Ever since we decided we want to go on a world trip, money is always on our minds. For the past few years we have not really watched our expenses. We both have a well paid job, we could easily pay off our mortgage, save some bugs every month and still do whatever we wanted to do. Living in Rotterdam, the city attractions were just around the corner. We went for dinner twice a week, landed frequently on a terrace while walking the dog, spent (almost) every weekend a few hours in the city center to do some shopping and have lunch in a restaurant. We went away for weekends to London, Paris, Barcelona and long holidays to Asia.
Now that there will be no money coming in for at least a year and maybe longer, we have to start thinking about our expenses. Fortunately for us we no longer live in the city, so the attractions are a lot further away. Furthermore we have been able to bring some of our expenses down by just spending our money differently. Please find below our tips…
Our largest “fun” expenses are on eating out in restaurants. We appreciate good food and really enjoy going out for dinner. We knew we could not not go for dinner anymore, we enjoy that too much. But we could budget our expenses a little bit. How? Instead of both having a full three course meal, we now usually share an entree, each have our own main course and share a dessert. That way we eat more than enough and still have a three course meal at almost 30% less money. Furthermore, we have noticed that it is a lot cheaper if you order drinks by the glass instead of the bottle. You probably automatically drink less too, but we never really notice that. With these savings we can still go for dinner once a week and enjoy a full meal, knowing that the waiter will bring a bill worth only half of what we used to spend!
Fortunately we no longer live in the city. The nearest city is at least half an hour to 40 minutes drive away so this is quite an easy one to save money on. I am never in the mood to drive for 90 minutes to go shopping. Besides that, I also believe that the idea of going on such a journey causes some sort of chemical reaction in our brains, because I have absolutely no desire to go shopping. I do not feel the urge to buy a new summer dress or new shoes in next season’s look. And that is coming from a girl who could not go in a shoe store without buying at least two pairs!! All I can think of now is that we will have only a 20 ft storage container and it is more important to store our comfy bed than 20 pairs of shoes…
When we sold our house, we put all our stuff in storage at a relocation company. We now decided to rent a 20ft storage container ourselves and store this container on the land of a farmer who is friends with my parents. The total cost of transport, storage for a year and rental of the container is 30% of what we pay at the relocation company or would have paid at one of those Shurgard storage warehouses.
Instead of going several times a week just before dinner to buy food on my way home from work, I now go only once a week. I have noticed this helps us save a lot of money. Even if I have forgotten something, it will just have to wait until next week. It teaches me improvisation skills too. I now just look in the fridge what we have and try to make a good meal out of what we have. So far I have not had any complaints so I guess the improvisations are working out well most of the time! Tomato soup with chicken and leek? Not bad at all…
Last but not least, when the sun is shining, we just go for a nice walk in the forest (=free) and open a nice (supermarket) bottle of wine at home. Lying in the hammock in the garden with a nice glass of wine, while listening to the birds singing in the trees makes us realize that life does not need to be expensive in order to enjoy it to the fullest….