With social media being so big, we often see our favorite influencers jetsetting across the globe and more and more, we see Youtubers who backpack for months on end to various destinations around the globe. However, if you’re like me and 1) do not get paid to travel (at least not yet, dream big guys) or 2) don’t have endless amounts of cash (currently living on the oh-so common “student budget”), then I have a few tips for you to help you save money for traveling, or anything else for that matter. We shouldn’t let being a student, having student loans or not making a 6 figure salary stop you from traveling. Let’s go on this money saving journey together on our mission to see the world.
1. Stop eating out. No seriously, stop.
This isn’t a new one and I’m sure you’ve heard it before. I read Money Diaries from Refinery29 in which they document how much someone spends during an average week, and it’s insane how much people waste on food. This one diary I read the woman spent nearly $200 in ONE week. And yes, I call it a waste because although you may be enjoying the food, it is an expense that can and should be avoided. Even if you don’t have something specific you’re saving up for, you should get out of the habit of getting takeout/delivery/eating out.
I mean, think about it. If you’re eating out at a restaurant, you are paying for the food AND then you have to tip. Most of the time what you’re ordering you can cook yourself at home for a fraction of the price. Why order a salad for $10 when you can get $10 worth of ingredients that can make you a salad for three, four meals? And as an avid Dominos lover, it pains my soul every time I order and I see the $2.50+ delivery fee, on top of added tax and then knowing I’ll have to add more for tip. I end of spending nearly $10 for things that I’m NOT eating.
If you are serious about saving for travel (or anything else) eliminate or cut back your consumption of outside food. If you eat out for lunch everyday, cut back to twice a week, and then get to just once a week on Fridays as a treat. Then twice a month, and so on. As for me, I’m going to shoot for Dominos once a month. Eventually I’d like to get to once every other month or every 6 weeks. I have gone MONTHS without it and trust me, it’s always harder at first when you’re so
addicted used to it, but once the initial toughness fades away, you won’t miss it.
2. Get a Side Job/Hustle
You may have heard of this one as well. But my advice for this point is to get creative with what side jobs or hustles you get. It’s 2018 and there are more ways to make money. You can deliver groceries to people. Drive Uber on weekends or at night. Give tours in your city (if you live in a major city). Teach your native language online (I’ll make another post about this in the future). Create crafts to sell on Etsy. There are so many ways to make extra money. I’m sure I haven’t heard of them all. The challenge is to find what works for you and with your schedule. But of course any extra money is good. Just remember not to spend it all on eating out, OK?
3. Sell Your Things
This is especially useful if you want to start traveling. The less things you have to bring with you the better. Also, the less stuff you have to worry about back at home the better. Plus, if you are traveling a lot you probably won’t need a lot of your stuff. Will you really need your TV? Or printer? Or mini-fridge? That depends on what kind of travel you’ll be doing and for how long. But it’s likely that through careful examination you’ll realize you don’t need your TV. And with clothes, you’ll realize the less the better and you won’t be as stressed thinking of what to pack for a trip if you don’t have a lot to choose from.
Clothing is the big thing here. Using apps like Poshmark, Mercari (or even sites like Craigslist) can help purge unwanted and unecessary clothing. It’s also extremely freeing to let go a bunch of things. It’s hard in the moment but after a sense of clarity comes over. Hippie-ish, I know. Also, if there are things you can’t sell, you can always donate them. Please do not throw away perfectly good clothing. There are so many people in need who would love them.
4. Adopt the Cash Envelope System
If you have searched anything related to budgeting and saving money, you probably have heard of the cash envelope system. To give a quick run-down of this budgeting system, you basically only use cash for in-store purchases and you allocate a budget to certain categories. For instance, you’ll have a “grocery” envelope and the budgt you set for the month (or bi-weekly) will go into that envelope. You’ll also have one for let’s say gas, beauty products, etc. The good thing about this system is that you have a visual reminder of how you are doing with your budget. If you see you are running low in one category, that will be a friendly reminder to make better choices in the store.
The tricky thing with this system is that it can take a lot of discipline for some people. You can only use the money in each envelope for what you assigned to it. So even if you used less gas money than you estimated, you can not put the “extra” money towards groceries because you really want those donuts or pizza. So no reaching into other envelopes when you need more money for another category. Even if you tell yourself you’ll “put it back.” But if you think you can handle this, this can be a great saving technique.
5. Implement No Spend Weekends
This I particularly like. For some this will be hard because after work or school the entire week, many look forward to the weekend to “enjoy” themselves. Firstly, we shouldn’t be waiting until the weekend to enjoy ourselves. But, that’s a post for another day. Secondly, we need to get rid of the idea that we have to spend money in order to have fun. We have so many free things to do at our fingertips. We can go for walks/runs outside, we can have a chill day inside watching TV shows and movies, we can read, etc. Going to parties/bars or going out to eat isn’t the only way to let loose on weekends.
I’ll admit that I am more of a home-body. So staying in for a weekend isn’t too much of a challenge. But I guarentee that you can have a great time for free, in the comfort of your own (or a friend’s) home. Re-organize your things. Write. Read. Spend time doing a hobby you may have neglected recently. Also, if you are someone who doesn’t need to take public transportation to school or work, I would challenge you to have a no spend WEEK. I have done this in college before: walking to class, I would not buy anything for lunch or order out. For those who live on-campus, you can definitely try this. I challenge you!
Those are my tips!
Any other tips you would like to share? Comment below.