Posts Tagged ‘Saving’

When Kim told me she was planning this amazing trip in the fall of 2006, I instantly wanted to go.  To most, it would seem impossible to save $30K in 2.5 years.  Not to mention I was already $7K in debt.  But if you know anything about me, you would know that if I want something, I GET IT. I work my butt of until I achieve whatever goal I set my sights on.   Whether it is 2 senior trips, graduating from UT, moving to Spain, or saving a crap-load of money for a once in a life time opportunity, if I work hard, I usually accomplish my goals. 

CashFirst off, I looked at lowering some of my daily/weekly costs of things I “wanted”.  Everyone knows there is a difference (sometimes a very fine lineJ) between wants and needs.  Here are some of the things I started doing to pay off my debt and start stackin’ up the cash: 

Quit smoking

Okay, so this only lasted about 4 months with a couple 1-2 month stints afterwards.  I’m currently still smoking but STILL plan on quitting before I leave. AHH! But with the amount of cigarettes I smoked, this saved me $5-10 a day.  Smokes are insanely expensive but I would also always end up buying gum, drinks, beer, etc. when I went in to by cigarettes. This would average out to almost $3k/year. 

Cook meals at home

This is pretty self-explanatory.  I would literally cook every meal, Monday through Thursday at home.  This was obviously before I got the second job.  Eating out can cost anywhere from $20-$50 for a drinker like me.  Only eating out 1-2 times a week vs. 3-4 would save me almost $4k/year.

Gotta love that FLASK!!

I know what some of you are thinking, what a cheap ass!  But hell, when you are working toward a goal like this and still want to have nightlife and go out with friends, sometimes you have to do things you aren’t proud of.  I would carry my flask full of Vodka in my purse every time I went out.  I’d order club soda or juice at the bar, give em’ the ol’ “I’m the DD” speech, along with a huge smile and tip, and head to the bathroom to mix it up! They usually wouldn’t even charge me for the “mixer”.  I would literally spend maybe $20 for a long night of fun!  $20 vs. $50-$60 could save you up to $5k/year. 

Weekly Transfers/Discipline

For the past 4 + years, I’ve been paid weekly.  At the end of every week, whatever money was still in my account, I’d transfer to my savings account.  I would never let it roll over or set it aside for something else. If it wasn’t in my checking account, it didn’t exist.  So I would just get it out of there. I was very strict with this.  Even when I was out with friends and I would make a comment about only having a few beers because “I was broke”, they would say, “whatever! You have a ton of money!”  And I would immediately snap back, “that money doesn’t exist.”  You HAVE to have that outlook if you want to keep building up your balance. 

Decrease Rent/Bills 

I lived in a one bedroom apartment for 4 years up until April 1st, 2009. One summer I had a friend crash in my dining room and pay me $300/month.  I cancelled my cable in the fall of 2008. As of April 2009, I have lived at my sister’s place paying $325/month total for rent and bills.  On July 1st, I moved into another friends place, paying about the same.   This decreased my expenses by about $430/month.  


Again, this one is a given.  One of the main things I had to do without is air conditioning in my car.  And with 105 degree Texas weather, this had to be one of my biggest sacrifices.  IT’S SO HOT! However, the cost to fix it is how much I’ll spend my entire time in Costa Rica plus some. I just can’t seem to justify it.  

I also pretty much eliminated personal shopping.  For everything. I’ve spent maybe $1000 on clothes in the past 3 years.   And that includes work clothes for my second job.  

That leads me to one of my other biggest sacrifices.  TIME.  With only $14K in the bank and only 9 months to go, I Cover 3started my second job in December 2008.  I work 40 hours a week doing sales and then another 25-30 hours at Cover 3, an upscale sports dining restaurant.  Luckily, it’s the best second job I could have asked for.  Great place, amazing food, great staff, great money, and I love the guys I work for.  It’s perfect. But again, working as many shifts as I do, I have had no time for TV, the gym (and I was a GYM RAT for 2.5 years), and I barely have time to hit the grocery store.  It’s crazy.  I also have A LOT less time to spend with friends and family. I hate that.  But it will all be worth it!   I literally don’t touch a dime of what I make at the restaurant.  It goes straight into the bank.  I average about $350-$400 a week. In all 9 months, I should have about $14K from the second job when we leave.  

WOW. I myself still can’t believe what I’ve done!  But, anyone can do it.  You just have to DO IT.  Good Luck!



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