Money and Savings

A question we receive a lot is how can you afford a trip like this?  Well, first you have to have an idea of how much it might cost, right?  Once we decided that this trip is something we would like to achieve, we started to search the internet to find the magic number.  Well, there is no magic number because everyone is different and their overland adventure is different.  Some people want to cook all their meals at home and free camp whenever possible.  Some folks use their vehicles more as a mode of transportation and end up staying in hotels or hostels.  After endless searching the number we decided on was $30/day earns you a day in paradise.  Multiply this, by the number of days/weeks/months you plan to be away. If you are traveling as a couple you can probably get away with $50/day.This does not mean this will be your daily budget for your trip, but it will get you going in terms of a savings goal.

Below are some of my “super saver” tips that helped us achieve our savings goals:

  1. I had a small savings account with Wells Fargo that I put three years worth of tax refunds into.  I really dislike Wells Fargo, so I started to look for a new bank account.  After endless hours of research, I decided to open up a money market account with a new bank that I had not heard of called Ally.  A money market account is an interest-bearing account that typically pays a higher interest rate than a savings account.  Our account currently earns .85%, which may not seem like a lot, but last year we earned over $140 in interest.  That means that we earned ourselves another 2.5 days just for having our money in an account.  Ally has great customer service so opening and managing a bank account with them was seamless.
  2. Based on our timeline of when we planned to leave and the money currently in savings we decided that cumulatively we needed to put $800/month into our ally account.  How do you come up with $800/month?  You live without cable, you invite friends over for dinner rather than go out, you make your morning coffee at home and bring your lunch to work, you take public transportation as much as possible, you ride your bike to work rather than pay for a gym membership, you explore all of the fun free events and sites that your city has to offer, you enjoy a cocktail at home before you go out, you go to the public library and rent DvD’s for free rather than go to the movies… what it all comes down to is choices.   You have to decide if this $4 cup of Starbucks is worth it?  Sometimes the answer is yes, yes it is worth it because I’m tired, cold and I deserve it.  When you wait for those moments, trust me, you will enjoy that cup of coffee so much more than if you “treat” yourself everyday.
  3. We also saved money by using our credit card.  No this is not a joke.  We would use the credit card like a debit card, with the only difference being that we pay it off every month.  Through our credit card we racked up points that we could use to purchase items off of Amazon and we also utilized the price rewind feature.  This took a lot of time, but ultimately the credit card company searches for a lower price for 60 days and then gives a rebate if a lower price is found.  We didn’t save hundreds of dollars, but we did save money and it all adds up!
  4. Save money while you travel with Charles Schwab account.  We have met several fellow travelers that struggle with how and when to pull money out of atm’s and banks because of the high ATM fees.  We haven’t had to think twice about this because luckily we found an account that offers no monthly service fee, no account minimum and a refund on any ATM fee worldwide. I would recommend this account for anyone who plans to do any sort of international travel.  It’s amazing, seriously.  For more information click here.
  5. Piggy banks…it might sound childish, but it works.  Save your change and for heaven’s sake, count it yourself and put it in wrappers rather than waste your money at a Coinstar.

piggy-bank

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