How I Paid For A Trip to Ireland With Simple Savings Tricks

How I Paid For A Trip to Ireland With Simple Savings Tricks Anyone Can Use Enjoy this awesome travel-related post from a blog friend.

Last October, I headed over to Ireland for the first time. I was going with my girlfriend, who back in college decided to take a semester overseas in Ireland at the University of Galway.

Her one semester turned into three years and an undergraduate degree. Now we were heading to Ireland to see one of her friends from college get married and reconnect with other college friends.

Seeing as how it was my first time visiting Ireland and her wanting to see all of her old friends, we decided to take a 10 day trip. Our plan was to fly out on a Thursday night, arrive in Dublin at 8am Friday morning, and drive up to Belfast for a day of sight-seeing. From there we were driving the country, staying at a different bed and breakfast almost every night.

On flights, the rental car and nightly accommodations, we spent $3,400. When you take into account food and other incidentals, the overall cost came to roughly $4,500. We paid for this trip with simple savings tricks that anyone can use.

 

Travel Trick #1: Saving Other Income

I don’t like clutter. When I buy a new shirt for work, I make myself get rid of one that I haven’t worn lately. Along this same idea is cleaning up around the house. There are many things that we no longer use that are a waste of space to us. So we routinely clean out our house. For some of the items, I will list them for sale on Craigslist or eBay.

When I do sell them, I take the money I made and deposit it into a separate savings account. I do this for an entire year and then decide what I want to do with the money. In this case, I knew the money was going to be used for Ireland.

My other income adventures don’t stop with selling random household items. I sell old books that I no longer read on Half.com. I also take short surveys online that pay me a few dollars when I complete them. Finally, when I shop online, I use cash back websites. When I get the cash from these activities, I deposit the money into the same account above.

For 2012, the amount of money earned for Ireland totaled $1,550.

How I Paid For A Trip to Ireland With Simple Savings Tricks Anyone Can Use

 

Travel Trick #2: Saving My Savings

I started doing this trick when I bought my house to help me pay more of my mortgage each month. Where I shop for groceries, they list how much I saved on the bottom of the receipt from coupons and sale items.

When I get home, I put the groceries away, then go online and transfer this savings amount from my checking account to my travel account. My budget will show the total spent still so the savings are a slight of hand.

For example, if I spent $45 on groceries after saving $5, I would put on my budget that I spent $50 in groceries. The $5 savings will go into my travel account.

On average, my weekly groceries savings is $20. But I don’t just stop there. When I buy clothes or other items, I always make it a point to transfer the savings from those purchases to my travel account. If you want to really see your savings increase, use this trick. Just from groceries alone I put over $1,000 into my travel account.

For 2012, the amount of money earned for Ireland totaled $1,825.

 

Travel Trick #3: Gift Cards

Just from the two tips I mentioned above, I paid for the airline tickets, rental car and a few of the overnight accommodations for our trip. My next trick is using a rewards credit card.

Personally, I use the American Express Gold Card. With it, I earn double points on gas and groceries, triple points on airfare and one point on everything else.

When I fly, I usually watch a movie. So, I head over to the grocery store and buy an iTunes gift card for my movie rental. The purchase at the grocery store earns me double points since it is a grocery store purchase. Same goes for eating out and movie theaters – I’ll buy a gift card or two at the grocery store.

I will also buy a generic Visa or Mastercard gift card there as well and use that for everyday shopping. I then turn around and use the points I earn for travel. Unlike most frequent flier programs, there aren’t any special conditions with using the American Express points that I earn. I just redeem each point for $0.01.

Note that I don’t redeem points to pay for airfare since I earn triple points on airfare when I use my Gold Card. I do use the points as a statement credit however. After I make charges, I log into my account online and select the charges I want my points applied to for credit.

For 2012, the amount of money earned for Ireland totaled $400.

 

How I Paid For A Trip to Ireland With Simple Savings Tricks Anyone Can Use

Travel Trick #4: Zero Based Budgeting

Budgeting get s bad rap from many people, mostly because it is looked at as restricting your spending. I choose to look at budgeting as giving me a goal to spend less than what I think I should spend. I turn it into a game.

I budget on a zero based system, which means that I account for all of my income in my budget. There is not a single dollar that isn’t allocated to a category. At the end of the month, when I look over my budget, any money I allocated that I didn’t spend, I transfer to savings. In this case, I transferred that money to my travel fund.

For example, let’s say I planned to spend $200 dining out for the month. At the end of the month, I review my budget and see that I spent $150. I take that $50 I didn’t spend and I “spend” it by transferring it into my travel fund.

In the event I overspent in a category, I will move money from an account I didn’t overspend in and then transfer the difference. In this example, if I overspent my gas money by $10 for the month, I would only transfer $40 of the unspent dining out money.

For 2012, the amount of money earned for Ireland totaled $1,000.


 

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, using my four tricks above, I saved $4,775 for the trip to Ireland within one year’s time. Since we spent $4,500 we have a few hundred dollars saved for our next trip already! The tricks I use are completely painless. I don’t even notice the money is not there for spending. All that it takes is a little bit of time to make sure you do everything you can to save some money and to make the transfers.

The trip itself was a blast and I already want to go back! I’m always looking for other tricks to save money, so be sure to leave yours in the comments below!

Bio: Jon writes for MoneySmartGuides, a personal finance blog that helps educate people on personal finance so that they can reach their financial dreams. He focuses on investing, savings and paying off debt since those are the most challenging personal finance topics we face.

