Traveling is the ultimate dream for many. However, that dream seems so far out of reach when the reality is that most people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. You do not need to be wealthy to travel the world; you just need to be smart about what you do with your money. Here are 20 practical ways to cut your expenses, save, and travel more:
1.Analyze where your money is going. Mint is a money manager app that tracks your spending habits and shows you EXACTLY where your money is going.
You’ll probably find that majority of your expenses are “wants” rather than “needs.” Once you’ve chocked down that hard-to-swallow-pill, slowly eliminate all the “wants” from your “needs” and allocate that money towards a travel fund.
2. Set up a Savings Account: Setting up a savings account is another step in the right direction. Many banks allow you to transfer an amount each month into your savings. Little by little, money accumulates. If you save as little as $2 a day, you will have saved $730 a year!
3. Cut Coupons: (At the risk of sounding like a crazy coupon lady), cutting coupons is a great way to save money! Sign up for loyalty cards at stores you frequent. Shop Groupon for discounted rates. Purchase the Entertainer Book for buy-1-get-1 free offers to restaurants, activities, attractions, spas and hotels across 40 destinations throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Clip those coupons!
4. Get rid of your cable bill: Cable is a unnecessary first-world expense. In today’s day and age, there is absolutely no reason to be spending $70 a month on cable when you can stream programs online for free! (Legally, of course). Cheatsheet offers some fool-proof ways to reduce your cable bill.
5. Cut your cell phone bill: Cell phone bills are expensive! The availability of free wi-fi virtually eliminates the need for internet in your cell phone. Remove excess add-ons on your plan. Switch carriers. For more ways to cut your cell phone bill, click here.
6. Downsize your car: Cars are a necessity. However, insurance, gas, and repairs all add up. Have a second car? Sell it. Drive a big gas-guzzler? Downsize. You can also save loads by carpooling to work or walking or bicycling to closer destinations.
7. Prepare your own food: Avoid ordering out and prepare your own food. Not only it is good for your wallet, it’s good for your waist too! For as little as $50 a week, you can cook healthy meals with unprocessed foods like beans and vegetables. Don’t forget to prep those lunches! Preparing your own lunches also adds up to HUGE savings.
8. Recycle clothing: Instead of buying a new shirt or pair of jeans, recycle the clothes you ALREADY have. Rummage through the back of your closet and take out what you haven’t pulled out in a while. If you’re REALLY in dire need, go thrift shopping.
9. Conserve energy! It’s eco friendly and will save you hundreds over the course of the year. Turn off the lights. Put on a jacket instead of turning on the heat. Replace your lightbulbs with compact bulbs. Every little bit adds up. For more energy-saving tips, click here.
10. Stop drinking out: Drinking out is expensive. A bottle of wine that would have cost you $10 is $10 a glass when you go out. That’s $30 dollars you could have saved!
11. Quit smoking: Smoking is bad for you. We all know this, BUT did you know you can save AT LEAST $2000 a year by quitting!? TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS!
12. Kick your caffeine habit: Yes, even a coffee a day adds up! If you have one $5 coffee each day, you’ll have spent a total of $1,825 per a YEAR. That’s A LOT of moolah! See how much your caffeine addition is really costing you by clicking here.
13. Skip going to the Movies: The thrill of the cinematic experience is an expense. Tickets cost at least $10 a person for a standard ticket. STANDARD TICKET, not even the cool 3-D experience! While we are on the subject, let’s not forget to add on the popcorn and soda for an additional $10. Twenty bucks to go to the movies for a one-and-half hour experience is a wee bit overpriced.
14. Take advantage of FREE entertainment: Cutting costs on entertainment doesn’t mean you are eliminating entertainment entirely. However, there are also ways to take advantage of FREE entertainment. Visit the local library. Don’t have a library? Check out a digital library of free ebooks on: Open Library, Gutenburg, Manybooks, Archive, or Feedbooks. Learn how to code using Codeacademy. Play sports. Brush up on a second (or third) language using Duolingo. Take FREE college courses online on Open Culture. Lifehacker also offers some brilliant ways to occupy your time.
15. Sign up for travel websites: There are many websites that offer specials, last-minute deals, and error fares. Some of these websites include: Airfarewatchdog, Airfarespot, and Secretflying. To avoid having your email spammed, you can also sign up for notifications on Facebook.
17. Skip the Spa/Salon: We all love feeling luxurious, but skipping the spa/salon can add up to hundreds of dollars saved for an even more luxurious vacation. Besides, many places you can travel to offer similar experiences at a discounted rate. Who wouldn’t want an authentic Thai massage..?
18. Cancel your gym membership: You can save at least $300 a year by cutting out this expense. You can still maintain a healthy lifestyle by going for a run outside, bicycling around your neighborhood, and hiking.
19. Reduce your interest: Credit cards are a necessary evil. Did you know you can actually negotiate a lower interest rate? The Simple Dollar offers some great tips on how you can talk down your interest rate.
20. Take up a second job: You don’t need to be committed to two full-time jobs; there are so many (unconventional) ways make extra cash. Be a pet sitter. Drive for Uber or Lyft. Rent your house out on airbnb. Tutor online. For more ways to make money on the side, click here.
(Tip: If you’re going to have a credit card, look into getting a travel credit card. There are several credit cards that you can use to earn points to travel. Make sure to get one with no foreign transaction fees!)
Let’s evaluate our savings: (Disclosure, this is a VERY ROUGH estimate of how much you can save depending upon your own individual spending habits. This is simply to give you an idea of how much you can save).
Saving account automatic transfer: $5 a day x 365/year = $1825/year
Cable bill: $70/mo x 12 = $840/year
Cell phone bill: $50/mo x 12 = $600/yr
Smoking: $2000/ year
Spa/salon treatments: $100 a month x 12 = $1200/year
Gym membership: $300/year
Movies: $15/per person a week x 52 = $780
Total Savings: $9370 per year
(not including additional savings on downsizing your car, conserving energy, and eating/drinking in, etc.).
Take away Message:
Commit. Perhaps this is the most important way to save is to commit. You must commit yourself to your goals to and make them a reality. Saving is a long-term commitment, which can be easily lost sight of in day-to-day life. Make a vision board with pictures of all the places you want to visit. Display it in a place that you are going to look at daily as a reminder of what your goals. In time, those dreams will become your reality.