How To Dig Yourself Out Of Debt And Build a Savings Account!

 
 Don't let something like money or debt get in the way of your dreams to move abroad! Use My Simple System for Saving Money to Get yourself out debt! #saving #debtfree #simpleliving
 

When I decided to move abroad, I had no clue where to start, how much money I would need, or how much I could save a month. All I knew was I needed a plan! 

So I got down and dirty with my finances and with myself to make my dream to live in Australia come true. What I loved about this system is that is universal to any savings goal you have in mind. If you want to travel for a year or buy a house, you can. Use my simple method for saving money to move abroad.

KNOW YOUR GOAL

After researching initial costs to move abroad, I knew I also wanted to be financially ok for up to four months. When I made this edit in my calculation, I was surprised by the total number. 

Visa + Flights + Travel Insurance: USD 1,850
Transport + Stay + Food (1 Month): AUD 2,324 / USD $1,766 x 4 = 7,064
Fun: USD 1k
Total Cost: USD $9,914

An hour of anxiety and overwhelm later, I knew it wasn't impossible to save $10k. Yes, I would have to stick to a budget and be picky, but it was worth it. 

WHAT SAVINGS DO YOU HAVE?

For a long time, I didn’t have a proper savings account. Every month, money would go into savings, and every month my credit cards would increase. 

Total Savings: $3k

HOW MUCH DEBT DO YOU HAVE

Thanks to years 18-27, I accumulated about $20k of student loan and credit card debt

I was able to talk myself down from the ledge, but this debt was no joke. But it wasn’t about the money; it’s about moving forward with achieving my personal goal. 

HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED

[COST TO MOVE ABROAD + DEBT = MONEY GOAL]

IE This is what I had [ $10,000 + $20,000= $30,000 ]

It was a hard number to swallow. $30k!!!! that was 2.4 years of rent. Car insurance for over three years! I could get $400 of groceries every month for six years! 

But it didn’t matter. I had to buckle down, pay my debts and save! 

THE SAVING MINDSET

HAVE A VISION

Maybe a vision board is not your style, but a vision board can come to life in many different forms. Yes, you can cut up magazines and stick pics on board, but you can also read stories about people doing what you want to achieve.

I made a list of what I wanted my life to look like abroad. Not only did I create my own Pinterest board filled with inspiring stories and information, but I also read books like Eat Pray Love to let myself know this was something real I could do!! That I could totally achieve these goals.

I was scared shitless and couldn’t actually believe I was going to save money and live in another country, but knowing other females in high paying jobs who left everything, paid off their debt, and saved enough money to travel abroad shifted my mindset from fear to motivation!!

FIND A MONEY MENTOR

I looked to Suze Orman, she had a show on CNN Money talking to real people with real debts or money related issue. My favorite segment was Can I Afford it. 

 

Her sound advice not only kept me on track but gave me insight to paying off my debt and contributing to my 401k. 

RESEARCH SPENDING HABITS

WHERE IS YOUR MONEY GOING?

Mint helped me get on top of my finances. With a monthly overview of your spending, it also categorizes purchases.

As it skillfully divided all my purchases into a chart, I was in for a major reality check. 
My pie chart read: Alcohol, overdraft fees, clothes, and a whole lot of other crap I didn’t remember purchasing. No wonder I had $20k in debt. 

Peak times for my spending included: lunchtime, Thursday - Saturday Night, and special occasions. 

The most significant shock was how much I spent on groceries. For a person who rarely cooked, 20% of my income was supposedly in my fridge and cupboards. Fresh produce was redirected to the garbage because I was too busy going out to eat the food in the house. 

An excess of entertainment like Netflix and Spotify. Did I need these extra services? 

Replacing Bad Habits with good habits

It was clear; I was very good at throwing money away. I had to stop these spending habits and replace them with saving habits. 
Spending Triggers into Saving Techniques

  • Eating out < Eat at home before going out

  • Drinking < Take a limited amount of cash and leave the cards at home

  • Groceries < Don't shop while hungry

  • Shopping < Avoid Malls

If replacing habits is not enough for you, I suggest, freezing your credit cards in ice or cutting them all up. The goal is to break any habits that are preventing you from reaching your goal. 

