Whenever I tell people about my plans to travel or where I have been they almost immediately ask “How can you afford that?”
I love my job but I certainly don’t have extra money coming out my ears. I haven’t completely mastered saving money but I definitely have a few tricks.
1. Make travel a priority.
Just like some people have a shopping budget or set aside money for specific bills, I save a little money every month to ensure that I can do the traveling that I want to.
I don’t make a huge salary but I am very careful with how I spend my money and I make sure that every month I save part of my paycheck specifically for travel. This might seem hard to do but when you save money in so many other ways it allows you to put money toward things that really matter to you.
2. Minimize your student debt.
I know this is something that not everyone is in a position to do, but going to a relatively cheap college, having a small scholarship, and parents that were willing to help really has opened doors that I am thankful for.
3. Minimize transportation costs.
I have an old clunker of a car… but he thinks he can. My lights break all the time, so I have learned to fix them myself. I drive a 2000 Ford Focus that has almost 150,000 miles on it, half of which I drove.
The average person spends around $300 a month on car payments – and that adds up to $3,600 a year. I drive an old car that is on its last leg intentionally. I don’t need anything nice and I would rather save my money for other things.
4. Make your own coffee every day.
If you bought a latte every day for a year, you would spend $1,460. Even if you just bought black coffee every day you would spend roughly $730. I buy about one bag of coffee every month and a half. So I spend about $256 a year on coffee, which is significantly less than buying it out.
5. Cook at home.
The same rules that apply to coffee apply to cooking. The more you make your own food and eat out less the more you will save.
Let’s say that you ate out four nights a week and spent $12 on each meal. You can make dishes for as little as $2 a meal but most meals you can make for about $5. If you simply cut back to only eating out twice a week and spending no more than $5 on your meals you will save over $700 from eating out two times less a week.
6. Spend less on designer clothing and accessories.
I have a nondescript wallet.
In fact isn’t even a real wallet. I used to have a very nice Coach wallet and then it broke. I needed something to put all my cards into and decided to put them into a little change bag a friend brought back from Peru for me. What first seemed like a temporary fix turned into the most reliable wallet I have ever had. You can throw it in the wash, fit a lipstick in it, and if you accidentally leave it in the street… it will still be there in the morning (true story) because it doesn’t look like there is anything valuable in it.
We get so caught up in brands and having the latest accessary that we throw money down the drain on things that we already have. According to a recent survey girls spend anywhere from $150 to $400 a month on clothes and accessories. This means $1,800 to $4,800 a year. Moral of the story is, the more you invest in material objects the less money you will have for traveling.
7. Rarely (or never) buy drinks at the bar.
I either drink before I get to the bar or I just don’t drink at all. (And of course, I never drink and drive… that would cost me in more ways than one!)
8. Skip on the professional haircut.
I haven’t had my hair cut professionally in over a year. Hair cuts are so darn expensive! Most people pay $40 for a haircut, every other month. That’s $240 a year on something that just seems silly.
I am sure that there are many other tricks that YOU might have to save money. Let me know what some of them are! But between my 8 tricks you could save $6,800 a year.
I don’t know what you’d do with an extra $6,800 a year but personally, I’m going to plan my next trip!