How To Save Serious Money For Travel
Budgeting in general can be tough. There are your regular, non-negotiable expenses like food and shelter, plus your important add-ons, like retirement savings or paying off those college loans. And while it can feel like there is no wiggle room in your budget to save more, here are my tips on scrimping those pennies and hitting the road.
My favorite way for saving serious money is what I like to call the ATM budget and it is as simple as it sounds. While other people might be into using apps like Mint to track spending, I am old fashioned and believe in taking out my allocated amount of money per week and then using that for all of my expenses.
I used this trick when saving money to move to Lebanon, and found that it worked well when I had a very tight budget and was working towards a specific savings goal such as moving abroad.
And while forgoing credit cards means less frequent flyer miles, for me it was the only way that I could stick to a small budget. It made my spending very “real” in terms of what was in my wallet on Monday was all that I had to spend for the week. If I bought coffee every day, I might not be able to swing a Saturday night out.
Another plus is that if you have a big spending week, say a close friend’s birthday party and an after-work event, then you can add a hundred dollars onto that week and take $35 off the next three weeks. It is realistic in acknowledging that sometimes, you will have more expenses. And instead of looking the other way on your budget when it comes to those extras, this practice lets you tighten your belt the rest of the month to make-up for it.
For those of you who are already on a small budget and the idea of saving an extra is unfeasible, try accessing your costs and take out one splurge. Whether it is hitting up Forever 21 or getting a monthly manicure, take that money and put it towards your travel savings. It might take months of saving $30, but hey, at least you are going somewhere.
Work It, Baby
Picking up a part-time job can be a great way to ramp up your savings. Whether it be tutoring or helping people move, there is a marketable skill that you could put to use. Check out sites like Craigslist, Elance or even the classifieds in your local newspaper. Tell everyone in your network that you are looking for extra work and be sure to specify what your skills have, whether it be painting houses or babysitting.
Since you are working towards a goal like a vacation in Hawaii or an around the world trip, it will make the mindset of going to an extra job easier.
It also helps to do something different than your normal job. For example, if you work in the food industry, picking up a shift at a local restaurant might seem like a drag. But taking care of the neighbor’s dog? A walk in the park. Do something that is different and exciting for you, that way you have more motivation to continue.
Going Once, Going Twice
If you have a sizable amount saved already and just need to make up a bit extra, take a look at your closet, furniture and electronics collection. That old iPod from high school? Try selling it on Craigslist. The site is also good for posting any extra furniture that you have acquired through the years.
Fashionista? Check out any consignment stores in your area and see if they feature any clothing buying programs. If you have a good eye and treat your clothes well, you can walk away with decent money in your pocket. And while it can be embarrassing to bring bags of clothes to Beacon’s Closet only to sell one item for a total of $12 (been there, done that), that $12 is one day in Thailand or a meal in Paris.
Take the old-school approach and set up a stoop or yard sale. That can be great if you have a lot of home good items, a fantastic book collection or a lot of random stuff that you are looking to get rid of. Try using a good-selling website in conjunction with your yard sale to really make the most of your time. A few days before her yard sale, blogger Caitlin Boyle of Healthy Tipping Point posted photos of all her items over $15 on Craiglist and had buyers pick up the goods in person. After walking away with $300, she says her on her blog that, “Craigslist really helped me target the sale to the right buyers.”
If you don’t think you can save any more money, try to reassess your travel expenses. My five quick tips on downsizing your travel budget include:
- Avoid school holidays and instantly score cheaper airfare.
- Check out house-sharing sites like Airbnb or HomeAway to skip the hotels and save on lodging.
- If you are traveling for longer, try working while you travel with sites like WWOOF or Workaway.
- Be flexible with your destination city and use a site like Skyscanner to search for fire sales to certain destinations. Blogger Liz Carlson scored a $390 round trip ticket from Washington, D.C. to Turkey that way.
- Outdoorsy? Pack a tent and check out camping options.
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Budgeting in general can be tough. There are your regular, non-negotiable expenses like food and shelter, plus your important add-ons, like retirement savings or paying off those college loans. And while it can feel like there is no wiggle room in your budget to save more, here are my tips on scrimping those pennies and […]
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Budgeting in general can be tough. There are your regular, non-negotiable expenses like food and shelter, plus your important add-ons, like retirement savings or paying off those college loans. And while it can feel like there is no wiggle room in your budget to save more, here are my tips on scrimping those pennies and […]Read More >>