You’re one step closer to your flight outta here & outta your parents house! So lets keep this momentum going and save some money to achieve your biggest goals!
So now you know how much you spend in comparison to how much you earn – was is it shocking? It usually is. You want to travel & you want to save money for a down payment for your first home how the heck are you going to do this?
Pt.1: Saving Your Money
Say you have $500 extra per month (you know this from using my free downloadable money finding template – found in 3 Tips on How to Budget Monthly Bills & Save Money) after all your bills and other expenses you should set aside $300 for travel & $200 for a down payment. In 1 year you would have $3600 in your travel savings and $2400 in your downpayment savings. That may not seem like a lot, $500 a month…only $200 in your downpayment fund…only $2400 in your downpayment account when real estate is so expensive – but trust me; it goes a long way!
From tracking your money the previous 3 months you now know how much you should be able save (you don’t have to be a salaried employee or be a full-time worker with a set schedule to know your average monthly income; I work as a restaurant server at a steak house; being a waitress is by far one of the most inconsistent jobs to have in regards to pay cheques. Every day is different, every week my schedule is different, every guest I serve tips differently etc. but I still know what my average take home is month to month).
Hopefully you have figured out what the number is – I put travel at a higher amount to save because no matter how much you put towards your down payment fund; it’s going to take some time for it to grow to the right amount but when it comes to travelling you can pretty much work off of any amount of money you save for one, and secondly you will want to travel within a shorter time span than buying a home (I can imagine).
Pt.2: Setting Realistic/Achievable Goals
So I’ve talked about sacrifice and here’s where it comes into play. If you can only save $500 per month truly – but you want to backpack to Europe for 3 months but also are hoping to buy a condo in 2 years you may need to become more realistic and work towards a more achievable goal which means sacrifice. $3600 won’t get you 3 months in Europe. I’m not saying people haven’t done it – but this blog is based out of Vancouver, Canada. Flights to Europe can range from $600 to $2000 depending on where your going and when your going. We’re not as privileged as our friends down south when it comes to cost of travel within our own country or internationally. What $3600 could get you is 2-3 weeks in Europe if planned right and you were backpacking, training & staying in Air BnB’s. It could take you to Central America, South America, and hey… if you found a YVR deal (a blogger who follows flight prices to and from YVR airport to share the best deals to the public) you could probably even hit up Asia.
My fiancé and I travelled to Italy 3 years ago and only travelled through Italy. We chose to do that as it was more cost effective (we didn’t have to buy another plane ticket to another country or pay for an international train ticket) we were able to not only see all parts of Italy that we wanted too, but actually experience them for a couple days rather than being rushed. Travelling isn’t about being stressed and busy and following a schedule to a t. Trust me, I want to see every country, every beautiful province/state/city and take in the uniqueness of each place; so I understand the frustration of travelling all that way and not visiting multiple places but it’s what I can afford to do to be sure I’m satisfied with what I saw and learned of the country enough so that if I never go back I won’t feel like I missed something. I’m going off track a bit here so I’m going to bring this one to an end. Before you leave check out the sample of how I updated the original template from my first post & turned it into a financial plan to track expenses & savings.
Creating a Financial Plan
It’s super easy to make something like this – & with the information you gathered from tracking your income and expenses you should know what expenses need to be laid out and what your average income is. The total can be put in every 6 months or year or where ever you would like. I find seeing my savings grow helps with keeping me motivated but some may not find a use for it. I find looking at your savings more as a monthly bill rather than just an added bonus makes it easier to set that money aside.
You may have also noticed that above I stated we would be putting $300 towards travel and $200 towards your downpayment but I put more money in those accounts some months; in the end you have the flexibility to adjust how much you put in these accounts. Sometimes we get unexpected costs-like a flat tire, our cell phone breaks, or we get sick and need extra time off work; when I have extra money by the end of the month I like to to do two things:
1. Treat myself (that’s why our spending was increased on those months as well)
2. Add more to my savings to counter the future months where I may be shorter on cash – it takes the pressure off if I get a flat tire and need an extra $200 to get it fixed/replaced and end up having to put in $200 less that month.
The idea behind this method is that you’re only ever spending your own money-never borrowing from creditors, banks, family, friends…or any other method of getting cash. The only time debt is okay, is when the asset behind the debt supports it ie. mortgage, property investment etc.
In my next post on “How to Understand Renting VS Buying Real Estate” I’m going to dive into saving up for your down payment and discuss why that $2400 is a lot more than you think.