My first month of Couponing to London is officially in the books! January was a good month to get started with saving, and going to Europe now seems less like a dream and more like a reality!
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London: Coupons, Rebates, Passes, and Rewards
Originally, I thought I only ended up saving $179.15 from couponing and rebates this January. Although that’s a lot more than what I usually save, it was quite a bit less than my monthly goal of $400. But I also set some things in motion so I can get good deals down the line before I leave for Europe.
Those savings from this month allowed me to buy The London Pass! I’ll be using this for three of my days in London. For the one-time purchase of this pass, I’ll be able to visit as many fun and historic sites as I can fit in during those three days, free of admission! I’m excited to ride the hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus and cruise River Thames as well as see the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The View from The Shard, The Tower Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe, and SO MANY other attractions!
Even though I haven’t finalized dates for this trip, I decided to buy The London Pass now because prices increase in a few days! The London Pass is good for a full year from the date of purchase. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I have until March to make sure that I’m actually going to London.
The London Pass was also something that I couponed for! I was excited to find a promo code for 10% off a 3-day pass, but with an extra Swagbucks Search, I found a 15% off code! So I saved money buying The London Pass, and I’ll save even more when I use it!
I was trying to be content with my $179.15 savings when at the last minute, a $200 credit card bonus finally kicked in. I thought it would be another month or two until that reward would process, so that was a nice way to just about bring me to my January goal, totaling in at $379.15. I also recently opened another credit card that I’m putting all my travel expenses on, so I should get another bonus before I leave.
Besides The London Pass and credit card cash back, a lot of my rebates and coupons came from Swagbucks. I signed up for meal boxes from Gobble and HomeChef through Swagbucks, and the rebate turned out to be more than the money I spent. There was also a deal for Fabletics, which was great since I wanted some new athletic pants for my trip anyway (and it’s always great to get paid for something you want)! I also got some discount gift cards, and I’m doing my usual deal cycle for snacks and gas at Fred Meyer.
These coupon and rebate savings will go towards my flight there, hostel, food, and attractions I’ll be visiting before or after my three days of using The London Pass. I’d like to ride The London Eye, which isn’t currently part of the pass. I’d also like to spend a day in the Greenwich area and climb the O2. I may even take a day trip to Stonehenge and possibly somewhere else. (Stay tuned!)
In anticipation of London, travel was limited to almost nothing this month. I didn’t even have to visit the gas station! There was only one weekend helping at camp instead of the usual two per month, and my only real entertainment day was seeing Mary Poppins Returns for free. I did plan a low-cost day trip for February, so I won’t go as stir-crazy next month. But this January, I did spend a lot of free time walking. I explored my town while trying to get back my “backpacker body”. I’m also continuing my tradition of giving up sugar for 21 days near the start of the year, so between no sugar and lots of walking, I can tell I’m getting healthier.
Germany: Extra Work and Volunteering
I also took on several extra work hours and projects to earn extra income. I’ve decided to put only half of that toward my Germany travel expenses. The other half will go partly to the government (yay taxes), partly to charity, and the rest to save for other endeavors.
I also applied for what will probably be my biggest money-saver on this trip. I spent a week volunteering with Diverbo when I was in Spain, and I’m looking forward to doing it again, this time in Germany. I haven’t done much planning for Germany because the specific Diverbo session I get accepted into will determine if I spend additional time in Frankfurt or Munich. My preference would be Munich because that’s where the session starts that is held in the Black Forest. Can you imagine spending a week meeting people from all around the world while walking through the world-famous forest, eating delicious fine German cuisine, and staying at a resort for free? And they call that volunteering!
Although I haven’t finalized any dates yet, I think May might be a good part of the pre-summer season to travel. I have approximately another $800 worth of coupon and rebate savings that I’ve mapped out, so over the next three months, I’ll be looking for more ways to save at least another $800. Time to get creative!
Do you have any ideas for ways to save for travel? Share them in the comments!
11 thoughts on “January 2019 Update: Where I’m Going and What I’m Doing”
I use credit card rewards points to save on travel! Great useful tips!
Great! Do you use credit cards for airline miles or cash? (I’m choosing cash since it’s more fluid than airline miles.)
I second the credit card point – great way to turn everyday expenses into cash and points for travel
Great post. We’ve found getting gift cards off of gift card discount sites like card cash and gift card granny to be useful for saving money on hotels and flights
Hi Jessica, what an interesting post on how you saved money for your London trip. I also loved hearing about the volunteer programs that you are involved in. It sounds like they provide great opportunities to travel. My husband and I are retired and have been perpetually traveling Europe for about 7 years now. On an average pension from the States, it’s a very affordable way for us to live. I know you’re young and this lifestyle obviously wouldn’t work for you right now. I commend you for the ingenious way you’ve made traveling possible for yourself. If you ever get a chance to visit Eastern Europe, there are many countries that are very affordable. We’re in The Republic of Georgia right now. It’s very cheap, and there is so much to see and do. I enjoyed your post. Good luck in your travels.
Great post, Jessica! My way of traveling on a low budget is taking one day trip – I arrive at a new city, visit all the sites I’d planned, and take an evening train home 🙂 This way I don’t have to spend for hotels.
I used reward points, freelance work while I travel and also find ways to stay for free! I used Workaway to trade work for food/accomodation/cash or I did house sits to travel Europe for 8 months. With the little bit of freelance work I did as a writer ,editor and VA for a law firm, I ended up making money without working more than 10 hours a week 🙂