How much do you spend on travel each year? How do you save for it?

 

Comments

  1. Dee @ Color Me Frugal says

    Love it! I used to use the grocery store gift card trick all the time when we lived in an area that had a grocery store that had that program. When we were doing DIY projects around the house I’d go there and buy Home Depot giftcards. It was great. Unfortunately we have moved and the grocery stores in this area don’t do it!! I love trick #2 Saving Your Savings- our grocery store DOES show us that on the receipts, so that it something I think we should try out!! Thanks for the great ideas!
    Dee @ Color Me Frugal recently posted..7 ways to (happily!) contain your standard of livingMy Profile

  2. DC @ Young Adult Money says

    Love your breakdown on how you saved money for this trip. Ireland is definitely a place I want to visit someday! I would love to go to Costa Rica in a few months for my friend’s wedding, but I don’t think it’s realistic.

  3. The Warrior says

    My biggest travel savings suggestion to save big bucks is to go off season. Places like Hawaii are not crowded in November and March and flights and hotels are extremely cheap. Plus it’s still 75-80 so it’s not like you are going to miss out on the nice weather. I once bought roundtrip tickets to Hawaii in mid-April for a total below $400 from US mainland that would have been $1,000 in June or July.

    The Warrior
    NetWorthWarrior.com

  4. Brian says

    Those are some great tips on how to save money for a trip.

    Personally we churn credit cards and take advantage of travel promos to keep our trip costs down. We were just in Ireland in the middle of September. We planned and did the whole trip less than a month in advance. I think the total out of pocket for us was around $2.5K for my old lady, our little guy and me. Almost all of that was flights and rental car. The real savings came from the fact we paid $0 for hotels and we stayed in really nice hotels. This was all because of credit card points from one card and leveraging a promo from last year.

    I know churning isn’t for everyone and if you are going to do it you have to be really responsible with it, but it sure can bring down the cost of travel!

    • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says

      The cost of the rental car surprised us. We booked it ahead of time and knew the price, but didn’t know we needed to include the insurance. The insurance alone basically doubled the rental price for us. We found out that Ireland is one of the few countries where you can’t turn down the insurance and only a few credit cards insurance programs cover you in Ireland.
      Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..Shopping Tricks To Save MoneyMy Profile

      • Brian says

        Yeah here comes one of my pro tips for Ireland for everyone else. Use Dan Dooley or any other Irish based car rental service and they quote the all in rate so it isn’t quite as shocking.

    • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says

      The cost of the rental car surprised us. We booked it ahead of time and knew the price, but didn’t know we needed to include the insurance. The insurance alone basically doubled the rental price for us. We found out that Ireland is one of the few countries where you can’t turn down the insurance and only a few credit cards insurance programs cover you in Ireland.
      Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..Shopping Tricks To Save MoneyMy Profile

  5. Alexa says

    I think saving your savings in awesome idea!! I’ve always thought that extreme couponers weren’t really saving any money because where is the money they are saving? (Does that make sense?) You seem like a very disciplined person and I’m glad that you were able to take that trip!

  6. Mrs PoP says

    We spend several thousand each year on travel, but try to maximize it by doing things like combining work trips with fun, and watching for seasonal deals. We also tend to like more off the beaten path destinations, which can be a tad bit more to travel to, but much cheaper once you get there.
    Mrs PoP recently posted..He Said She Said: Financial BullyingMy Profile

  7. Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial says

    I LOVE that savings trick! Taking your “savings” amount listed on your receipts and actually putting that towards saving is brilliant. I had never thought of doing that but I’ll have to start trying it from now on! Thanks for the great idea :)

  8. Green Money Stream says

    These are great tips. I can’t believe you saved $1500 by selling stuff you already had, that’s great. We use a rewards credit card to save as well. Also, my husband travels for work so he joins the hotel rewards programs and we rack up several free hotel stays a year.

  9. MITM says

    Wow. I’m impressed. Especially that you track your savings and transfer the money afterwards.
    I’m currently reading a biography of the Rockafellers and John the first one to make it rich used to keep track of all his money down to the cent. He started off super poor but he investing in that habit probably served him well when he had more commas in the numbers.

  10. Micro says

    I like the litle trick of saving your savings. That would actually be a good method to use when it comes to paying off debt. Every bargain and deal you score helps increase the amount you pay off towards debt. I might have to start doing that with my student loans. It would be a good way to motivate myself to find more ways to save.
    Micro recently posted..Saving Money on Software Part 1: Open Source SoftwareMy Profile

  11. getrichwithme says

    Irelands a great country – though hotels, eating out and drinks are VERY expensive.
    I’m a holiday free zone until I’m 3/4s of my way through debt reduction – then a week or two in the south west of Portugal will be my reward.

  12. Mike says

    I love your your organization and dedication to be diligent in the fact that saving $5 is money really saved by setting a separate acct for that money. That takes discipline and something that you have. I also like that you use the gift cards to track your spending, I’m starting to do that because it’s really easy to swipe your credit card for everything since it has a high credit limit I normally wouldn’t hit every month, but having a pre-paid $500 gift card makes me think twice if I really need.

    On another note, you should look at the transfer of your Amex membership rewards points to one of the airline partners frequent flyer mile program, even with the taxes/fees, you’ll still can get a good value.

  13. Sue says

    Love your breakdown on however you saved cash for this trip. eire is unquestionably an area i need visit} someday! i might like to go to Central American nation in an exceedingly few months for my friend’s wedding, however I don’t suppose it’s realistic.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge