One of the greatest challenges in a LDR isn’t the feeling of loneliness or sadness, it’s actually the financial implications that come with distance. Traveling internationally does not come cheap and shipping costs for presents can be really high! With costs so high and a limited income every month it might seem impossible to visit your SO, but there are a few simple things you can do to help save money.
Be knowledgeable about your spending. If you don’t have a budget, you should seriously consider making one. I find that the more aware I am of my spending habits, the more I tend to cut spending! You can create your own budget using Excel or some other tools online, but if you aren’t feeling that advanced you can just practice writing down everything you buy. You’ll be surprised much being aware of your money can help you save it!
Cut back on the little things. Do you start your day with coffee from Starbucks? Or buy a sandwich from the deli for lunch each day? How about catching up with friends at Happy Hour for a few drinks? Well you should stop that. Try making your own coffee at home or preparing lunch the night before. Invite your friends over for a bottle of wine instead of spending obscene amounts of money on a cocktail. This doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself every once in awhile, but try limiting it to once a week. The amount of money you’ll save will add up over time and you might end up being healthier too (buying food out usually makes you consume more calories than if you prepare home cooked meals for yourself).
Start Selling. Have clothes that don’t fit quite right anymore or that you just never wear? Take them to a consignment shop. They’ll sell your clothes and give you some of the profit! Chances are you have a lot of other things worth getting rid of too. Organize a tag sale to help you declutter and raise a little extra money!
Look for Deals. You should always try and buy things on sale and plane tickets are no exception! I like using Skyscanner to search for cheap plane tickets and you can even sign up for alerts for specific flights. If you want to travel on a specific airline, they often offer flight alerts as well. When Jay lived in Australia I signed up for emails from Qantas. I wasn’t planning on visiting him there because I knew the flights were out of my budget, but then I got an email for a sale on tickets. My roundtrip cost was less than $1,100 which is insanely cheap for a flight from New York to Australia! So even if you’re doubtful about being able to afford the flight, sign up for some alerts. You never know what crazy sale the airline might have on tickets!
Think Logically. It can be easy to get discouraged if you don’t have money right now. Saving money takes time. Don’t get upset if after a month you still don’t have enough money in your savings account. Set a goal for when you would like to have the money for a flight and create a plan of action. If you’re realistic with yourself it won’t be such a big disappointment when you don’t have enough money after a couple of months. Be honest with yourself and your SO.
These are my top five basic guidelines for saving money to spend on visiting your SO or sending them presents in the mail! I would love to hear some of your suggestions as well. Do you have tips for saving money? How do you and your SO save money? Are there any tools you use to help you budget your expenses? Let me know in the comments!