A little bit goes a long way

I’ve talked a few times about the ways I save a little bit of money here and there.  Just for the heck of it, I thought I would see how much I’ve saved from just a few of my tricks and see how far it goes.
So, I mentioned that we got rid of our internet at home, which saves us $60 a month.  We started that in November, and it’s now March.  So that has saved us $300 total in the last five months.
Additionally, I’ve stopping going to Starbucks so much (my guilty pleasure) and started making coffee and lattes at home.  I looked into it, and in January I spent $80 at Starbucks (I know… yikes) and in March, only $40.  So that means between just cutting out internet and not going to Starbucks so much, I have saved $340.  

So what can this $340 get me?  I wanted to find out.  Join me as I plan a fake trip with my $340.

I started with Kayak Explore to see how far I could fly for $340.
Look at all those choices!  I could fly to Los Angeles, Utah, Texas, Florida or Colorado.   For this example, I’m going to choose somewhere I’ve never been, that’s less than $340 so I can see how far I can get on a trip with it.
Since I’ve never been to Columbia, South Carolina, and tickets are $170, I’m going to go there.  So I’ve chosen to go there on a two-day trip.  I can fly out on a Tuesday at 6 a.m., which gets me in at 9:30 a.m., and then come back the following day, leaving at 6 p.m. and coming back at 10:30 p.m.
They have public transportation (The Comet) from the airport to the downtown area, only $1.50 one way, or $3 for the whole day.
I found a room on Airbnb for $105 a night.There were places for half that price, but this place was right in the middle of the downtown area, which would enable me to walk and not have to rent a car.
What will I do when I’m there?  Well, within walking distance, I can visit a few free historical sites or museums:
The McKissick Museum, part of the University of South Carolina, and has many exhibitions on display.
The South Carolina State House, which offers free guided walking tours Monday through Friday.
I can also walk to the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park for a little stroll.
I have $62 left for food after I bought my flight, my room and $3 for bus transportation. There are restaurants near by that look inexpensive, according to this map on TripAdvisor.
A two-day trip to Columbia South Carolina:
$170 flight
$3 ground transportation
$105 Air bnb room
$0 Entertainment
$62 food
Total: $340
This was so much fun, let’s do one more.  I’ve been here dozens of times, but it’s a fun, vibrant city that I always want to go back to: Washington, D.C.  Our money will go far here because all the Smithsonian Museums are free.
For those same dates (April 21-22) I can fly to D.C. for $175.  The flight leaves at 8 a.m. and gets in at 9:15 a.m.  I fly out the next day at 10 p.m. and get in at 11:30 p.m.  The metro system costs $2.35 from the airport to the main part of the city.
I found an Airbnb room for $97, and it’s blocks from the metro, near the National Mall.  (About a 20 minute metro ride to the Washington Monument.)  This means I can walk everywhere, and will only need the metro when I go to the from the airport.
This wonderful TripAdvisor Guide gives a list of all the things you can do and see, most of them free.

I have never been to the Eastern Market, but it’s open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and looks like they have good inexpensive lunch options.

A two-day trip to Washington D.C.:
$175 flight
$5 ground transportation
$97 Air bnb room
$0 Entertainment
$63 food
Total: $340
There you have it.  Now, stop telling yourself you don’t have money to go anywhere.  I challenge you to do the same thing.  See how much waste you have in your budget, save a few bucks here and there, and see what you can come up with.  I was surprised how far my $340 got me.  If anyone takes my challenge, I’d love to hear from you and how far you were able to stretch your savings.

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