Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Save for Italy: the plan

I have big news, folks…


That is…assuming I save enough money to do so.

Zach and I are planning a trip to Italy for this summer. We haven’t researched rates or anything yet, but I know I can’t write a check tomorrow for the trip. So, assuming we plan the trip for August, I have about 6 months to “Save for Italy.”

Growing up, my family and I never traveled outside of the country – money being the number one reason why. I just applied for my first passport on Saturday, and I am 25 years old. Now that I’ve been making and saving my own money for years, I still can’t travel to Italy comfortably as of today. And the thing I spend most of my spending money on? Food and drinks. Heck, I am a foodie after all – and I am not even talking about the money I spend on “professional” food and drinks, for my writing career. I rarely spend money on clothes or shoes (as I type this, I am wearing a sweater from junior high), and I maybe get my hair done every few months or so. Food and drinks are what I spend the bulk of my money on – and thus, what I need to limit my spending on over the next 6 months.

With all this being said, I have a plan – and I am announcing it here in order to use this blog and you guys as my motivation to “Save for Italy.” My ultimate goal is to save $800, which is pretty conservative – so if I can save even more than that, all the better. $800 obviously won’t pay for my whole trip – but I can swing the remainder of the investment with some money I have in savings.

So, here is my plan - I'm not one to set unrealistic goals and fail. This is a pretty conservative approach, but my hope is to exceed my objectives. Here goes:

1.     Groceries 
              Now: I currently spend about $30/week, or $120/month 
              Goal: Spend $20-25/week on groceries, or $100/month max
              Savings: $20/month, or $120 in 6 months 

2.     Wine/beer for home
              Now: $20/week, or $80/month
              Goal: $10/week, or $40/month
              Savings: $40/month, or $240 in 6 months

3.      Dining out (not for work)
              Now: $40/week, or $160/month (wow!)
              Goal: $25/week, or $100/month
              Savings: $60/month, or $360 in 6 months

            Grand total: $720 in savings

Between some other savings here and there in gas/energy bills, etc. my goal is to save up at least $800 for my trip to Italy. On this blog, expect to see updates on how I am continuing to “Save for Italy,” including how much money I have saved at the end of each month. I might have some epic failures along the way, but I hope you join me for the experience. Wish me luck!

Do you have something you’re saving for, too? Then please, join me in my effort to save some money, while sacrificing two of my favorite pastimes.


  1. That's so exciting Michelle!

    Hopefully one of your blogs will include an entry about all the uses of Franzia ;) because that will easily help you cut down costs on wine haha.

  2. This is so awesome, good luck! If I can think of any savings tips I will let you know!

    Look for deals at local grocries stores on meat, and then buy in bulk and freeze ...and only use what you will for that meal and keep the rest frozen!

  3. Hey Michelle it's Jay! I love the article! I'm going to Europe next week one of my suggestions is book a yr in advance (I found a trip for 2ppl to Paris w/4 nights hotel and r/t from JFK for $1200 for 2ppl) try and put your savings in a high yield account like Ally Bank. You can also use to find a free place to stay. Good luck I know you'll get there!

  4. Thanks everyone! I'm psyched!

    And Jay, thanks for the websites/info. All of it will come in very handy!

  5. Market Basket has Purdue Oven Stuffers on sale for $0.89 per pound (see my blog on stretching these at and the Red Oak wine at Walmart is under $3. So, for $6, you can have a nice roast chicken dinner (add in the red wine0, leftover chicken for at least 3-4 other meals, and make stock for soup. Good luck! I love Italy, especially Florence.