Our Rome Trip on a Budget

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I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since my fiancé and I went to Rome. That was such a memorable trip for me because it was my first time traveling to Europe. We fell in love with everything while we were there — the people, the culture, and oh yes — the food! I’ve been wanting to blog about our trip for a while, but I’ve continued to put it off because the task seemed so daunting. How can you sum up Rome? I decided the best way to share all of my thoughts was to break this up into several posts. Today’s post is the first in the series and I’m talking about all of the ways we saved money on our trip. Travel is definitely a passion of ours, and we learned during this trip that it doesn’t have to be out of reach financially. There are many ways to save while going abroad, but here are the three things that made a difference for us.

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Off-Peak Flights

Our flights to Rome were significantly cheaper, I’m talking less than $600, because we were open to traveling during an off-peak month. We went to Rome in November, which was actually a great time to go. The weather was in the 50s and 60s almost every day and it only rained once or twice. Other than that it was sunny every day. There were also fewer tourists. I’ve heard horror stories of waiting in line for hours to see attractions, and we didn’t have that issue at all.

Airbnb

Staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel will save you a lot of money. And there are many to choose from in most European cities. Just make sure to go with someone who has a high rating and a lot of reviews. We stayed at the most charming Airbnb run by the nicest lady, Tersia. I honestly liked it better than staying at a hotel. It was clean and in a safe neighborhood. At the time, we were lucky enough to get her flat for $53 per night. The more nights you stay, the cheaper it is. The bed was so cozy and comfy and the windows opened up to the busy street below. It was 10 minutes from Termini Station, which has a train that goes to and from the airport, and it was at most a 20 minute walk to most attractions. Rome is a very walkable city, so that wasn’t an issue for us.

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Rick Steves

We used Rick Steves to plan our entire trip. His pocket travel guides are great because they are easy to carry around and he gives a lot of tips for saving money. One of the big tips for Rome is to use the Roma Pass. For €36, you get free admission for your first two attractions and it lets you cut the line. After that, you get discounts to a variety of other attractions. It also comes with an unlimited transit pass, which is good on the Metro, buses, and trams. We used the Roma Pass on the Colosseum and the Roman Forum since those are two attractions that can have long lines. His pocket guide comes with a full list of restaurant recommendations, including price points. This made it easy for us to select affordable, but quality restaurant options throughout the trip. We also saved money by listening to his audio guides for the Roman Forum and the Pantheon instead of paying for a guided tour. You can get all of his audio guides for free on the podcast app on your phone.

Well that’s it for now! I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions about traveling to Rome. I’ll try to answer them in the next few posts.

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New Year’s Resolution: Save More Money


As someone who dedicates a large amount of her time staring into her closet, I know better than anyone how impulse buys can add up. With all of the disposable fashion available, it’s sometimes difficult to say no. For the past few years, I have been trying to cut my spending on trendy, fast fashion and invest more in pieces that I truly love and that will last a long time. Don’t worry. There will always be room for fast fashion. (See Gold Sequin Pants) But overall I have been trying to be less wasteful and extend the quality over quantity mentality to all of my spending habits. 
This is a nice segue into my Big New Year’s Resolution: Save More Money 
I knew I needed to take a deeper dive into my spending, but I wasn’t really sure how to start. Finally, after reading the article How I Cut My Spending by 50% by Refinery 29, that sort of jolted me into thinking differently about my money. If I subtracted my fixed expenses from my monthly salary and divided what was left in half, putting one half in my savings account and using one half for variable expenses I could actually save a lot each month. By variable spending I mean expenses like food, household items, gifts, and services like haircuts and oil changes. They tend to vary per month.
Using the number I was left with for variable expenses, I tried to figure out if that number would truly be feasible. One of the ways I knew I could stick to this number was by spending less on food and entertainment. I gave myself strict goals for each per week. These goals do not take into account rare situations such as travel or a large car repair, but I am ok with saving less when these larger expenses do come up as long as I am sticking to these numbers most of the time. After all, its large unexpected or expected expenses that leads one to save money in the first place. And if I decide that this plan is too restrictive, I can always adjust my spending and saving amounts to something more realistic. This at least is a good starting place.
Thing I’ve Learned Since Turning 30: Money by Cupcakes and Cashmere is another blog post I found helpful. She actually breaks out her spending by percentages, which is a really nice way of thinking about it. I would love to know how you budget and try to save more money throughout the year.

Did You Shop or Not?

So did you do it? I shopped on Friday and picked out a brand new luggage set for a reasonable price as well as a few Christmas gifts. I didn’t really get into the whole clothes shopping craze that I usually do this year. Partially because I can’t keep my mind straight for long enough to even know what I want and partially because I am trying to stay away from impulsive shopping. The whole shop on this specified day but wait to find out what the deals are whether its online or in store does not feel like the best way to shop. I want to take my time and know that I am buying something I really love or really need as opposed to buying something because it is on sale. My mind cant differentiate the two when I am in a time-pressure situation. How about you? Find any good deals?