What’s the number one limiting factor in taking the trip of your dreams? Chances are, it’s either being able to take the time off or a lack of funds in your bank account.
Well, I can definitely help you solve one of those problems! There are so many simple tweaks you can make in your life today to save more and grow that travel fund at a more furious pace.
The first step is to take a step back and evaluate where your money is going. If you want to take that trip, you must commit to reaching your travel goals. Realize that you might need to cut back on some of your spending and/or make some lifestyle changes to attain that goal. Remember, every little bit counts!
I’ve done all of these things in the past, and it’s allowed me to travel to Europe with over $10,000 of spending money in hand. Follow these tips and watch your travel savings grow in no time!
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Simple Ways To Save Money For Your Travel Fund
Pack Your Lunch
If an average lunch meal costs $10, then you’re spending $50 every work week. By making your own lunches, you’ll save $200 per month. Why spend money eating out here when you could be saving that money to eat out in Italy, Greece, or Bali?
Shop For Groceries On Sale or In Season
Make this a habit and you’ll be surprised by how much you can cut down on your weekly grocery bill (some stores will tell you at the bottom of your receipt). Personally, 75% of all my groceries are “on sale”.
I don’t mean that Manager’s Special meat that’s turning grey and has a weird smell. I mean products that the store is running a promotion on. I’m always looking for promotional prices when I grocery shop. $5.99 for that box of cereal? No thanks, I think I’ll wait til they’re 2 for $5 next week.
Why would I pay full price when perhaps in a week, I know there could be a promotion on the item? It pains me to buy grocery items at full price. In fact, I typically choose what to meal prep based on what items are on sale that week.
I’m not telling you to scour the web or dig through newspapers for manufacturer’s coupons. A lot of stores today have shopping apps with e-coupons built in. Some examples include Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Target.
If you’re going to be shopping anyway, take that extra step to see if you can save any additional money. Apps like Ibotta are also useful to have for real cash back on groceries and other everyday stores. [Sign up with this link and get a $10 bonus to start!]
Sign Up For Cash Back Sites
Get rewarded cash back on things that you were already going to buy. I don’t do too much online shopping, but when I do, I always buy through Rakuten. Since signing up with them, I’ve saved over $1,000 by doing not very much at all. Simply click through their link and continue your purchase.
Each store will have a different cashback %, so keep an eye out for double cash back days and buy your items then!
Make Your Own Coffee
Obvious, I know. But I figure I’d mention it and include some numbers. It was said that workweek coffee habits equate to over $1,000 a year. Well, I’ve got news for you. Gone are the days when everyone obsesses over Starbucks’ $3 coffees. We’ve taken coffee (and its prices) to the next level. Coffee from artisanal coffee roasting shops can cost $5 or more.
We’re spending so much more on coffee on average these days! Don’t be a victim of this practice. Make your own coffee or take advantage of the free coffee at your workplace. A small daily win, but when you look at it from an annual perspective, it’s a mindblowing amount of money.
Pick Up More Work Hours
When you work more, you make more money and have less free time to go out spending that money! This is a double whammy of a win. Feeling overwhelmed by how much you’re working? Remember, this is only temporary and your sacrifice will be well worth it once you’re on the beach soaking life in.
Pick Up A Side Gig
Help out your network of friends/family and make some cash doing it. Maybe you know someone who is going to be out of town at some point. Do they need petsitting or housesitting services? Ask around; chances are, they’ll be open to it if they trust you to take care of the things they cherish (as opposed to a complete stranger through an app).
If you don’t have a network or if this is too awkward, look into the side gig services such as Trusted Housesitters, Wag, Postmates, Lyft, or TaskRabbit. You can also check job boards like Craigslist to see if there are any temp jobs available, such as catering events, being part of a wait staff, bartending, ushering, etc.
Cut Out The Subscription Services
Think Spotify, Hulu, Netflix, Audible, gym memberships, etc. Do you really need a paid Spotify account when the free one also works extremely well? Or maybe you can join a friend’s family plan instead. Ditch the monthly media subscriptions and get a library card instead—most libraries let you rent ebooks and audiobooks, as well as stream movies and TV shows.
