I’m Saving To Quit My Job And Travel The World—Here’s How I’m Making It Work

I’m Saving To Quit My Job And Travel The World—Here’s How I’m Making It Work

About this series: Welcome to Scrimp City—an anonymous, week-in-the-life chronicle that provides a look at women who are trying to be smarter about money, whether that means saving more, spending strategically, or just being more comfortable managing their hard-earned cash.

In each installment, we follow one woman’s progress toward a money goal or challenge they’ve set for themselves. We learn about their typical spending/saving habits and see if, after their self-imposed money challenge, they come away feeling just a *little* more financially-savvy.

Meet Our Saver

In this edition of Scrimp City, we meet a young woman who is set on quitting her job so she can *finally* travel Europe, and, for lack of a better phrase, “find herself.” She admits to feeling like quite the millennial and wanting a life and a career that’s fulfilling, rather than routine. Which means, of course, she hasn’t exactly found it yet. At 24 years old, it seems like now is the right time to make a major move.

To be clear, though, she’s not an impulsive person. Nor is she an avid traveler. Or even of the kind of dreamer whose feet tend to leave the ground.  She’s someone who has struggled with anxiety and at times, depression, in the years following her graduation from college. So, she has decided to take extreme measures in the hopes of finding some sense of direction.

Ahead, learn how our Scrimper is spending her money and saving plenty so she can switch up her life path without going for broke. Here’s how she’s managing it all.

Quick Bio:

Job title:PR Account Manager (9 months in role)


Location:San Diego, CA

Monthly salary:$2600, after taxes. I’ve made this for about 7 months now and I received a Christmas bonus in December 2018 of $250.

Monthly rent:$825

Housing arrangements:I rent a 2B/2B apartment and split costs evenly with a housemate.

Estimated total monthly fixed expenses:~$1600

Total debt:~$30K in student loan debt. I also say “no, thanks” to credit cards so this is my main source of debt.

My relationship to money is best described as good, but sometimes rocky and messy. Guess that’s any relationship?

How to sum up me + money:

Overall, money is definitely something I have struggled with and it’s something that my family has struggled with their entire lives. Money has usually not been a fun topic to discuss or think about. Currently, I am trying to change my outlook on money. I know that having money can solve many issues that I may be stressed about but I also know that it doesn’t solve everything or give you happiness. Although money has always been a tough subject, I’m trying to learn from my parents’ mistakes. I don’t want to hate money for the rest of my life, and I believe that I have currently built a decent foundation for myself, although I wish I had started earlier.

My money goals:

I will be going to Europe in September 2019 and plan on staying for 2 to 3 months. I will also be going to east Asia in January 2020. The first month of my trip is almost all paid for, so I am also trying to save for about three months of travel. I do have a few connections in Europe and Asia and will be able to stay in some places for free, but I also want to give myself some wiggle room to not worry too much.

That brings my total savings goal to about $5,000. While traveling, I don’t plan on working, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to considering some sort of remote freelance work like writing articles or the like.

How I got here and why I’m trying to save

How I’ve handled my finances in the past:

Now and in the past, I’ve always been very frugal. I have never been one to spend too frivolously or recklessly, and I’ve always been very aware that saving money is important. Although I am in debt from college, I am successfully paying it off slowly and am comfortable with that expense. Since summer of 2018, after I got my first salaried job, I really started saving and it felt great! Shortly after getting a steady, higher income, I realized all the possibilities and decided to save up for something that I could really look forward to, which is where my travels come into play.

My go-to budgeting tools:

I use Mint to track my weekly expenses just for a quick look into how things are going. It gives me a good sense of if I’m staying on track overall. My bank app is useful, but nothing compares to my planner and notebook. Usually, I like marking every bill or payday on my calendar and I usually use a notebook to budget out my money. My go-to system includes a bi-weekly spread that allows me to tackle all my bills when they’re grouped together in the first-half of the month.

How I’m challenging myself this week:

My goal this week is the same it’s been for months: Put at least $200 bi-weekly in one of two savings accounts. Usually, I will save enough (about $1k) and transfer it to my online savings account at Ally. The bulk of my savings is in online banking where I earn more in interest. At the same time, I am trying not to spend more than $75 each week so the vast majority of my paycheck is going to either my regular bills or being stocked away for my upcoming travels.

