If you’re like me, you sit and dream of far off places, exciting adventures and fascinating cultures. But with all the expenses in the modern world, affording the luxury of travel can be difficult
I’ve seen a few dozen lists on ways to save money for travel and you may have too, but I still like to read each one just in case there’s one more thing I could be doing that I didn’t think of before. Below are a few ways that worked for us.
- Consider your vices. From alcohol to coffee to shopping, we all have our guilty pleasures. This is the first place to trim expenses. I used to pick up lattes on my way to work or on lunch breaks, now I drink black coffee brewed at home. When I’m craving a latte, I think of life abroad put a that $5 in my travel savings account instead. If you’re a drinker (we are), try cutting bars out of the equation. Grab a six pack (or case) of beer and invite friends over.
- Manage monthly fees. I immediately think of our monthly fees as our internet bill and Netflix and we weren’t about to cut either of those. But there are A LOT of things we pay for on a monthly basis. Nate had a great idea to cut out our garbage pickup. With only the two of us living here we were only filling up one bag of garbage a week (we recycle and compost so that keeps it low). Now, Nate drives the garbage in to the dump when it’s full. It’s $7 per drop off. He takes it about every 3 weeks when we were paying $20 a month before.
- Pack a lunch. I am not a morning person. I hit snooze until the very last minute, then scramble to get ready for work. I am fortunate that I have a loving husband who packs my lunch for me. If you too are early hours challenged, you could pack a lunch the night before so it’s ready for you to grab and go. However you do it, it’s worth it. When we analyses our spending habits, eating out (and bars as mentioned before) were our biggest set backs.
- Carpool. Or use public transportation. Gasoline is a huge part of our budget. We live in Montana and we spend a lot of time driving the vast, beautiful land. If we can ride together on weekdays, it helps us save $30 a week. Well worth being stranded at work a few extra minutes, waiting for Nate to pick me up.
- Strategize credit card bonuses. Our one way tickets to Cambodia were $50 each because we took advantage of a united credit card that offers mileage points as a bonus. Sign up right before you need to make a big purchase like buying new tires or plane tickets to visit your in-laws because a lot of them require you spend a certain amount in the first 3 months to get the perks. Don’t go on a spending spree you wouldn’t have otherwise just to get a few miles.
- Unplug, Turn down the heat. We have propane to heat our home in the winters. Some years it is more expensive than others but it is well worth putting on a sweatshirt and lowering the thermostat to 60*. If I’m feeling like that’s too cold, I’ll at least turn it down to 60* before bed. Along the same lines, we unplug everything and keep the lights off when we’re not in a room. The light on your microwave is bumping up your electric bill even if only by a smidgen. Chances are you never look at that clock anyway.
- Tell yourself no. This goes back to the shopping vice. Before buying anything, consider how badly you really need it. If it’s too late and you’re experiencing buyer’s remors, try to return it.
I hope I helped you think of a few more ways that you can save money. Your adventure awaits.