It took a lot of work to put all this together but it finally is and beautiful but also makes me a little sad because I am realizing how expensive this dream really is. No matter what way I spin it – it’s still Europe and it’s always going to be expensive. I checked different routes anyways just to really see what the difference in money is.
The first column is the exact amount of money that Jordan and I are using and saving for our Study abroad trip in Florence, Italy. Of course the majority of the numbers are not set in stone yet (spending money, food, entertainment, etc. ) but some are (passport, plane ticket, program fee, etc.) but this chart does give me a great idea of what to expect. When I put the costs in I was hoping for the best but betting for the worst. I added a bit to each one because – from experience – I know that things are not always as you expect, usually more then you expect. In the income section I am obviously hoping for some more financial help from my family, friends, and scholarships, but I can’t expect that to happen so I only included the income I new or was pretty sure I was getting. The totals shocked me but wasn’t surprising at the same time. I was $833.33 under. Which means I will come out in the negative. This is not good.
The next column I lived on the cheap side. I tried to imagine each category and every single way I could cut down the cost – even if by $10. Every little penny counts in that column. I still acted upon my plans as of now. I used the same plane ticket, program fees, and income. What I changed was I cut the excess money that I had put as padding in the previous budget and then some. Such as, I had myself pack the bare minimums so that my luggage would not weigh over 51lbs – this right here would save me $60. I cut out the cash for the bus/taxi/ferry expenses and wrote that I would walk. You can see and explore so many more things while on foot anyways. Jordan and I came to an agreement to share all food (eating out). They are usually too large of portions anyways – plus only getting water to drink. We do want to splurge twice a month and get a nice fancy meal with all the courses and the best bottle of wine; just because we need to truly live in the culture and dwell in the moments. I cut down my souvenirs expense a lot because I don’t need to buy a whole bunch of stuff for my family and friends. All that matters in the experience that I get from this trip. I also eliminated any clothes that I would purchase for the trip because I can easily barrow from family and friends, or even barely spend anything and go to Goodwill. Doing all of this took $1860 off of my expenses. That doesn’t seem like a lot but like I said – every penny counts. With all that cutting back and upping my income I start to see a difference. To change my income I added a scholarship that I have applied for (fingers crossed) as well as upped my hours at Jamba over the summer (covering peoples shifts and staying late). Doing those things takes me from being under $833.33 to being over $2826.20. This is where I can see the difference.
After a few days I got to thinking. One of the main reasons I want to study abroad now is because I am afraid that I won’t ever get to travel again. That once I graduate college I will have to choose a career and start a “big girl life”. Then come marriage and children and then my life belongs to those kids. That’s my logic. So I made another column for if I was to graduate and start working full time at Jamba (God for bid) and save $200 a month into a Italy savings account for 5 long years. Where would I be then? This is only taking into account what my living expenses are now – nothing added for future responsibilities. Just as if I lived exactly how I live now for 5 more years. I think this is wishful thinking because even with rent, utilities, gas, food and savings I still come out $49,400 ahead. I have listened to my parents enough time to know that does not happen. This number was without expenses such as clothes and any other necessities. Pretty much this could come true if I lived my life like a hermit and literally saved every penny I scrapped off the ground.
At this point in my financial adventure I only see myself going with the first scenario with possibly some brought over from the Less Spending section. Honestly what I am hoping for is a scholarship acceptance and some family contributions.
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