our first six months on £30 a day - did we manage it?

budget: £30 GBP / $50 USD per day 

total budget: £5520 / $9200

total spent: £5376 / $8977

avg. daily spend : £29.2 / $48.6

all costs are for two people. 

days on budget: 12.5%

days under budget: 58.2%

   days over budget: 29.3%

We set out on this trip determined to spend, on average, no more than £30 a day between us. Regardless of country, lifestyle and drinking opportunities we wanted to prove to you, and ourselves, that living on a strict budget needn't mean you can't see the world. 

And guess what? We did it!

In the last six months we have travelled extensively in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador. Sure, our budget has meant certain things have had to be sacrificed - limiting the crazy nights out, missing out on a couple of expensive organised trips (we're looking at you, Belize) and taking mammoth interconnecting bus routes when occasionally we would have preferred to pile onto the shuttle buses with the rest of the gringos. But it's also been one hell of an enjoyable ride. 

We have learnt a lot about our needs - what we consider essential in our day-to-day lives (neither of us being terribly happy to realise that that often turns out to be beer!) and what we can live without out. Some things we treated as everyday items at home have evolved into complete luxuries, whilst it's also worked in reverse (mangoes, avocados and coconut water are now daily cheap purchases). 

Adjusting to hostel and budget friendly recipes has been a slow, and sometimes difficult process for a couple of self-professed foodies. There have been times when we would have killed for handmade pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and a bottle of olive oil, and now frequently find ourselves whispering in hushed tones dripping with desire exactly what we would do if left alone in a M&S for a couple of hours.

Below is a breakdown of exactly where that £5376 went, and in doing so has given us a few ideas on how we can better juggle our finances. Although we still intend to avoid the big-budget busting excursions, we will be making efforts to spend a little less at the bar and a little more on museum entries, bike rental and the odd cheap day-trip. 

Here's to the next six months!

Belize was a challenge but Guatemala was a dream. We mostly stuck to private doubles, but had our fair share of dorms if there was a significant enough saving. 

accommodation: 34.4%

£1,847.5 / $3,085


Covering ground mostly by chicken bus, with the odd boat journey thrown in. Local transport, apart from in Mexico, is very affordable and an experience all on its own. 

transport: 13.7%

£734 / $1,225

The easiest way to break your budget is when you have no option but to eat out. Thankfully, for the majority of the time, we were able to choose when to splurge as we had a kitchen in our hostel. 

eating out: 14.2%

£763 / $1.274

Ok, we admit it, we may have a slight problem here. But, come on, it's hot and the only way to quench it is with a few cervezas. At least we know if we need to tighten our belts where savings can be made. 

alcohol: 11.5%

£619 / $1,034

Strangely, we thought this would be more as it feels like we spend all our money here. We've perfected a handful of cheap, tasty and healthy hostel meals and, apart from Belize, fresh fruit and veg is everywhere and won't break the bank. 

groceries: 10.8%

£578 / $965

Again, we know where some savings can be made it they really need to be! But what would life be if you can't buy a pack of skittles or a bag of M&Ms every now and again? 

sweets & treats: 5.9%

£319 / $532

We don't want to be that smelly couple on the road, so we try to stock up whenever we're in a town with a cheap supermarket or hoard free mini-bars of soap.

toiletries: 2.5%

£134 / $224

Volcano treks, cycling, visiting Mayan ruins and cooking classes to name a few. We try to save money wherever possible by skipping tours and doing things on our own. Thankfully a lot of our favourite activities - wandering markets, lying on the beach and taking photos - don't cost a thing.

activities: 5.6%

£300 / $500

The costs of travelling between certain countries are unavoidable. Two visits to Mexico meant two exit fees but we did avoid paying a made-up charge in Guatemala through persistence. 

crossing borders: 1.5%

£81.5 / $136

need some more latin america budget inspiration or tips?