I’m Going on a Spending Diet!

Piggy Bank
Creative Commons License photo credit: Carly Jane1

Well it’s early January, the time for gym and Match.com memberships. Like most people, I have high hopes for this new year. 2009 was a year of waiting for me, and while 2010 will have quite a bit of that, it’s also the year I start on my Round-the-World trip !While I intend to keep my trip costs low by cheap flightsand staying in hostels, I will still need to save quite a bit of cash. My tentative departure date is September 15, so a lot of time this year will be about preparing my blog, my finances and my life for such a big change.

Lots of people make new year’s resolutions to go on diets and, while I could probably benefit from hitting the gym, that is not my focus right now. This New Year’s I’m resolving to go on a spending diet. At this point I’m about halfway to my goal of saving $20,000 for my trip.

This will certainly be a challenge: it took me 16 months to accumulate the first 10K, and I need to obtain the rest in half that time! I think it is doable though, with some discipline. My first year at home I wasn’t very focused: I took several expensive trips, bought a car and to be honest, wasted a lot of money on stupid stuff.

Here are some of the steps I am taking to sock the cash away:

  • Not paying rent- I’m extremely luck that my mother let’s me live at home. If I were to rent a place in Arlington I would probably be paying about $1000 a month in rent. Therefore every month I will automatically transfer that amount straight from my paycheck into savings.
  • Probably the biggest money waster for me is aimless shopping. I AM NOT BUYING ANYMORE CLOTHING. I will learn to make do with the overflowing closet I already have.
  • I’ve already cut down the amount I spend on books by visiting the library. I never rent movies and very rarely go to them and I don’t buy music online.
  • I’m cutting down severely on fun but expensive friendship activities like hockey games, baseball games and concerts. New Years was the last big hurrah on this front.s

    Contando Dinheiro
    Creative Commons License photo credit: Jeff Belmonte
  • Making an effort to cut down on eating out. This is hard for me because I am a terrible cook and also lazy.
  • All tax returns and work bonuses will go directly into my savings fund.

With these adjustments and some serious willpower I think I should be able to reach my goal by the end of August. One thing that I would like to do is to post an update on my progress every month. How much I’ve saved, what I’ve done right and the mistakes I’ve made in the past month.  I think it will be helpful in keeping me on track as well as useful for others.

What are your travel resolutions this year?

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