Do you go to a boutique fitness studio that costs an arm and a leg? How about downgrading to a basic gym just for a short while, just until you save up enough money to fund your trip.
Cut Out The Monthly Beauty Appointments
Us girls (and guys) are guilty of spending a hefty amount of money on monthly maintenance or beauty appointments. Which means this is a great way to save a substantial amount of money. This includes the nail bar, salon, waxing studio, tanning bed, eyelash studio, massage parlor, etc.
If each of these services averages $45 and you cut out two per month, that’s already over $270 you’ve saved in 3 months alone. Such easy money! Paint your own nails, skip the haircut for a few months, blow-dry/style your own hair, go with your natural lashes for a few months.
Open A Travel Savings Account
Having a dedicated savings account will actually help you save more because it will help you visualize your goal. If your travel savings are mushed in there with your normal savings or your checking account, it can be hard to see how you’re tracking to your goal. I have a travel account and I love being able to watch it grow throughout the weeks.
Automate Your Savings
If you get paid biweekly, set up an automatic transfer of some funds (whatever you can afford) to be stowed away in that travel savings account. This is a good way to force yourself to save by taking away from your ability to spend on everyday things.
Try A “No Spend” Week
This is an awesome way to turn the money-saving chore into a game. This is where you try your hardest for a week to not spend a single dime on anything. Having said that, a no-spend period might actually include some spending on necessary items, such as gas or groceries.
The objective is to eliminate any extra spending during this time frame (clothes, eating out, coffee, movie tickets, etc). Personally, I find it easiest to save money during the workweek. I always pack my lunch and enjoy the coffee my work provides. Don’t think you’ll survive a no-spend week? Try a no-spend weekend or even a no-spend day. Every little bit counts, just start somewhere.
Sell Your Unwanted Goods
This is a great way to declutter your home while saving some serious cash. We all have way too much stuff lying around. Got that pair of boots you’re no longer into? That dress you only wore once at that wedding? That stupid bike that’s now sitting in your garage collecting spiderwebs? Sell it!
It’s highly likely that someone on this Earth will want it. You can check out online communities like Poshmark, Depop, Vinted, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace or buy-sell-trade shops such as Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Co. You might even have valuable stuff that they’ll want at pawn shops. Another option– hold a garage sale. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, believe it.
Sign Up For Cash Rewards
Swagbucks will reward members with free gift cards and cash for the everyday things they already do. They sometimes offer huge bonuses for completing one of their special offers (such as signing up for food subscription services that you can cancel later on– I’m guilty of doing this plenty of times). And to top it all off, the rewards don’t suck.
I always exchange my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards and have probably gotten about $300 worth of them. I’ll then use the Amazon gift cards to buy necessities instead of using my cash (cash that could be saved for travel!).
Borrow Items From Friends and Family
Need to go on a ski trip or camping trip but don’t have the appropriate gear? Need a new dress or suit for that formal party and have nothing to wear? Ask around to see if you can borrow these items instead of buying them or paying to rent them. This one is so obvious, but we tend to forget that we can rely on people to help us.
Buy Used Items
No, you really don’t need a brand new coffee table. You just need a coffee table. There are so many resources out there to buy used gear: Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Varage Sale, Decluttr. This doesn’t mean they’re old crusty items either. A lot of people are out there selling new or lightly used items simply because they’re doing what you’re doing– downsizing to make some extra cash! When people move, they’ll also tend to sell a lot of their nice things. When I’m looking to change up my wardrobe, I love shopping at thrift stores. I love paying under $5 for a Zara sweater or under $7 for a pair of Doc Martens.
I hope these tips have inspired you to take some steps toward saving for your trip. Once you begin to see your savings MULTIPLY, you can begin planning your epic adventure! If you’re looking for even more ways to save, check out my advanced saving tips here.