OPEN MANY SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

HIGH-INTEREST SAVINGS ACCOUNT

If you can, find a high-interest savings account. An account with no minimum balance and zero fees. When I started my savings journey, I used what is now Capital One 360.

Capital One 360 made it easy to create multiple savings account. Each saving account had its own goal, and every month I was able to see the progress. 

 

EMERGENCY FUND

Don’t forget an emergency fund. Suze recommends $1k in your account for any emergencies! Planning for the worse means you’ll be better off in the long run. 

CREATING A BUDGET

ZERO BUDGET METHOD

A budget that allocates every dollar and cent to a line item. There isn't a "just in case fund" or "miscellaneous line," your money has a purpose and place. Once complete you will have zero dollars and cents left over.

AUTO PAYMENTS

Use Auto Pay for all bills. Including rent, home bills, credit cards etcetera. Set credit card payments to the minimum amounts to prevent late fees. 

 Don't let something like money or debt get in the way of your dreams to move abroad! Use My SImple System for Saving Money to Move Abroad, and start saving today! This system will help you face Plus get the budget worksheet that I used to save $30k. Get more tips at SimpleGoldLife.com

TRIM EXPENSES

One of the best ways to save money is by trimming expenses. It's not easy, and sometimes you will have to sacrifice for the greater good, but it's well worth it.

Analyze your bills and do one or many of the following:

  1. Adjust the services you receive to lower the price

  2. Call and negotiate a new deal

  3. Cancel your service

LOWER HOME EXPENSES

Be mindful when you are at home to reduce daily usage of electricity, gas, and water. 

LOWER FOOD EXPENSES

Meal planning is the best way to lower food expenses. The hardest part is choosing the right type of meal planning for your lifestyle

Blue Apron or Similar: Meal Delivery services send at least three meals to your home a week. You can cancel, suspend, at any time. Perfect for singles who want left overs.

Real Plans will create a weekly meal plan and grocery list. You can edit or replace any meal or ingredient. I used this while I was in Australia and saved $100 a week and reduced food waste. 

Plan to Eat I’m currently trying Plan to Eat now and will write a full review once I have tested it out. It’s very like Real Plans, but you add and curate your meal plans versus having a meal plan set for you.

LOWER EXTRA EXPENSES

Depending on your lifestyle, try limiting alcohol, eating out, or buying coffees. Long-term, cutting these luxuries will save you loads of moolah! 

For example, the average cost of Starbucks coffees are $5 for a cup, that’s $35 a week, 140 dollars a month, and $1,820 a year. Equivalent to the cost of your plane ticket and visa!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to cut them out completely, but think wisely about the choices you make. Instead of having one of these luxury items every day, use it as a reward for the weekend.

Remember whatever you don’t spend, contributes to one of your savings goals. 

 Don't let something like money or debt get in the way of your dreams to move abroad! Use My SImple System for Saving Money to Move Abroad, and start saving today! This system will help you face Plus get the budget worksheet that I used to save $30k. Get more tips at SimpleGoldLife.com

USE AIRLINE POINTS/ REDEEM CC POINTS

Redeem credit card rewards in exchange for a plane ticket or accessories. If you have an Amazon rewards card, try using the points to buy a backpack or something for your travels.

My trick was to use my credit card for everyday purchases. In my zero-budget, every week I could spend up to $100 on groceries. At the store, I would use my credit card, and when I got home, I would pay that amount from my bank account. Paying my credit cards every night kept me on budget and increased my points. 

If you don’t think you can do this, then I would recommend against this method. 

DITCH THE CAR

Cars come with maintenance, gasoline, insurance, all which cost money. So if you live in a city where you can travel by bike, carpool or public transport do it! 

ONLY BUY ESSENTIALS

Cars come with maintenance, gasoline, insurance, all which cost money. So if you live in a city where you can travel by bike, carpool or public transport do it! 

REUSABLE ITEMS

Get rid of nonreusable items, and replace them with longer use items.

Not only will they help you save money, but they are also Zero waste. Big points for saving the earth. You Go Girl. 

