How to save for a trip abroad

For me personally I have always been a saver and not a spender. I am far from being materialistic but do enjoy my apple products that keep me connected to the outside world. I started working at the age of 14 and have been saving for “something” which just happens to be my trip to Paris. Here are some tips that I’ve been living by in order to save up as much as I can before taking my journey abroad.

1. Learn to live more frugal.

  • Don’t buy daily coffee, pack your lunch, walk to work instead of driving, watch movies at home or go on cheap night.
  • Get rid of the gym membership. Who wants to work out in a gym during a hot summer anyways?
  • Shop at farmers markets or grow your own food in a garden! I started gardening last summer and have great success with my vegetables so now I’m in love with the idea of growing my own food!
  • Start shopping at second hand stores. I find the majority of my clothes at a local second hand clothing store and it really doesn’t bother me.
  • Give homemade gifts. I actually recently started giving food gifts in mason jars for Christmas presents and now everyone looks forward to them even though they are only 5 dollars to make!

2. Sell your belongings that you don’t need anymore

  • I started selling my higher quality clothing on an online yard sale and actually both of my prom dresses that I knew I would never wear again.
  • I’m in the process of trying to sell my car now because I know in a year when I return ( if I do) then it will be another year older.

3. Work multiple jobs. It will be hell for a short period of time but just think of the payoff in the end. I currently am working 2 jobs, every single day and 50-60 hours.

  • I’ve become a workaholic and my daily schedule looks a lot like: Wake up, eat, work all day, eat, shower, sleep… And then do it all over again the following days. This may seem like complete hell but if you’re passionate about travelling then it won’t feel like work; it will be more of an investment.  
  • My second job is as a waitress for my parent’s local restaurant so I must admit the tips help A LOT. I have been putting my tips that I bring home every weekend into a little mason jar so I won’t be tempted to do anything with it and in the past 3 months I have over $2000 saved up!

4. Use travel incentive credit cards to build points while traveling!

  • I got the CIBC travel rewards card which normal has a $120 annual fee but had it waived for the year because I have so many investments with the company. I received 15 000 points just for my first transaction on the card and 1 point for every dollar I use! 
  • Rack up those Air Miles! Every little bit helps and over time you may even have enough to fly somewhere!

5. Move back in with your parents for a short time if you need to.

  • I had to do this for a few months after graduation while I worked at home for the summer months. It’s been tough coming back home but in the long run, look how much money I have been able to save without having to pay rent and for groceries.

6. Become less materialistic.

  • Do you really need those new shoes or to dye your hair? I haven’t dyed my hair in over 3 years and I don’t plan on it again. I don’t want to be worrying about doing my roots while abroad and its way too expensive and unnecessary.

7. Do your research! Don’t just settle on the first flight or accommodation that you find because if you search around there’s a good chance of finding a better hidden deal.

  • I looked at flights to Paris for approximately 3 weeks and actually found a site selling the same exact flight that another site had for $100 cheaper. Now this flight was with a company that didn’t allow for two free checked bags so I had to weigh my options.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Ask for money instead of gifts at celebrations. 

  • For every holiday that comes up when we receive gifts I always just ask for money towards a trip because for me, I would much rather spend money on experiences to create memories than materialistic products that I will end up getting rid of some time anyways. 
Advertisements

Blueberry Cream Sweet Omelette

After eating way too much cake a German birthday party I needed to start Sunday off right so I made my go to weekend breakfast! If you haven’t made a sweet omelette before I completely suggest trying it! It’s essentially an egg white fluffy crepe stuffed with greek yogurt and berries of your choice. Topped with maple syrup of course for that extra sweet kick! 20140629-110949-40189641.jpg

Recipe for single serve omelette:

  • 2 egg whites (or more)(
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini ( I add zucchini to everything)

1. Whip ingredients with fork until fluffy and bubbly.

2. Pour onto a preheated greased pan and cook on each side for 2-5 minutes depending on how cooked you prefer it.

3. Stuff with your favorite foods! Greek yogurt,cottage cheese, fresh fruit, jam, peanut butter… the possibilities are endless!

 

20140629-110948-40188255.jpg

Blueberry “PRONUTS”

Figured that it was time to change p my typical Greek yogurt & Kashi Go Lean powerbowls for breakfast so why not make some pretty donuts right?

Did some searching around for a couple recipes that I could try and none of them I ended up using because I lack ingredients in my kitchen right now haha. I came up with a similar recipe to one that I found on thecoconutdiaries for blueberry protein donuts because who doesn’t like added protein!

The recipe made 4 regular sized donuts ( well they were quite flat but still 4 were made)

Recipe:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats grinded into a flour
  • 1 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup blueberries

Mix all together and spoon batter into a greased ( ESSENTIAL! ) donut pan. I used a large sized one but you could use a mini donut pan as well! Cook at 350 for 10-12 minutes and voila! Protein Donuts for a quick on the go breakfast or snack!

I topped mine with a mixture of greek yogurt and more protein powder but the possibilities are endless!

 

Is this real life?

This is how I feel right now!  In a good way of course! 

