If travel is not a priority in your life, you will never make enough nor have enough time to travel.That’s the whole secret. Anticlimactic, right? Today, right now,if you make travel a priority and keep your eye on the prize you will be able to make certain trade offs without too much inconvenience.
Here are examples of cost cutting measures which of been successful for me. Lower your bills, save the difference.
- Got Cable? Hulu and Netflix combined run me around $25 for the month. If you already have internet, this could be the perfect way to save extra moolah. According to the Liechtman Research Group the cost of cable has seen a 39% increase since 2010 and the average bill hovers around $100. C’mon, how many channels does one person need? Be a cord-cutter and put that 75 smackaroos in the bank.
- Bar Hound? You know what makes a better story than going to your local watering hole and dropping a bunch of cash every weekend? Going to a great bar on a beach or the slopes elsewhere! Buy a bottle, have friends over, save the difference. If my husband and I go out for a few drinks, the bill is conservatively going to be $100, not including parking, tip, cab, tip for cab, etc. After all is said and done, it is around $200 for the evening. Making a pasta dinner, buying a bottle of wine or bourbon or insert your drink of choice here, not having a 2 AM cutoff and not having drunk men bump into you and spill sticky drinks on you all night…. seems reasonable, right? Let’s say on the high side, a bottle and great pasta costs $50 at home. This one, in my case, is a $150 saving.
- Use Coupons & Shop Sales- This one is a bit of a no-brainer but you can save some serious coin when you pinch pennies. The “Honey” plugin for Chrome will try different promo codes and Retail Me Not may have codes. Many online retailers have an “outlet” section on their websites or for electronics have refurbished area (fully warrantied, mind you) for a fraction of the price of full price items. When you’re out at the mall, apps like Shopular (free app!) send sales and coupons from your favorite stores right to your phone. Don’t forget about newspaper coupons and printable coupons too.
- Rebates- This goes along with coupons. Websites like Ebates will allow you to get rebates on items you’re purchasing anyway. They get an affiliate fee when you use their link. Ebates isn’t greedy, they split that money with you. You get a rebate on a purchase you were making anyway.
- Eat at Home/ Pack a Lunch– I am admittedly horrible about this. When my husband was younger he went out to eat frequently and he kept that trait into our marriage. We both have very hectic schedules and most days we are exhausted by the time dinner rolls around. Even for fast food, which I don’t eat, a meal for two people can be about $20. For a sit down dinner at a local restaurant you’re looking at $40, at least. Plus tip. Grocery shopping for the week using store loyalty programs such as Just4U (Safeway) will save you serious change. Most of the grocery stores will list that day’s savings, percentage of savings, and year to date savings. Move that amount to your travel fund when you get home.
- Shop Around- For things like auto, boat, homeowner’s, and renter’s insurance there are a plethora of providers. Shop around for the best rate. See if there are discounts for being members of certain groups AAA, AARP, etc.
- Keep the Change/ Credit Card Rewards– A Keep the Change Savings Account is through Bank of America. It rounds purchases to the next full dollar and moves those pennies to savings. This isn’t a tool I currently use but I am looking into it. Many credit cards have travel rewards which take a lengthy amount of time to equal a flight but cash is king so I go for the cashback rewards. Some cards offer as much as 3% on gas or groceries. Make sure that there is no annual fee and that the interest rate is low but the cash back option will allow you to choose how you’d like to use your cash back. Generally, they have an option to mail a check which you can then deposit in your travel savings account.
- Sell Your Crap- Declutter, condense, and sell what you don’t need. Clothes, books, small appliances… For almost anything you have there is an online site to sell it. If you live in a neighborhood or area that yard sales are permitted- have one! You’d be amazed what people will pay for your dust collectors.
- Rent a Room in Your Home– The average American house is much larger than it needs to be. If you’re an emptynester consider renting out an unused room to a quiet professional.
- Quit Smoking– This is perhaps the biggest point of contention in my household. My husband smokes and I do not. A pack a day habit, at $7 a pack is almost $200 per month, $2350 per year and $23,500 over 10 years! Your local health department may have a smoking cessation class for free. Give them a call and quit today. If you and your partner smoke a pack a day and quit, where could you go with that $50,000 over the next 10 years?
- Library- Instead of buying or renting CDs, DVDs, books, etc check them out from the library. Most libraries now have extensive collections. As long as you return them on time this is free!!
This list is not a complete list but it should give you some food for thought. I will soon be following this up with a travel budgeting post and a Part II to “You Too Can Afford Travel!”. As you can see, some of these little things can add up to be huge savings and equal numerous memories on your next trip.
Do you have any great savings ideas? How do you save money for a trip? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share in the comments or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for wandering with me!