Cara and I know we need to be frugal and make the money last if we want to go for the whole year, but we don’t want to just sit on our butts for a year either. Trying to balance the conflict of getting the experiences we want and not spending all our money in one quick swoop has been tricky, but I think we’re both happy with the choices we have made so far.
If there is something that one of us really wants to do, we do it. Period. There is no point in going on an adventure and not doing the things that will make it worthwhile. On opposite side, if we’re not crazy about going to do something that will cost us money, we usually decide against it. This is why we decided not to go into the Louvre while we were in Paris, even though it wasn’t that expensive in the grand scheme of things.
Another way we try to save money is going on free walking tours in the cities we visit. So far every city has had at least one company that puts these on, and then you just tip the guide whatever you think is reasonable when its over. We usually tip the equivalent of $5-10 each, which is a lot cheaper than any major tour company we’ve seen. We have recently tried downloading podcast walking tours, which are completely free and also seem to work well, although sometimes its nice to have the guide to ask your questions instead of google.
The other big way we try to save money is by not eating out for the majority of our meals. We also aren’t quite as active as we were in Virginia, so we’re trying to eat less, although that really hasn’t worked for the last month or so… Most places we try to stay we can cook for ourselves so we try to get some groceries and cook most of our meals ourselves. Even if we can’t cook for ourselves, we’ll try to get some salad and pre-cooked chicken at the grocery store or some sandwich stuff and have at least one meal a day on the cheap. If we can do this regularly, we really don’t feel bad about spending a decent amount for a nicer dinner once in a while.
One really big way we have saved money is by hardly drinking any alcohol. We weren’t big partiers anyway, and by cutting out most alcohol we really limit the amount we spend. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have any wine in France and or Scotch in Scotland, but we aren’t having big nights out at the bar.
We were super lucky to spend most of July at a friend of a friend’s house in England, so that saved us a ton of money in lodging. We’re also spending most of August in Ireland at a farm where we’ll be trading about 5 hours of work a day for room and board, so we’ll see how that goes. If it goes well, we’ll be trying to do this again during the trip in order to save some more money.
So what does this mean overall? If you remember our daily budget for the year is $135, and as of 8/9/16 we are at $95.98/day. This is actually falsely high, because I have updated our tracking sheet with the cost of all the flights we have purchased, which includes 3 future flights (we normally track the expense on the day that we fly, and count the flight into a country in that country’s total cost. If you eliminate those future flights, the total falls under $90/day.