This past weekend as my husband and I were on the way to Sam’s Club he told me something that kind of shocked me. He said, “I’m really proud of us.” He was particularly talking about how well we’ve been sticking to a budget, saving money and passing up on activities we would normally do in order to save for our upcoming trip. I honestly didn’t think twice about it until he made the statement and I realized he’s right.
Kevin and I have been actively saving money for our trip to Prague and while it’s definitely true, we’ve been doing a superb job of stashing money away, it has taken a LOT of sacrifices to get to this point. I never thought we would be able to save enough money to be able to travel the end of this year, but low and behold, our dream is coming true! I’m going to tell you how we’ve been able to stick to a budget and save enough money to make it possible. How we’ve been able to save not hundreds, but thousands of dollars within just a few months!
Deciphering Between Luxuries and Necessities
Before Kevin and I were on a budget, we used to do a lot of activities. We would eat out most of the time, go out on Friday nights and pretty much agree to anything our friend’s would invite us to which lead us to spending a LOT of money. This list below is so far what we’ve learned. As time goes on I’m sure I’ll be sharing more secrets and tips we discover.
- Groceries. Within the three short months I was a stay at home wife, I honestly learned the most about saving money and sticking to a budget. When we only had one income coming in, I knew it would be important for us to save as much money as we could. Once I discovered about Aldi, a very cheap grocery store, I was able to cut our grocery budget from $120 a week to a shocking $50 a week. That helped out a lot. I love shopping at Publix and Target just as much as the next wife, but to be honest, those stores are luxuries. Groceries are definitely a necessity, but fancy grocery stores are a luxury and I quickly learned that once I saw that I was saving over $70 a week. Maybe you don’t have an Aldi where you live but shop around, know your prices and find the cheapest store to buy groceries and I promise you that your wallet will definitely thank you.
- Eating Out. Eating out, is 100% a luxury. Do I sometimes not feel like cooking, almost always now that I’m working. Nevertheless, we have learned that going to restaurants whether it be fast food or sit down will quickly add up. Lately, we just do not want to spend the money as we have a goal in mind, therefore no matter how badly we want to go out to eat, we choose to make something at home. Including fast food, we probably only go out to eat about 4 times a month which is substantially better than going out four to five times a week like we used to in the past. I have learned how to make copycat recipes of our favorites and it’s helped to curb our cravings when we just have a hankering for some Chick-fil-A chicken.
- Activities. My husband and I sometimes feel cooped up in our house over the weekends, which makes us want to go out and spend a bunch of money on an activity. Again, because of our Prague goal, we quickly decide not to do anything. I’m not sitting here preaching to ya’ll saying that you basically have to be a hermit in order to save money. No, you can still have some fun while on a budget. We just tend to hold each other accountable and remind each other of our goal. For instance, instead of going to our favorite cigar bar we choose to spend $5 by going to the springs, we’ll go for a hike, spend time in our neighborhood pool, or pack a lunch to have a beach day. That way by getting out and doing something we don’t feel deprived and we’re still sticking to our budget.
- Job. Honestly, saving $3,000 within just a few months wouldn’t have been possible without my part time job. I wish I could say that living off of one income was enough, but it’s not. We’ve been taking my paycheck, even though small and sending it straight into savings. And because we’re cutting back on our normal and old routine like ways, we have been taking part of my husband’s pay and stashing it away as well!
I could go on and on about the difference between luxuries and necessities and I’ll continue to reveal the ways we’re saving for our upcoming trip as this is a learning experience for us. You have to figure out what your goal is and how badly you want to reach that goal. The only reason Kevin and I have been able to stick to our budget is because we realized how important it is to us to travel before we settle down with kids and move into a permanent home.
Our goal of going to Prague is just the beginning of our budgeting ways. We have already set our next goal for when we come home from our trip. It’s crazy how something that seems impossible can be reached if you really try your best, you work together as a team and stick to a budget no matter how much you sometimes just don’t want to.
How do you save money? What are some of your goals and how are you taking steps to reach them? Let me know! 🙂