Friends and colleagues would always ask me how I afford to travel. They wonder where I’m getting all this money from when I make the same salary as they do. The truth is I’m far from rich, but I’m a hard worker and good at saving.
I wasn’t always though. No, no I used to waste my money on useless things then wonder where it all went. It wasn’t until I really started traveling that I realized the best way to spend my money was on experiences.
The saving mode kicked in after I bought a one-way flight to Prague on impulse, and for 8 months I worked hard and watched every penny. Of course there where slips and unexpected events which required me spending money (root canal yikes!), but I stayed the course and before I knew it I had tucked away over $14k in 8 months just for traveling!
Here is what I did to save . . .
Pay Yourself First
I paid myself every paycheck. Even if it was $100. Some paychecks I was able to put as much as $800 in my savings account, and other times it was much less.
Get A Side Gig
I got a side gig working promotions for alcohol companies. I worked weekends earning anywhere from $25-30/hour. Ask around your local community and see what sort of side gigs are available.
Automate Your Savings
I utilized money saving apps to store away small amounts at a time without noticing. Before I knew it I had a nice savings with little or no effort involved. To this day, these apps are my favorite.
READ MORE: Three Money Saving Apps You Need to be Using
Cook at Home
I cooked at home. If you think about your average check for a meal with drinks at a casual restaurant, it probably averages around $25. Do that three times a week and you have spent $300 or more eating out in one month. Woah! That is my grocery bill for the month and I get way more than three meals out of it. My advice:
Turn cooking at home into something fun. Play music, drink some wine, and learn to cook your favorite restaurant dishes. You are not only saving money, but having fun while doing so.
Find Cheaper Entertainment Alternatives
I traded in expensive cocktails for happy hours and game nights at home. Nothing kills the budget more than $14 handcrafted cocktails.
For me this was the most tempting, because I enjoy going out with my friends on the weekend. If I did go out to expensive bars, I drank slower aka “babysat my drink”. Once I started to see results of my savings, it was easier to cut back on social spending.
Keep it Natural
I stopped getting my hair colored. I love my bright blonde locks, but I love traveling more. Rather than taking out all the blonde, I had my hairdresser give me a biolage color so the roots matched my natural color. This ensured I could go months without a coloring, or even let it grow out back to its natural color.
Expense It If Possible
I expensed as much as I could on my taxes to get a larger return. Working promos as a freelancer meant I had to pay taxes on that income earned. Luckily, it also meant I could expense more such as: makeup, gym memberships, gas and cell phone expenses used during my promos.
Other deductions included sales tax and student loan payments. While everyone’s case is different, I encourage you to do a little research of your own.
There are a ton of things you can expense that people often forget or do not know about.
Think Before You Buy
I switched some of my expensive beauty products in for cheaper brands. By some I mean instead of buying a new $12 lip stick and $20 mascara from Sephora, I bought brands like Elf from Target. I must say, it works very well given its low cost.
My advice: add up the cost of all the skincare and beauty products you have in your bathroom. Think about how often you replace those items, and get a total cost per month, bi-monthly, etc. Then, Look for less expensive alternatives the next time you go to replace items.
Lastly, before I bought something foolish, I thought to myself, “how many hours would I need to work to make enough to buy this item?” Are those black Nikes for $120 worth 4 hours of work, or can I get the same exact shoe in blue for only 2 hours of work? The savings can be endless if you think like that.
Total Savings: $14,836
What are some ways you save for traveling? Share in the comments below!