When I tell people that I will be traveling for a long time, the first questions I get is “where do you get the money?” I understand that money is the biggest thing that stops a lot of people from traveling – because well, it was for me too!
I was always worried that I wouldn’t have enough money and that I needed to have a secure job so I can save up and live a comfortable life – would I have been happy? I don’t know because I decided that the whole ‘worrying about money’ and letting it get in the way of what I want to do was silly.
So when I decided that I wanted to travel, and where I wanted to travel, I started saving and budgeting.
I decided, after talking to a lot of experienced travelers and other travel blogs, I decided to save up $15,000 to last me 6 months. It will be tough, especially in Europe, but I will also be budgeting so I think it’s more than doable!
So how did I save up money with less than a year to save up for? Unfortunately I didn’t live with the parents or had a high paying baller job but I made it happen.
1) SAVINGS! The number one rule for saving is simple – create a savings account. I know some young professionals that don’t think it’s a big deal to have a savings account. Well, think again. I thought to myself ‘well, if I wanted to travel, I need to save $xxx per week/month.’ So as soon as my pay check came in, I subtracted that amount of money and put it straight into my savings. That way I know how much I have to use.
2) Give yourself an allowance! Since my paycheck came in once a week, I gave myself a weekly allowance. If I wanted to do more, like go visit NY for the weekend, then I made sure that the week before, I spend a little less. There are times when you would be tempted to transfer money from your savings account and treat yourself. Do that once in a while – but only if you know you can meet your goal. I did a few times over the holidays but now I’m back on a strict allowance!
3) Try to eat in more often. This is SO hard for me because I love eating and what I love more than eating is spending time with friends, chatting over a meal or a drink. So it’s very difficult for me to not go out at least 2 times a week. If you do go out and eat though, try to go to places where it’s not too fancy. With great company, where you go doesn’t matter too much. Also, if you want to have a nice dinner/convo or a movie night with your friends, have one at home instead! I’ve had a few wine nights at home and it was even lovelier than waking up to an overdraft checking account (those hurt)!
4) Examine where you are wasting money. If you realized that you are paying too much for a phone plan that you don’t need or if you have a habit of buying expensive Starbucks coffee every day, examine where your money is going and cut down on those things! Change your phone plan, don’t buy expensive coffee, and brew your own!
5) Freebies! I love freebies. I was VERY lucky that my job provided free snacks, drinks and lunch. Super lucky. I didn’t have to worry about bringing lunch from home or having to afford it. It was only provided 3 times a week so the other 2 days of the week I did bring food from home or eat out occasionally but there are a lot of leftovers lying around in the office. Once a college student, always a college student… or not, but take advantage of the freebies!
6) Take advantage of Groupon/Livingsocial/Gilt but with caution! I love discount sites. I think I’ve signed up for every discount sites out there. I wake up to like 20 of them every morning. The best thing is, I LOVE fitness classes and I get to try different classes at such discount prices. I like trying different things so this is perfect. Also, cuisine wise, it’s great too! However, it’s easy to get swamped and purchase everything you want because it’s so cheap. Remember, it adds up. So think REALLY carefully before clicking purchase. When you are buying classes, check the schedule on their website to see if there are classes you want at the right time or if the distance is something you’d commit to, etc. Don’t abuse it and use it wisely!
7) Extra cash here and there! Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you can’t do a little side gig here and there. Have skills outside work such as photography or web design skills? Freelancing is perfect for you! Love kids? Then babysit when you are free. Love animals! Petsitting or dog walking is fun and brings in a bit of cash. There are so many different things you can do to earn a little more and have a bit of fun. I personally love working at cafes or bars – I think they are fun. I also love to take on few freelance projects which I can do on my own time/schedule.
8) Shopping is waste of money, time and space. When travel is still a while away, it might not feel realistic. That means, you’d want to buy new clothes and things to decorate your house, etc. There have been so many times where I was tempted to buy a new dresser, new desk, a new mattress, etc. but these would be all useless when I start traveling. Next time you buy something, think about all the things you have to get rid of. Especially if you are leaving somewhere for good, all the books, dresses, high heels and bags you bought will be useless!
Do you have any tips to save up for your travels? Any on here that you keep failing to do?