Saving for a RTW trip

We decide to start kicking our savings into high gear after our wedding in February 2012. Our savings plan didn’t have much to do with debt, but more about saving for our RTW trip. 2 years with no money coming in means that we had to put major money in the bank.

~ Here is how we did it ~

Put it on paper

The first step in making the change from spending to saving was figuring out where the hell all of our money was going! Between the two of us we bring in a good amount of money, but it never seemed like we were gaining at the bank. For the first few months, every penny we spent went into our trusty little notebook. After we had some data, we set our budgets for different categories of normal spending. For example, every month we plan on $500 USD in gas for our cars and $500 USD for groceries/household supplies. One unexpected we learned from this exercise is you can’t plan for everything! So a budget without some money put aside for life’s unknowns is set up for failure.

20121228_223933

Cash Diet

The biggest change in our financial situation was our approach to how we spent. Before we started saving hardcore it would be rare for me to carry any cash in my wallet, everything went on a credit card. We never carried a balance on our cards, they were paid in full every month, but even a $1 or $2 purchase would happen on plastic. It was very easy to just swipe and get what we needed, or more often wanted. We went out and got a box of envelopes and wrote down all of the names of the categories that were variable month to month and could be paid in cash.

20121228_223700

At the start of the month, we took out the budgeted amount from the bank and stuffed it into the respective envelopes. At first, it felt strange to be using the green paper instead of the plastic we had become accustomed to. However, every time I would leave a store holding on tighter to my cash than I would have the credit card, it started to grow on me. Cash just seems so much more real, and I found it much harder to part with. The results, we hit our savings goal for the first time ever (maybe cause it was the first one we had ever set one), and we haven’t missed one since.

Saving Better

After a few months of living off of only cash, we felt we had learned the lessons and were ready to switch back to credit cards for everything except for our fun money. Let’s face it going to the grocery store with a wad of cash, or actually going into the gas station is kind of annoying. Going back to plastic also allowed us to take advantage of credit card rewards points which we use to help fund our travel.

Our first month back on credit cards was fine and by keeping our ‘fun money’ in cash we aren’t spending nearly what we used to. We each have an account (an envelope) where we get $25 USD every two week pay period to spend on whatever makes us happy. Hannah’s money usually goes to clothes or shoes, while I spend my money on one of my many hobbies, home brewing usually gets most of my cash. Then we also put in money for ‘Entertainment’ where we get $100 every two week pay period. We left enough so we can go out to eat once a week or meet friends out for some drinks. Budgeting is like a diet and if you don’t allow yourself some cheat money it will never work.

Cut Backs

Along with the reduced spending in the above-mentioned categories, we had to cut some of the fat in all of our spendings. We took a look at all of our recurring and random expenses and decide which ones were really necessary. A good way to look at it is line by line, and ask yourself is this thing more important to me than being able to travel the world? If not cut it!

Our single biggest reduction was cutting the cord on the cable company. We were spending over $160 USD per month for cable and internet, with no fancy channels or anything. We dropped cable and signed up under Hannah’s married name for Internet (new customers get better deals). Our internet bill is now only $40usd / month, we did pick up Netflix and Hulu Plus for $8 per month each. Bringing our total bill to about $55-$60 per month, saving us about $100 monthly.

Other things we cut were some of the luxury beauty activities we have been doing for years saving another good chunk of money. Another place that would hurt our budget was the extras at the grocery store, we are now closer to hitting our target spending (after a lot of practice). All things considered, were haven’t missed most things as much as we thought we would, it will all be worth it as were are circling the globe!

More Reasons to Leave

It always interests me when talking taxes among other travelers to see what percentages they pay, compared to what their government supplies to its taxpayers. Before leaving we were giving the government 34% of our wages without getting our health care or university paid for. While other countries pay closer to 40% but they will never pay a medical bill or have student loan debt.

Adam on the edge on the cliff, just like our nation!

Do you have any savings tips that you think may help other travelers get enough in the bank to take a trip of a lifetime? Please post them in the comments.

This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure

8 thoughts on “Saving for a RTW trip”

  1. You guys are inspiring! I am so ready to give it all up and travel, convincing my hubby, we recently married and your posts make it seem attainable. thanks for the great tips. 47 countries! wow…..there’s a goal worth pursuing.

  2. Just wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog! It’s been my favorite travel blog I’ve found so far. I was just wondering if you don’t mind sharing, how much you would recommend starting out with for an around the world trip all together? My boyfriend and I have been planning to do the same and saving up for the past couple years but I’m still unsure as to what’s a good starting point. If you have any tips or wouldn’t mind sharing what you originally started out with that would be a huge help! Thank you 🙂

  3. some great tips there guys – i found converting everything into it’s equivalent in Asia was the best motivator…
    …starbuck coffee or a night in Chang Mai with a meal and a beer?!

    • Thanks! When we got back from Thailand we too found ourselves comparing what we could get for the same price! Screw the starbucks! You could get a night’s stay for the cost of a drink there. I would rather get a Thai iced coffee on the street anyway!

  4. Exciting to read about this guys! I’m planning on starting my own indefinite adventure starting in September.

    Along with J I think selling my car will be the hardest thing to get rid of. A lot of road trips and memories in that thing… As for my other possessions, I’ve given away or sold most everything. I still have a bedroom at my mom’s house where I’ll leave my bed, desk and some clothes for whenever I decide to come back and visit.

    Good luck with the planning and saving, world here we come!

    • Glad your enjoying our website! Congrats on your upcoming trip in September! Selling your possessions and vehicles makes everything so real! And so hard! Since we own a house we have 1500 square feet of stuff and a basement! Hopefully we are going to rent our house mainly furnished and then hopefully our nice lovely parents will let us store stuff at their houses, so we aren’t forced to shell out money for a storage unit!

      Where are you starting? You said indefintly?!?! What are you plans for work and such?!?! That is awesome, hopefully one day we can turn Getting Stamped into a big success where we can afford to do that! Congrats again!

      Hannah

  5. Great post guys, good luck with your RTW trip. I too am curently saving and planning for my own trip, looking to leave in early 2014 atm. Which gives me a year to sort everything out. Selling my car will be the hardest part, l love that thing.

    If you are ever interested, I would love to have you guest post on my blog.

    Regards

    J

    • Congrats on making the decision to take a RTW trip! I bet you are counting down the days just like us! We too will have to sell Hannah’s convertible in April, so if anyone is interested?!?! We have come to realized we have so much stuff and we are actually doing really well will selling/donating a lot of stuff. We decided to rent our house as opposed to sell it, that would be REALLY hard to do! Email us about topics for possible guest post! Maybe in 2014 our travel paths will cross! Safe travels, keep in touch!

Leave a Comment