I got great news from my host family yesterday! They recieved my stamped contract from the DIRECTTE already, after only dropping it off less than a week ago! The two copies of the contract along with my confirmation of enrollment in my French lessons are on their way to me right now. I wasn’t expecting everything to actually run so smoothly and fast considering the amount of problems I’ve been having with the process so far. Now I need to get my act together and collect the rest of my required documents to send to the consulate in Montreal, hopefully by next week!

  • Need to get two pictures taken for my application. Apparently the size of the photos needs to be smaller than a typical passport picture so I’m going to have to go to a specialty store..( more money spent …) 
  • Have to purchase an XPRESSPOST envelope to go along with my application so that my passport and other important things will be returned to me! 
  • I seriously need to sit down and figure out what clothes and items I am taking with me. I have this brand new Roots puffer jacket that I want to bring but obviously it’s not realistic because #1. It’s huge #2. I would look so out of place in Paris. 

Only 55 Days until my adventure abroad begins! 

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet

This day couldn’t get any worse.. I am currently sitting in my office drenched from the rain that magically decided to come down as I was on my way back from lunch. It was a 30 minute walk so when I say drenched I literally mean dripping in water… Then I come back to find my car windows were left down so now my car is also soaked and the suitcase that I was planning to return today for a different color is as well .. 

On top of everything I look at my credit card bill and I see a charge for $660 when I thought my flight was only $530.. Apparently the site I used was in pounds and not euros so the currency is more to convert…UGH I probably should have looked into the different sites more but it was a spontaneous decision that I made at the time and I can’t really go backwards now. Live and Learn I guess. 

Process Update

  • My host family has left my documents with the DIRECCTE in Paris so now I get to wait patiently for 2-3 weeks (hopefully sooner) for them to stamp and mail the documents back to me so then I can apply for my visa. I’m hoping that this only takes 2 weeks as well so I can get on my way.
  • I switched french school locations so now I will be studying in the 3rd district near the Opera. 
  • Yesterday I went and bought a bunch of Canadian items for my host family’s daughter such as a t-shirt, puzzle, key chains, bracelets, stuffed animals.. It’s so nice that Canada day is so close! Super easy to find things to take with me! 

Here I thought I was getting a sweet deal this whole time and I really ended up paying more than I would have if I had of just used the booking site I typically do… Not a great start to my weekend let’s just say that. 

FLIGHT BOOKED

After watching the price of flights to Paris rise over the weekend, I stuck it out and listened to every article that I found online about the best time to book flights being on a Tuesday. They were completely right in my case anyways. The one way flight to Paris in August with a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt was $530 last week, then spiked to $700 over the weekend and then today it was back down to $530 this morning. Let’s just say, I BOOKED MY FLIGHT ! I finally convinced my father that a one way ticket is just as cheap as buying a return so a one way it was!

A tip for booking flights! Don’t base the prices of flights just by looking at one search provider. I used several including, fligthhub, studentuniverse, statravel and finally came across ebookers. Ebookers was $70 cheaper for the same flight so DO YOUR RESEARCH!

I feel so relieved and less stressed now that I just did it without even thinking twice. I am so frugal with my money so to be able to just spend that much money on something must mean this trip is of importance to me. I’m sitting here at my desk wanting to share my excitement but sadly there is no one around, so I guess writing it will have to do for now!

What else have I been up to? 

  • I got in contact with Condor to discuss the baggage rules and it’s only $85 extra to bring a second checked suitcase of 50lbs so I have decided that I am going to do that because there is no way that I can pack for 4 seasons in one bag along with the gifts for my host family. Last weekend I went out and bought two 28 inch suit cases; one blue and one hot pink which i hope will be enough space! Anything is better than the little 25 inch one I was attempting to use before.

9058-5355

  • I have enrolled and received confirmation of my french lessons which I needed to do in order for my host family to be able to take my contract to the DIRECCTE in order to get stamped.
  • I BOOKED MY FLIGHTS
  • oh yeah, I graduated college, no biggie!

Now I guess I just have to wait (hopefully no longer than 2 weeks) for my contract to be approved and then wait again for them to mail it back to me here in Canada. Next step after that is to gather all of my necessary documents and stuff them in an envelope and send to the french consulate in Montreal. They finally got in contact with me and for some reason I don’t have to make an appointment, yet everyone else I have talked to has had to which kind of scares me. I guess it should be fine because I do have proof of the consulate in Montreal stating that it is okay to mail my documents so I will use that for reference.

Hallelujah

FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY heard back the Montreal consulate and it appears I do not have to make the flight to Montreal for my Au pair visa and can mail my documents! Literally made this Monday morning SO much better. On top of it all, received news that I got an extra $250 bursary! Obviously it’s going into my Europe fund as soon as I get it. All in all, this has been a great start to the week! Convocation is coming up on Saturday, but i could really care less about the whole graduating factor. I feel as if I have been graduated for the past couple of months anyways, but i can say the partying afterwards should be a blast! 

