Many people ask us how we make our travel dreams possible and assume we are either lucky or independently wealthy. Well, we are definitely not independently wealthy — and luck usually doesn’t play a big part in realizing your dreams. We both have had to work for everything we want in our lives. There is no free ride here, unfortunately! We have both just chosen to make travel a priority. And in order to make this happen, we have had to make sacrifices in other areas of our lives.
Luckily, we have both learned the art of saving vigorously. And let me tell you, it definitely is an art and not everyone is willing to do it. We live modest lives, free for the most part of gadgets, new clothes, and eating out often. These are all things that we both consider to be unnecessary.
If you find yourself wondering how others are able to save for travel and you are stuck at home living paycheck to paycheck, you may be able to benefit from a few of these money saving tips.
How to Save Money for Travel
1.) Create a Budget: First and foremost, create a spreadsheet in Excel — or another program — and start tracking every single purchase or payment. Do this for about a month or two to get an idea of where your money gets spent. This is a huge eye opener for some people and from here you can consciously decide how you need to change your spending habits.
2.) Selling Items: Go through your closet, garage, and boxes to find items you are no longer using. Then you can either have a garage sale or sell them online at Amazon, Ebay or Craigslist. Selling your unwanted things can boost your savings dramatically.
3.) Stop Buying: It sounds simple, but it takes a great deal of restraint; especially if you are accustomed to buying the newest gadgets or clothes. The next time you want to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. Most likely the answer is no. When you do need to buy items, try to buy them used, and when something breaks try fixing it first.
4.) Limit Entertainment: Invite friends over instead of going out, go to places on days they are offering free admission, and look for other free things to do for entertainment. There are definitely plenty of things to do that don’t cost much money.
5.) Get the Best Interest Rate: Do some research to find a good interest bearing savings account. Also, you should never have to pay monthly fees to have an account since many banks offer free checking and savings.
6.) Automatic Transfer to Savings: Once you figure out your budget and the realistic amount that you are able to save, have your bank automatically transfer that amount to your savings every month or every two weeks and do not touch it.
7.) Save on Utilities: If you have cable, get rid of it. This can be beneficial in a couple of ways. You won’t be subjected to guilt-inducing ads and you won’t have to pay the outrageous cable bill. One thing I cannot live without is internet and there are plenty of sites to watch movies and television shows online if you have the urge.
The library is also a great resource for renting DVDs for free. Obviously we are not going to cut out electricity, but here are a few ways to lower your bill. Dry your clothes outside in the summer, turn off all lights when you are not using them, do not use the heat dry cycle on your dishwasher or just wash dishes by hand, and install CFL light bulbs.
8.) Write a list when you go shopping and stick to it! Start eating healthier, unprocessed foods. They are cheaper and you will notice a benefit in your health too! Plan your meals around your grocery store’s sales and when you make meals, make enough for leftovers to bring to work for lunches.
We buy all of our bulk items on Amazon. They have the best prices and we don’t have to pay for a membership.
9.) Gifts: Give a gift of service or a home made gift instead of buying an item.
10.) Subscriptions and Memberships: Get rid of subscriptions to magazines and any memberships you can do without. Go for a run, walk, surf, or ride a bike instead of going to the gym. It’s much more fun too!