Write Down your Why
This isn’t a physical way to save money, but it’s what will keep you motivated throughout your journey.
Write down why you want to travel. Why is it important to you? What do you want to accomplish?
It’s important to write it down and not just say it. Here’s why.
When you have your reasons in writing, you can revisit them when it gets tough – and it will. You won’t always feel like sacrificing or saving, but the gentle reminder of what you’re going to accomplish when you have enough money can easily keep you going.
Look at your Expenses
You can’t budget or say you’re going to save money unless you know how much you spend. Most people don’t realize exactly how much money they spend (aka waste) each month.
I suggest you pull your bank statements from the last 12 months, so you have a good idea of your actual spending. Categorize your expenses how you wish and see how much you spend and where.
This is also a good time to see where you can cut back. When you see the actual numbers, it may surprise you to see how much you spend, making it easier to cut back in certain areas.
Create a Budget
To create a budget, you must know how much money you bring in and how much goes out. If you’ve already categorized your expenses, you’re on the right track.
Your budget should account for all expenses but include line items for saving. If you have a specific travel goal in mind, you may know how much it will cost and how long before you plan to take the trip. Determine how much money you must save monthly to reach that goal and make it an ‘expense’ in your budget.
Get Creative in Cutting Corners
Don’t think of it as a sacrifice, but instead, getting creative so you can save money to travel. Sure, cutting out trips to Starbucks, long strolls down the Target aisles, and eating out may feel like a sacrifice, but there are ways to make it feel more tolerable.
Here are some simple examples:
- Bring lunch to work – Eating out every day for lunch adds up. If you spend $10 a day on lunch, that’s $50 a week and $200 a month or $2,400 a year! You can do a lot of traveling with that money. Instead, make extra dinner and bring leftovers or make yourself an ‘adult lunchable’ and have fun with your lunch without eating out.
- Work out at home – Skip the gym membership and work out at home. You’ll save money on the gym membership AND clothing. You can wear whatever you want at home, even if it doesn’t match. You’ll still get your exercise in but will also be able to save money for your trip.
- Make your own coffee drinks – If you love the fancy Starbucks drinks, head over to Pinterest and find out how to make your own. It will cost you a mere fraction of what Starbucks charges and you’ll still get your ‘fix.’
- Bike or walk to work – If you live close to the office, consider biking or walking on nice days. You’ll save money on gas and the wear and tear on your car, leaving more money to save for your travels.
Start a Side Gig
Don’t be afraid to add to your income while you’re saving to travel. Drive for Uber/Lyft, shop for Instacart, or start a side gig online. Earmark all the money you make on your side gig for your travels, and you may reach your goal even faster.
Choose a Way to Track your Spending
You can create the most beautiful and effective plan, but if you don’t follow through, you won’t be any closer to your travel goals than before you had a plan.
To make sure you’re following through, choose a way to track your spending. Whether you love pen and paper or you’re a ‘techy’ there are apps, spreadsheets, and good old notebooks for you to use to track your spending.
Create a budget, keep it simple and track how you do. Cut yourself some grace if you spend more than planned and go back to the drawing board to see what you can do different so you can stay on track.
Saving Money While Traveling
It’s not enough to save money to travel, but you must also know how to budget your money while traveling, especially if you’ll be gone for a month or longer. Here are some simple ways to cut back on costs and stretch your dollar further.
- Look for deals online and locally – Do your research and find cheap accommodations for the first leg of your trip, but then look for local deals once you arrive.
- Stretch your dining dollar – Plan your meals so you eat a large breakfast and dinner, and don’t have to spend much money on food during the day.
- Use a reusable water bottle – Don’t waste money on buying bottled water. Invest in a good refillable water bottle and you’ll save a lot of money on your trip, not only on water but on food too. When you hydrate, you’re less likely to feel hungry.
- Use public transportation – Don’t waste money renting a car. Instead, take advantage of cheap public transportation to get to your destinations.
Saving money to travel isn’t as hard as it seems. It takes a little thinking outside the box and consistently, but with practice, you’ll get where you need to be. Do your research well ahead of time and know how much money you’ll need to travel.
Create an achievable budget and be willing to adjust as needed. With enough consistency and keeping your travel money separate from your spending money, you’ll achieve your travel goals.