The Berlin Budget is a series that I’m thinking of incorporating on my blog and writing about from time to time. With this series, I’d like to share how I saved up some money to move abroad and how I’m managing my finances now. I’m not a financial planner by any means, nor am I really good at Math but, I am good at watching what I spend so that my money goes towards more Funtivities and less mindless spending. Today I thought I would share my tips and tricks for saving up a large sum of money in a short amount of time; when I found out I was accepted to dBS Film School in January, I only had seven months of employment before I moved to save as much of my income as I could. Here are my top tips for saving money…
1) Live At Home
This may not be a feasible option for all people planning their next big adventure, but if Nick and I were homeowners or renting instead of living for free with our parents, there is no way in hell we would have been able to save up enough money to finance our year abroad. So, if possible, suck it up and live with your parents for a couple of months and watch your savings account grow!
2) Bye-Bye Social Life
Your social life is going to take a massive hit if you’re trying to cut corners to save your money fast. If you’re like me and you’re from a small town, you know that when the weekend rolls around there are few options for entertainment beyond going to the bars with your friends. You’ve got two options here: A) Find some new shows on Netflix to binge-watch while your friends are out having fun without you. Or, B) Reinvent the meaning of pre-gaming for the bars. If you opt for option “B”, you must stay strong in your convictions and not buy anything while at the bars; leave the debit and credit cards at home, bring enough cash to buy yourself some drunk food and get yourself a cab if you don’t have a DD.
3) Embrace the D.I.Y lifestyle
Are you the type of person that likes to go out for manicures and pedicures on a bi-weekly basis? Do you like to go to the tanning salons or get your hair done on a meticulous schedule? Cut it out, girlfriend. You’re literally sinking hundreds of dollars a month into a beauty routine that you could easily do yourself.
4) Cook at Home
This one was particularly hard for Nick and I when we were saving up to move abroad. Not only did we enjoy going out for date-nights together at nice restaurants, but we also worked on completely opposite shifts so, during the week we would often grab something quick like Pita Pit or Subway on our way home from running errands or going to the gym. Take that money you would spend on one meal or a quick bite on your way home and go out and buy yourself some staple groceries instead.
5) Profitable Hobbies or Skills
Do you have any skills or hobbies that could potentially provide a service for people that they would pay for? Promote those services! Tutoring, photography, babysitting and beyond are all viable routes to make some extra cash to put towards your next adventure!
6) Small Bills and Change
When I did go out or run errands, I would give myself a small budget in cash. Giving myself a cash-only budget kept me focused on only purchasing what I needed and not buying myself random, unnecessary items. Paying for everything in cash gave me other revenues to save my money aswell. Anytime I received a five dollar bill, I would put it aside for savings and I also saved all of my change. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but if I was putting away a couple five dollar bills a week and a handful of change every time I went out, that added up quickly!
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. About a month prior to our move, Nick and I got together and collected all of the clutter that we had in our homes and had a garage sale. Whatever didn't sell in the garage sale, I posted to the Facebook garage sale groups in my area and sold them there instead. After that, whatever was left was donated.
8) Talk to Your Bank
When I was planning to move abroad, I went to my bank and sat down with a financial planner and discussed what I could be doing differently to save extra money. If you don’t already, set up some kind of savings account that has an automatic deposit. My bank was also able to adjust my account preferences as I was moving abroad to be a student, so I saved a monthly fee of $15.00 just by talking to somebody. Also, I would have a small portion of funds automatically transferred into my savings account every time I used my debit card.
9) Cancel Subscriptions
We have options to subscribe to automatic entertainment everywhere. Think about what you really need and cancel the rest. I am a leech and use my parents Netflix account, so I’m saving money there. But, if you’re the type of person who has a Hulu, Netflix and an HBO account, maybe you should considering eliminating one or two of those subscriptions to save some extra cash.
10) Embrace Frugality
Above all else, give yourself a budget and stick to it. Be mindful of your income VS your spending and what you want to save up in the time you’ve allotted yourself.
These are my favourite ways to save some extra cash; whether I'm saving for new camera gear, a vacation or to move across the globe, these tricks help me every time I'm trying to grow my funds!