Replacing everyday household items with zero waste swaps will contribute to your savings as you won't have to buy them multiple times a year or month!

BUY USED

If you need to buy things for your travels, try looking for used items.

Clothes & Shoes - Poshmark (Use code NWDFJ to save $5) & ebay.com 
Electronics - Refurbished Apple or Amazon
Salvation Army / GoodWill / Thrift Stores / Facebook Marketplace- Furniture, Books, Clothes, Shoes, Kitchen Appliances

GET RID OF SUBSCRIPTIONS  OR ADD SUBSCRIPTIONS

We live in a world of subscription services! You don’t want to watch YouTube ads anymore? Cool subscribe to YouTube Red, and poof ads disappear. This feature is a blessing, but it's also pricey. 

Choose subscriptions that help you either save time or save money. 

If you are an avid movie watcher, you know how expensive it can get to include popcorn and candy to your experience. Replace going to the movies with a Netflix subscription and make your popcorn at home.

As I have already admitted, I used to waste a lot of food. If I could go back, Blue Apron would have been my lord and savior. $60 for three meals, but since it was only me, it would be six meals. Leaving me with $40 for breakfast foods and veggies. Done and done!

Take a look at which subscription services will help you reduce cost long-term so you can hit your goals sooner. 

  • Entertainment: Cable, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube Red, etc.

  • Music: Spotify, Pandora,

  • Fitness: Gym, Workout Apps, etc

LIVE WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY

Three months before moving abroad, I moved in with a close friend. I was so lucky to have someone like my best pal! I saved on rent and utilities. A bonus of living with someone is you cut cooking in half and have an instant work out buddy! 

MAKE EXTRA MONEY

RENT YOUR HOME

If you own your home, rent it out using services like Airbnb and VRBO.com. I’ve seen couch rentals on Airbnb too, and if this is an option for you, DO IT! 

 Don't let something like money or debt get in the way of your dreams to move abroad! Use My SImple System for Saving Money to Move Abroad, and start saving today! This system will help you face Plus get the budget worksheet that I used to save $30k. Get more tips at SimpleGoldLife.com

drive with a ride share service

Car services are definitely the way of the future! If you’re friendly, a good driver, join Lyft. You can earn up to $10 per passenger and also get bonuses for referring new drivers. Uber is also really popular!

GET A SIDE GIG

You can get a second job, or you can use the internet to gain some extra cash. For those interested in making money online try:

  • Monetizing a Blog

  • Affiliate Marketing

  • Create Your Own Online Course

  • Sell Products on Etsy

USE EBATES

If you’re not an Amazon user, you can get great deals from big brands using eBates. But, I would only recommend them once you are abroad for hotel stays, flights, or car rentals. You can get up to 10% back when you book a car rental or a hotel when using Priceline. 

SELL YOUR STUFF

Not only is having less better for you, but it can help you earn extra cash. Start selling items you don't use using the following sites or apps

Poshmark (Use code NWDFJ to save $5) | ebay.com | Facebook Marketplace | Offer Up |LetGo | Craigslist

Or if you want to kick it old school, have a yard sale!

PRIORITIZE PAYMENTS

PAY OFF CC & LOANS

Now that you have cut expenses, and are making extra money it's time to pay off your debts. First, pay credit cards with the largest balance and highest interest rates. After a card/loan has a zero balance, move onto the next card.

SAVINGS

After you get rid of your debt, contribute to your savings accounts. Focus on one savings account at a time, and once you've reached your goal move to the next target. 

Watching your savings grow is as addicting as watching Game of Thrones. At least it was for me. 

STAY ON TOP OF IT

Along with checking your accounts daily, ask yourself these questions every week:
What worked? What didn’t work? What could you do better? 

You may notice that you are still spending too much money on lunch, what can you do to save a little bit more. Perhaps you want to bring an extra snack or only keep cash on you. 

 

Using this system to save money will get you on the road of financial recovery. 

Changing your money spending habits is not an easy task. But once you follow the steps above, moving abroad or any other major goal won't be so out of reach.

Are you currently saving money to reach a dream? What are some practical ways you save money? 


Please note, throughout this blog post I have used affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if you click on and purchase, but this does not affect the price you pay.