“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
Let’s face it, if money were not an issue, the majority of us would be hopping around from country to country every single month, living that nomadic lifestyle. I know that if I could do it, I would. For most, this is just not a practical option as of course we all have financial responsibilities at home. Most of us think that there is just no money leftover each month to put aside, but if you look closer there usually are ways to make it work. I’ve received a lot of requests to create a post highlighting different ways to save money for travel, so here it is! I know that everyone’s financial situation is different, but hopefully some of these tips can help you.
First, a little background on me. At the beginning of this year, I made a promise to myself that this would be one of my biggest years for travel. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of fulfilling that promise and it’s only because I had been saving up for quite some time. In no way, shape or form am I rolling around in cash. I have financial struggles just like most people do. One thing my father constantly instilled in me back in college was the
importance of saving money. I mean, he literally DRILLED this into my brain. I would get my paycheck and be so quick to spend it without putting any money aside and there he was telling me, “Trust me. Put aside a small amount every day and watch how quickly it grows.” That advice really stuck with me when I got my first real job after graduating and from that point on, I started building up my savings account little by little. My situation is a bit
different today as I don’t receive the same amount of money each time I get paid. Some months are higher than others. Some months can be a bit more of a struggle. What I do though every time is direct deposit into my savings account and put what I need to pay my bills into my checking along with a little extra. For me, doing it this way has helped with two major things. One: Not having all of that money in my checking makes me more
cautious of my spending. I use the mentality that this is all I have for the month and
completely ignore what I have in my savings. And Two: The money in my savings account
accrues interest. Yes, it is small amounts, but money does not accrue any interest while in my checking.
Figure Out Your Finances
Before anything, you have to figure out your monthly finances. Write down a list of all of your bills/expenses as well as your additional spending (dinner, drinks, shopping, etc.) This is where you can see how much additional money you are spending every month and where it’s actually going. If you are someone who is constantly swiping your debit card, you
sometimes don’t even realize what you are spending money on. We don’t always pay mind to the little expenses, but trust me, they add up every single month. I am not sure if this
happens for every bank, but for mine whenever I use my debit card and enter my pin number at certain places, like convenience stores, it charges me an additional dollar. A dollar might not seem like a lot, but if you are constantly using your debit at these places, that adds up! I learned this the hard way because it doesn’t tell you at the time of purchase that there’s an additional dollar being taken out. You can easily save yourself $20+ a month by always using your card as credit or simply using cash only.
Savings Account/Travel Account
I have some friends who don’t have a savings account and I always yell at them. I think that’s my father working through me. Every bank is different, but you don’t need much to open one up. Take the time to research and find the right bank. I swear, having a separate savings makes a world of a difference, especially with your mentality when it comes to spending. I actually look forward to putting money into my savings account each month and do my absolute best to not touch it unless I need it for an emergency. I try to pretend that it’s not there. Another thing you can do is to create a separate account strictly for your travels. I know some people who swear by this. Every week they put a specific amount into their travel account and they do not touch it. This definitely builds up over time and might give you a few extra hundred dollars or even thousands, depending on your financial
Cut Back On Additional Expenses
When I have some travels coming up, I cut back on A LOT. I’m a coffee addict so you can only imagine how much I can sometimes spend at Starbucks or coffee shops each month. A tall latte at Starbucks is $4 and change. If you are getting one every day before work or on your lunch break, that’s $25 a week and $100 a month! Even if you aren’t getting one every day, that still adds up every month. Just buy a bag and make your own coffee at home. Same thing goes for weekend dinners and drinks with friends. I don’t have much of a social life anymore. Don’t get me wrong I do go out with friends, but nowhere near as much as I used to when I was younger. A glass of wine in NYC can easily be $15. A dinner split with friends can be $40 or more. There’s really no need for it constantly, so just be more mindful of where you go and how often. Cutting back on these social expenses will leave a ton of extra cash in your account every month.
Monthly Goal/Budget Yourself
After you figure out your monthly finances and decide which things you can cut back on, you can then set a weekly/monthly goal and budget yourself accordingly. As an example, let’s say after reviewing everything, you realize that you spend an additional $500 each month on social expenses, shopping, etc. You decide to budget yourself and allow only $200 for those expenses instead. That’s $300 each month that you can save just by being more
cautious with your spending. Of course these numbers are going to be different for
everyone, but I just want you to see where I am going with this. I stopped going to Whole Foods every week and now instead I go to the market. I eat more at home instead of out all the time. What’s more important to you, that designer handbag you’ll probably grow tired of by next year or crossing a new country off your bucket list? Saving money means a little bit of sacrifice and a change in lifestyle, but if you are willing to do it then it’s possible. Months can totally vary too depending on what you have going on [a wedding, birthday party, etc.] so when factoring those things in see where else you can save that month to balance it out.
Save Your Change
You know all that loose change you have scattered everywhere? Put it in a jar! I know that this is such an old school way of saving, but it’s effective. Every year without fail, my father would save up all of his change and put it into a jar. By the summer, he would cash it at the bank and give the money to my sister and I to split. I remember there always being more than $100. After he cashed it in, he would start saving up again. I continued this
tradition and actually have a jar of coins I have been saving this year. Now I am not suggesting that this be the only way you save money obviously, but think of it as an extra added bonus. If by doing this you’ve accumulated $100 or more, that right there can take care of multiple meals during your next trip or several taxis/ubers.
Selling Items From Your Closet
With apps like Poshmark, you can easily sell items from your closet that you no longer want or use. You’d be surprised how much extra money you can make by doing this. I’ve been on the app since it launched in 2012 and have been selling items steadily since then. I try to clean out my closet frequently and always make a pile for donating and a pile for selling. When I know that I am trying to save more money for a trip, I make sure to list more items to give myself a better chance to sell. Making an extra $50 here and $100 there is more money that you can save and set aside.
I hope that some of these tips filled with you with a little bit of inspo to start saving up! Let me know what you think and if you are already doing some of these things. Would love to hear some of your tips for saving too! 🙂