54 thoughts on “Crossing the Finish Line!”

  1. This post is spooky-similar to our current circumstances. We especially see similarities in the 3 things that you can attribute your savings success to.

    We also have about two years to save for our trip (started saving in June 2012 and will leave in May 2014), we live at home rent-free, and we are putting away about 70% of our entry-level salary. Feel free to read our page about Saving for a World Trip:

    It is a delight to browse through your website, keep up the fantastic work.

    And we’re sure you get this all the time, but can we just say we’re insanely jealous that you are able to blog/write full time! That level of flexibility and creativity must be a godsend (although we’re aware how frustrating and stressful it can be as well).


    The Wandering Soles

  2. Just to echo everyone else here (and the rest of the world) – congratulations!!

    And all those months of saving and thrifting won’t mean a thing when you’re in Asia shortly. Enjoy!

  3. Well done, look to see if you can find a website that makes cash. I spent $X,XX3X on one in 2007 which has paid out over 300% and now own an internet printing press… You have the coin look to invest so you don’t just chip away.

    GOod luck on the Eurail comp.

  4. Wow that’s quite impressive. I love that you still allowed yourself some indulges during your savings but were still disciplined enough to reach your goal. Good advice for anyone saving for travel or any big purchase, like me trying to pay off student loans.

  5. Wow 20k! That’s amazing!

    I need to start saving money, but at the moment I’m in school and have no job. Not exactly ideal, but at least I’m graduating in December. 🙂

    I’m sure you will have an amazing trip! Good luck!

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