Sunday, February 28, 2010

First recap: My successes & failures in saving for Italy did I fare during my first few days of saving for Italy? Considering the budget I put myself on, I didn't have as many epic failures as I originally thought - although my first attempt at this new budget hasn't been easy, either.

The $25/week on non-professional dining out expenses has deemed the most difficult. For those of you who are freelance writers, I'm sure you can agree with me when I say, we don't make a lot of money. Sometimes, we make $0 for a review/article. So, even though I'm dining out 4 to 5+ times per week, I might only be getting paid for 1 or 2 of those times. However, eating out at a restaurant is what I love to do - so, cutting back on how many times I dine out has been hard. Depending on how March goes, I may have to tweak this weekly amount to $35, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

A lot of you have also asked me how the hell I can survive off $20-25/week on groceries. The simple answer is explained above: I go out to eat so often during the week, I rarely eat at home. My friends make fun of me all the time because my fridge and pantry are next to empty - I buy food when I know I'm going to be home to cook and eat it. There's no sense in letting good food go to waste.

So, without stalling any further, here is my recap of expenses since I first announced my plan to "Save for Italy" on February 17th:

Goal: $20-25/week
Result: $54.47 total, or $27.25/week
Went over: $2.25

Wine/beer for home:
Goal: $10/week
Result: $10.99 on a bottle of Pinot Grigio (woo hoo!)

Dining out:
Goal: $25/week
Result: $36.08 (not bad for a week and a half)

I didn't do terribly, but it looks like I need to discipline myself more when it comes to sticking to this new budget, all across the board - especially as time goes on. Now, our plan is to go to Italy closer to the September/October (and cheaper) time frame, so these last few weeks were a good practice run for me. Seeing these numbers listed out makes me want to get my butt into gear ASAP!

How have you successfully saved money for a trip?


  1. definitely start clipping coupons! or here's another idea to save money - on sunday, make two meals that are freezable (if that's a word). for example, u could make chili and soup. or fry eggplant and freeze that. or i make home made black bean burgers and freeze those. all of those are really cheap. on a night that you don't go out to dinner, defrost one of your frozen meals and voila! and the cheapest lunch - a PB&J. and don't buy soda- drink water. hope that helps!

    -from your long lost mass comm bff :)

  2. Are there any places near you that are BYOB? There are a few places in Winthrop, MA like that and that would save you some money while dining out!

    Also splitting meals between people is always a good idea, but you usually seem to have that down :)...and you wont eat as much either!

    first few weeks will be the hardest!

  3. Yes, the freezer is my best friend - such a great idea! And BYOB restaurants are another thing to take advantage of - I totally forgot about that option! Thanks for the tips, guys!