These 5 things aren’t earth shattering discoveries, they are simple things I do in my everyday life in order to save money. I have found that if I do a bunch of little things I save money automatically. I hope these can help you think of some ways you can make the same changes in your daily life.
Of course I have a huge advantage because I work for a major airline so I get my domestic flights free and my international flights at a huge discount. Trust me, I understand how wonderful that is.
But I haven’t always worked for an airline so I totally understand having to budget for flights. And while my flights aren’t something I have to worry about, I still have to pay for my apartment rental, my food, and any other expenses that are associated with travel.
1. I have an automatic savings plan
It’s really easy to save money when you pay yourself first. I have an amount automatically deducted everyday and put into an online account. I never see this money until I withdraw it to travel. I use ING but there are several online accounts that give you a decent interest rate. You will be so surprised at how fast this money accumulates and by doing this I quickly save money.
2. I cut down my cable bill
When I was traveling as a Tour Director, there were times I was in a hotel more than I was in my home. Whenever I knew I would be gone I started cutting off my internet and cable so that I didn’t have to pay for it while I wasn’t at home. In most cases you can put a hold on those services with no additional fees.
I soon learned that I could easily live without TV and I started cutting my cable off for the maximum amount of time allowed by the company which was 6 months. This saved me hundreds of dollars and I did that for years. It may not seem like much but think about how much you pay for cable. That could easily be your spending money on your vacation. In my house I have three TV’s (I know, I know, it’s ridiculous to have that many TV’s).
I have one TV with cable and I pay 40 dollars a month for that, I bought Roku for my bedroom and I am probably one of the few people that has a flat screen TV in my living room with bunny ears. I don’t need cable on every television and so far I am very happy with Roku and I don’t see going back to paying over $100 a month to watch TV.
3. I cook and make my coffee at home
I love to cook and I am a coffee fiend. I live by myself and I cook for myself everyday. In fact, I think my biggest monthly bill is my food. I buy food from farmer’s markets and for the most part I stay away from processed food. This takes a lot more time but it’s healthier and definitely cheaper.
I make my coffee everyday and when I go to work, I take my coffee with me. Almost everyday I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I carry snacks in my car. Granted, cooking is easier for me because I love to do it but if there is a vacation you want to take, isn’t it worth it to cook at home to save money?
If you eat your meals and/or buy your coffee out everyday or even several times a week, add up how much you are spending. Let’s break down just the coffee spending. If you buy coffee every morning and it costs you, let’s say, $3 and you do that 5 days a week, that’s $15. For a month that’s $60, or $720 a year. For $720 you can rent an apartment in a foreign city for a week, maybe two depending on where you are going.
4. I stay out of the malls
This one is easy for me because I hate shopping. Yes, you read correctly. I am not the girl that will spend a whole afternoon in a mall looking for clothes. When I need something at the mall I park right by the store, go in and get what I need, then come right back out.
If shopping is something you do often, I’m sure you could not shop for a few months, save that money and use it to travel. I haven’t seen your closet but I bet there are things in it you haven’t worn or things that you can mix and match in order to seem like you have a bigger wardrobe that you do. Think about all the things you can buy when you are in your new destination. Isn’t that worth passing up those sales in your local mall?
5. I don’t upgrade my car every 5 years
I have a Toyota Prius and have had it since 2002 and it has over 200,000 miles on it. It runs perfectly. It isn’t fancy or super fast but it gets me to where I need to be, it’s amazingly reliable (I can’t tell you how many times I have left my lights on all day and it still turns on when I get in my car), I get about 400 miles to a tank of gas which costs me $30 and the best part, it’s paid for. UPDATE: I now have a 2011 Honda Crosstour because my Prius literally died while I was driving it.
There are times when I want to go and buy my dream car but then I think, “Do I want to spend money on a car and not be able to travel as much as I want?” The answer is no, absolutely not. So I just drool every time I see my dream car pass me by and I take comfort in the fact that my Prius is paid for and because I haven’t gotten a new one, I can take the money I would spend on a car payment and use it to explore a different part of the world.
So there you have it, 5 easy ways that I save money in order to travel. These things may work for you or not, it’s really about prioritizing what is important to you and what you are willing to give up. Travel for me is essential to my well being and I can’t imagine my life as a single woman without travel. I hope my tips have helped you and I’d love to hear the things you do in order to afford your trips.