Affording Your Dreams

old-1130731My husband and I both love traveling. We enjoy waking up in new places and experiencing things we can’t in familiar territory. While he has had the opportunity to visit Europe, I have not, but nevertheless he looks forward to the day he can show me what I’ve been missing out on. We are throwing ideas around possibly taking a Europe vacation for our one year anniversary which will be the end of this year.

If you read my last post titled “Wanderlust” you will have a brief idea of how much traveling means to me. It isn’t just something that I will add to my bucket list and be hopeful of the day I will get to climb 1,710 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower or sip on some coffee in a cabin in Aspen. No, traveling is so much more than that. It’s this strong craving of being surrounded by new things, it’s almost a need rather than a want and it’s led me to these questions: How can we afford to travel and how on earth can we save an extra $6,000 before December? Phew, I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it!

While living on one income in possible and has been doable, it won’t allow us to save a couple thousand dollars to take a vacation this year. I have spent a week coming up with all the little ways I can save money and make a little extra while continuing my roll as a housewife. Let me tell you, it is not easy! The easy route is to get a part time job and while I have been applying to places in the area and will accept a job if such thing arises, it is not exactly what either my husband or I would prefer. So let me tell you a little bit about the main way I am currently saving money.

basket-918416Groceries, (ugh, I’m convinced it’s the worst kind of shopping) we need them, hate shopping for them, and cringe when we watch the bill go up during check out. I spend about $120 a week in groceries and household items we need. To some that would be a lot and others that’s probably pretty cheap. Well, I want to be able to cut this bill in half. While some of you may laugh (don’t worry, I laughed at myself) or think it’s impossible, I am learning it can be feasible. Yay! Keep in mind that the $120 per week spent allows me to cook breakfast, send hubby with lunch, make my own lunch, and dinner is on the table every night. We only eat out once a week and we try to keep it under $20 so that means I plan 6 dinners, 7 lunches, and 7 breakfasts with $120 and I’m determined to get that bill between $60 and $70 per week instead.

(In upcoming posts I’ll teach you how I plan meals, shop for deals, and make sure we eat a variety of food so we don’t get bored. While that may seem like a luxury it’s honestly affordable and I’ll tell you how.)

There’s a few apps I use that will give you cash back. Try downloading Ibotta, Checkout 51, Saving Star and do not forget to download the Walmart app if you shop there. All these apps will give you cash back just for buying things. Sounds too good to be true huh? Well, I got a secret…it’s not! 🙂

Walmart is great because they do the price checking for you. Upload your receipt and if there’s an item I paid for that’s cheaper elsewhere they will give you the money back. This means it’ll save you time and money just by uploading your receipt. At first it seemed risky but I tried it anyways. I pushed the voice out of my head saying, “You could get that cheaper elsewhere,” and paid for everything in my cart. Sure enough, Walmart found those cheaper prices and gave me the money back. I’m still new at this, so it might not catch everything or sale deals but to this day it’s done a pretty good job and I have a credit back of over $10 so far. (I’ll get into more detail later.)

I’ve been checking coupons, using the money saving apps, my husband and I got a Sam’s Club card, and my favorite…I have been introduced to the lovely store called Aldi. I’m sure most of you know what it is, but man let me tell you, even though you can’t use coupons and most of the apps I mentioned won’t apply to their store, things are STILL cheaper at Aldi! My favorite is that their produce is pretty much just as good or better than an upscale supermarket and I always walk out of there feeling like I got the best bang for my buck.

So what do you think? Think we can save enough to be able to make our dream vacation happen this year? Have more grocery saving ideas or tips I should be using? Later on I’m going to be going more in depth on how I’m saving money and while saving pennies or dollars through groceries might not be an answer to our prayer of traveling by the end of THIS year, it’s still one step closer to our dream.

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