Made a batch of Strawberry Vanilla Protein Pancakes last night for supper. I have a major sweet tooth so I listen to my cravings but still make sure i’m getting all of the nutrients I should be. I mean I’ve got shredded zucchini in there so that counts as veggies right? haha

Next thing on my list for France is to buy a suitcase or maybe even a couple of them. I’m thinking I will need at least a 28 inch rolling bag to fit all of my stuff for a years worth of living and then maybe a new carry on bag as well. Since I’m not sp[=ending $600 to fly for my appointment anymore I feel I can splurge on a few things that I want. 

Vanilla Protein Zancakes 

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 scoop vanilla AboutTime protein powder

2 egg whites

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup shredded zucchini

1/2 mashed banana

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. I used a blender to make sure that everything was actually mixed and then I poured the mixture onto a preheated oiled pan. I like to make mini pancakes because miniature anything tastes better right? 

2. Topped my stack with frosting (Greek yogurt mixed with almond milk) and sliced strawberries! 

Enjoy 🙂 

 

 

20140609-184636-67596628.jpg

Packing Meltdown

I’m currently sitting here at work and the thought of How am I going to Pack my whole wardrobe for a year into a small suitcase! I’m actually starting to panic a bit.. I will be in Europe for all 4 seasons meaning I will need literally everything.. Boots, jackets, shorts, tanks, sandals, mittens, hats, ahhh… 

I have so many clothes here that i want to take with me, there’s no way that I am every going to be able to choose.. and on top of it all, I am planning on going shopping after work meaning I will more than likely purchase more clothes.. I have been doing some research on what to pack when traveling to Europe, and Paris in general but really I am getting no wears. I am a girl from the country. I enjoy my lulu pants and my Birkenstocks.. how will I ever fit in with the Parisians style haha..

I can’t imagine dressing up every single day when my go to everyday look is a pair of jeans and my lululemon hoodie.

My everyday jacket I wear is a bright green north face jacket which looks to be considered unacceptable in Paris, as they all wear trench coats and blazers.. I don’t want to look like a total tourist the whole time I’m there. 

Does anyone have any suggestions on packing tips? 

 

Flatout Wraps Review!

I am in love with this wraps, not only for their nutritional value but they taste pretty darn amazing as well. I typically eat one a day but the recipes I make are endless because they are so versatile! I’ve created wraps, pita chips, pizzas, you name it! I am the only one in my household who eats them, therefore I have to freeze them but they always are perfectly fine once defrosted. I’ve never had any issue with them breaking apart like the other brands of wraps that I have tried which is another plus factor!

The prices range from $3.50-$4.50 in my hometown which isn’t ridiculous but for the same price you can pick up a pack of 10 dempster whole wheat wraps as well. I would chose Flatout any day over the Dempster wraps primarily for their flavor but also, they are “healthier” for my nutritional needs, especially the wraps made with flax! Sadly The only store in my town that carries them have a very limited selection only selling the basic varieties but what I have been able to try have been great!

Also I can’t forget the protein content! 9 grams in one wrap?! I’m always trying to squeeze in as much protein as I cant throughout the day so this was a selling point as well.

Here are some recipes that I have made with these lovely products!

42bbc4dcb48f11e3a1be12f64204a83e_8 c6ddb118af0c11e3b9b10e34393e4454_8 9f3342feb29a11e39360121b58d21eeb_8 10245930_550960901689088_1718898977_n 10296906_233102463557151_1385629516_n 1742667_1418546128388536_2093852585_n10349720_882220041794662_162472012_n 10362344_1388597514714240_744038536_n 927345_792714100741051_891188173_n

Progress & Protein Zucchini Waffles

So my host family got my documents that I sent over, meaning they can finally be processed through the DIRECCTE in France. Only issue is that I haven’t paid my deposit for my french lessons. Thankfully my host family is super generous and offered to pay for them and then I can pay him back when I get there to speed up the process. I have chosen to go through France-Langue at their Victor Hugo location because it is located in an area where there will be a lot to do. 

One thing I can honestly say through this process is the France-consult in Montreal sucks. They do not have a phone number to call nor do they answer e=mails. I have emailed both the Vancouver and Toronto consults even though they can’t help me get my visa and have received two different responses back… UGH someone please tell me if I can just mail my documents to them or if I need to book an appointment?! I’m so confused. I also don’t want to book and appt. in Montreal and have to fly there from NS if I don’t have to do so. This visa process is so much work.. I wish it was easier to leave the country.. 

Anyways, to make this stressful day better I made a new recipe for vanilla protein waffles and they were defiantly satisfying! I tend to just make up the recipes as I go along so this is what I came up with this time. 

Protein Zaffles 

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp vanillla protein powder

1/3 cup shredded zucchini

1 egg 

2 tbsp almond/cow milk

2 tbsp applesauce

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat waffle maker. and GREASE! If you do not use oil, they will be crappy and fall apart, simple as that. 

2. Mix all ingredients together then pour onto waffle grill. 

3. Be patient and let cook fully. 

4. Top with whatever you’d like! I used bananas, strawberries and whip cream 😀

20140602-205010-75010656.jpg

20140602-205012-75012223.jpg

20140602-205013-75013756.jpg