My money strategy for success:

To help me save, I try sticking to a few strategies. The first one is to only spend money when I really, really have to. I don’t eat out and when I do go out, I try not to do so more than once a week. I’m also not the type of person who will spend money on things like shopping or going to the movies!

I try to also keep around $800 in my checking account ahead of every paycheck. Over time, I hope to increase the amount I put into savings! I know I can do more if I put my mind to it. I’ve been saving for almost a year now, which has put me in a good place so far, but I’m planning on quitting my job at the end of summer. And that date is fast-approaching!

Day One, Monday:

On my usual work days I just bring lunch to work and don’t do much when I get home. Fortunately, I had enough groceries left to avoid eating out! I budget to get gas every two weeks (unless I go on a trip) and I knew I had about one week of gas left to get me through the beginning of this challenge.


Day Two, Tuesday:

Budgeting for gas every two weeks really helps me to stick to less purchases overall and makes it easier to monitor how much I’m actually spending.

Spent: $0~! (I’m on a roll here.)

Day Three, Wednesday:

So, quick backstory. I got one free month of iTunes and forgot to cancel the subscription…which means they charged me for a second month. I already use Spotify so it’s completely unnecessary! I had that moment where I kicked myself, mentally and decided the best I could do is cancel my subscription.

The good news is it made me grateful for email updates! I found out about the charge because of an email from PayPal which is connected to my bank account. It’s my go-to method for making safe online purchases and PayPal always sends me email receipts when I buy/pay for something.

Spent: $10

Day Four, Thursday:

On Thursday night, I went out with someone I’ve been seeing for about one month now. He paid for our first round of drinks (which came out to $16, but I think he left $20). It seemed only fair, then, that I get the last round. Also, it was only $10 so I can’t complain here.

Spent: $10

Day Five, Friday:

I drove from San Diego to visit friends in Los Angeles for the long weekend and I carpooled with another friend. I don’t think people do this enough, but it really does help make the cost more manageable. We spent $30 on gas ($15 split between a friend and me). My car is alreadyvery fuel efficient (I usually spend $60 on gas per month) but I was happy I was able to trim costs further.

Spent: $15

Day Six, Saturday:

One of the things that annoys me most about Los Angeles is the fact that with parking being such an issue, you’re more or less forced to order a ride at some point. And they’re so expensive! I’ve been charged $17 rides to go just 2 to 3 miles away, but I know that when you’re going out for the evening, it’s still the safest travel option.

Since it was a long holiday weekend, I knew there was no way to beat the system. But at the very least I could carpool with my friend to split costs! Drinks on a night out are also pricey, so we decided ahead of time on buying a tequila bottle ($10.57 when split with one friend!).  Oh, and the Uber ride home set me back another $11.43.

Spent: $22

Day Seven, Sunday:

We went out again on Sunday because of the long holiday weekend and I covered the ride back home. I can’t complain here; we needed to get home safely!

Spent: $13.83

How much I saved by end of week:

Total Spent: $70.83 + Total savings: $100

Final thoughts:

I knew I’d be going away for the weekend so I was definitely more worried about my spending, however I’m shocked to see that I didn’t spend as much as I thought I would! What a relief! I am still on track for saving $200 every two weeks! I’ve already saved almost $4,000, so my goal is to save another $1,000 by September 1. That’s definitely a great feeling. Fortunately, in the next couple weeks I don’t have much going on so I do plan to increase my savings goal each pay period. I am a little stressed, though, because I haven’t yet reached my savings goal for traveling.

There were definitely a few weeks this past month that I slipped. I’ve been buying a lot of expensive concert tickets, and I bought a plane ticket to visit home. Who knows, I may sell a few concert tickets or cancel plans. It’s nice to know that I can always cancel these plans if needed. Although I’m set on saving as much as I can right now, I also have a “you only live once” mindset for some reason! I feel like I need to do all these things and have experiences in San Diego before I leave for Europe and Asia at the end of this year.

I’m not sure, I just feel like this is my last “hoorah” if that makes sense. It’s hard not to be…well, hard on myself. I just have a lot of planning anxiety in general. This is something that I wish was all taken care of already, but I’m reminding myself I’m not rich, and reaching my goal will take time.

Who knows for certain what will come of my travels—but I’m looking forward to them in such a way that I can’t help but feel I’m making the right choice.

—As told to Theresa Avila