Lately, since I’ve been traveling, I’ve been getting a lot of remarks like “You’re so lucky!”, “You’re doing what most people only dream of.”, and my personal favorite, “I was wondering if you won the lottery.”
I am lucky in some ways, and grateful for all of my good fortune but I did not win the lottery. I worked very hard at saving money to make my dreams a reality. It took a lot of discipline and prioritizing. Here are some of my money saving tips to help you save money for travel.
When it comes to saving money for travel, always keep your eye on the prize.
I didn’t number this because it’s more like a golden rule. It’s not a task to do or an action that can be taken but a mindset to have. Consider the place or places you will be going. Why do you want to travel? Think about all things you’ll do when you’re there. What are you going to eat, drink, and experience? These are the things you will be spending your money on, it’s the reward.
Keeping your travel goals in mind will fuel your actions and help you to make money-smart choices and sometimes sacrifices in your everyday life.
1. Drink Water.
Skip the Soda, skip the coffee, skip the beer, order a water. Not only is it healthier, but it will save you a few bucks every single time you go out to eat or get fast food. It really adds up. I recently learned not every country is as fortunate as America to have the option of free water at restaurants. Take advantage!
2. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
Although great for the grocery store, this does not just apply to groceries! Make and keep a running list of all the things (clothing and accessories, home items, electronics, etc) that you want or need so that you’re never aimlessly or impulsively shopping. This is especially helpful at shopping malls where it is so easy to see, want and impulsively purchase things you don’t need.
3. Write down the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each item on your list.
This way you will know when you find the right item without any guesswork or doubt because it was a predetermined and budgeted purchase.
4. Don’t buy on impulse.
Leave it and think about it. Make yourself make the effort and most of the time you can’t be bothered to go back to the store for that item you weren’t looking for in the first place. If you decide you really want it and it will benefit you, go back and get it! Controlling your impulses is necessary if you want to save money for travel.
5. Eat at home and drink at home whenever possible.
I’m not telling you to become a hermit, but if you can dine in more and dine out less, it’s a huge money saver. When you go out with your friends, be conscious of what you are purchasing. Maybe try eating before you go out and only ordering a drink to save money. Try hosting a BYOB party instead of going to the bar.
6. Stick to the grocery basics.
When making your shopping list, see if you can skip the luxury items like fancy cheeses, meats, beverages and deserts. They’re not necessities. Think about all the fancy and exotic foods you will eat when you travel! Yumm.
7. Buy in bulk and plan your meals ahead of time.
This isn’t always feasible but when possible, it can work wonders on your budget.
8. Skip the ‘see me, buy me’ items.
Grocery store checkouts and kiosks lined with candy, gum magazines etc. can be very tempting. If they weren’t on the list don’t buy them!
9. Buy on-sale and BOGO items at the grocery store.
10. Search online (or the newspaper) for manufacturer coupons.
Often times, coupons are readily available for the brands and items you already buy. For example pgeveryday.com has lots of money saving coupons for popular brands. Or try this website, Inspiring Savings, for printable coupons.
11. Review your subscriptions regularly.
Do you have cable? Do you watch your cable? and could it be replaced with a cheaper alternative such as a Netflix subscription? Do you actually read the magazine you’re paying for? How much do the surprise products that come to your door in a box every month actually benefit you? Cutting out things you don’t actually need is going to be one of the only sure fire ways to get the things you want.
12. Avoid stores where you’ve been impulsive in the past.
For me it’s TJ Maxx, Marshals, Ross and Bealls outlet. If I’m in ‘save money for travel’ mode, I just keep on driving. Because I know I can’t resist buying something if I enter one of these magical bargain havens. Do other stuff for fun instead of shopping. Wander around a park, go to the beach or some other free outdoor activity.
All in all, just be conscious. Be conscious of how you spend your money. One way I do this is by not using cash and putting everything on my credit or debit card. This way I can go back and analyze literally every purchase I have made. Reviewing my purchases and realizing what I didn’t really need helps curb my future purchasing decisions. In America 95% of stores will accept plastic so it’s not a hard habit to adopt.
These 12 money saving habits are just brushing the surface of all the things I can tell you about how to save money for travel. I can’t wait to write more money-saving tips and tricks!