It has always been a goal of mine to do an American road trip. Not necessarily Route 66, but I’d love to travel to as many places as I can, including as many states as I can. Talking to my sister about it, we decided to have a sneak peek of a potential trip. Realistically we could probably go for a length of 2 weeks, which doesn’t give us that long to travel to many states, but it does give us time to tick off some of the places to go and things to do that I’ve always dreamed of. Using Road Trippers we planned a potential route which includes stops at San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with a total of 41 hours driving (currently).
The only time I’ve been to America to date was to Los Angeles, and it is my favourite place that I have ever been to. Thinking about going back to America gets me so excited over the little things. The accents, the snacks, the weather. Seriously, just the thought of buying a bag of Cheetos and mint M&Ms, driving along dusty roads and seeing mountains, drives me crazy with excitement. Not forgetting the potential blog and Instagram posts I could create (ah!)
Sadly, a trip like this doesn’t come cheap, even when dividing up the costs between four of us. This means I am now set on supersaver mode to make my goal come true. Here’s some of the ways I plan to save that might help you if you’re planning on saving for a trip or another big goal:
1. SET A REALISTIC GOAL – As much as I hated it in school, we were always told to set goals, that followed certain guides to help you achieve them easier. As annoying as it was, it was kind of helpful (even though I hate to admit it). My goal will personally be a certain amount of money to raise, and it already feels good to be able to check my progress and see that I’m getting somewhere.
2. BE LESS SPONTANEOUS – If a concert is announced or my tattoo artist gets a last minute cancellation, I’ll usually not think twice, as usually my savings are simply for me to be able to spontaneously enjoy life. However, now they’re for a road trip, so I’ll have to think more strongly on taking up those impromptu events. I’m also going to try to cut back on some concerts.
3. LESS TAKEOUT – I’ll also have to focus cutting back on the take outs and coffees, that makes it appear that you’re only spending £5 here and there, but it can add up to quite a bit if you do it too often. I’m lazy when it comes to food, I hate to cook. But I’d rather jeopardise the McDonalds for now to have one in America later.
4. MORE WORK – This won’t work for everyone, my sister included. But I personally work in retail, and my hours change weekly which makes it hard to determine how much income I’ll get a month and therefore, how much I could potentially put back. I do however, have a side job where I get paid for booking, promoting and photographing local shows. I’ve decided that if I’m going to be able to save more, I simply have to be earning more and take on as much work as I can handle. I’ve also started a spreadsheet to help keep track of my finances easier.
5. NO IMPULSE BUYS – I’m usually pretty good with this but when I’m itching for some retail therapy I do have a tendency to buy some crap. Usually it’s a mascara or skin care product that I have been convinced by adverts is going to be revolutionary, and I end up hating it. I’m just going to stick to what I know and like.
6. SELL UNWANTED ITEMS – I’m not going to lie, I don’t have a whole lot of things that I could sell and suddenly be halfway to my budget. I don’t have any old expensive camera equipment or fancy clothes lying around. But every little helps. I do have some things that I’ve been meaning to list on eBay for a long time and I need to push myself to get these things gone, especially now the money can go to my savings.
7. USING CASH – This one has been influenced by the success I’ve seen it have with my boyfriend. He’s been saving recently and found that taking out money every month to put in a pot as physical cash rather than in a savings account really helps. He also very rarely pays for anything by card anymore, which is a big habit that I’ve gotten into and need to stop. It’s so easy to swipe your card these days and ignore the charges going out of your account.