Scrolling through Instagram and all the gorgeous travel pictures, it’s easy to develop a bad case of FOMO. Fear of missing out on exotic adventures or simply FOMO of not being able to splurge on a long-deserved staycation. Regardless of destination, when considering the question, what keeps you from traveling? invariably one of if not the first response is … MONEY$!
Lack of money shouldn’t prevent you from taking that journey. With a little work, determination, and strategy, it’s possible to fund your vacation. A few simple steps will help you sock away enough money to make your dream trip a reality. Here are 12 ways to save money for travel.
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1. Identify What You Spend
Before you do anything, first, identify where you spend money today. Take a month to list every penny you spend. It’s work, but it’s eye-opening.
By identifying your monthly outlay down to the penny, you’ll see where you stand financially. You’ll also single out weak spots or stealthy expenditures that may be stealing your wealth.
Is your daily latté habit adding up?
Do you find yourself tossing extra goodies in the shopping cart on those trips to Target?
Or, if you’re like me, is it too easy clicking the purchase button on Amazon?
Whatever you discover about your monthly spending habits, once you know what they are, you’ll be able to move forward towards travel savings.
2. Cut unnecessary expenses
Now that you’ve tracked your spending habits, scrutinize where your dollars are going, and decide what expenses aren’t vital.
Are you eating out more than you thought you were?
Are you paying for a monthly service you don’t use anymore?
Do you have a gym membership but never go?
Really take a hard look and decide what’s important, what isn’t, and what can be cut.
3. Set a budget and stick to it
There’s no better method of saving than establishing a spending budget. By sticking to a budget, you’ll avoid pitfalls and achieve your savings goals. You’ll also gain a sense of control knowing precisely where your money is going.
4. Only use cash
Spending only cash is tough since the world’s gone plastic.
However, studies show there’s a visceral and painful emotion you feel when physically shelling out dollars thus, making it more difficult spending hard currency than using a credit card. (See Dave Ramsey if you don’t believe me)
This negative feeling is a deterrence to spending. Ultimately, by using only cash, you’ll keep more money in your pocket or piggy bank because it’s too agonizing parting with it. Besides, you won’t have to worry about paying a bill at the end of the month.
Save the oceans, eliminate plastic!
5. Use credit cards that offer rewards
I know, I just said use only cash.
Nonetheless, if you can’t bear parting with your plastic at least make sure it’s providing a benefit.
Airline or bank cards offering points or cash back rewards can mean huge savings on flights or help put money in the kitty. If you want to go for it and really ace travel hacking, check out sites like thepointsguy.com or boardingarea.com to learn the ins and outs of finding deals and maximizing your credit cards to your traveling advantage.
The only caveat is you MUST pay your cards off every month.
If you don’t, interest fees can end up negating any benefit or savings. Instead of saving money for travel, the card will become another expense working against your goal.
6. Clean House
Get busy cleaning out your garage, closets, and drawers.
You can literally turn unwanted clothes, household goods, and old stuff into cash.
7. Penny Jar
You may already have a jar or container where you dump your pocket change.
Well, take it a step further and undertake a 365-day penny jar challenge.
Each day put one penny in the jar for the number of days of the challenge. For example, on day 1 you put 1 penny. Day 10, 10 pennies. Day 50, 50 cents. You’re getting the idea, right?
The amounts are small and manageable. Even on the last day, you’ll only be putting $3.65 into the jar. However, by the end of one year, you should have $667.00! (I’m not a mathematician, so you may want to calculate for yourself)
Clipping coupons is a fantastic way to save money.
Keeping track of all those scraps of paper is a hassle.
Thank goodness today’s savvy shoppers can do our coupon clipping online. Websites such as Coupons.com, RetailMeNot, Ebates, Red Plum, and Slickdeals are just a few of the online resources for savings.
I’ve recently discovered Honey. Honey is a free app you add to your browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Edge.) Shop online and Honey goes to work scouring over 37,000 sites for deals. When you get to check out, if the app discovers a deal, Honey pops up with the coupon code to save you money.
9. Use Apps
Speaking of Apps, there are multiple apps you can enlist in your travel fundraising efforts. Apps like Digit, Ibotta or TrailWallet are perfect for helping travelers save money.
Digit “analyzes your spending and automatically saves the perfect amount every day, so you don’t have to think about it.” Ibotta is a cash-back system, and Trail Wallet tracks expenses while you’re traveling to help you stick to your budget.
The technology is pretty amazing and worth checking out.
10. Open a travel savings account
Sometimes the most challenging part of saving money is keeping our hands off it. Opening a dedicated account specifically for travel is the best way to assure funds are there when you’re ready to book that trip.
Have the money automatically drafted and placed into your travel savings account. Check with your bank to see if you can keep the travel account separate or invisible from your other online banking. That way, if you’re tempted to take money out for non-travel expenses, you’ll have to physically go to the bank to do so.
11. Rediscover the library
If you love reading, rediscover the library.
You may be shocked at how much you spend annually on books. Why not borrow books and keep that money for travel? You can even check-out travel books or research your destination in the peace an quiet of the library.
If you simply can’t deal with the library or prefer not having a deadline to return books, try an e-reader. E-books cost less than physical copies and are a portable alternative.
12. Join online communities
There are plenty of travel communities online. You’d be amazed at the number and variety of groups on Facebook alone dedicated to travel.
Join a group, connect with other travelers, and stay in the loop to learn about great travel deals and savings. Oh, and be sure to join the PullOverAndLetMeOut online community and let’s keep the conversation going!
By taking pro-active steps and squirreling away travel funds, that dream trip doesn’t have to be in the far-off future. You can make it a reality sooner rather than later. If you’re resolute and prioritize saving money for travel, you may be surprised how affordable travel becomes.
What money saving tips work for you? Let me know, I’m always looking for smart ways to fund travel!
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- Disclaimer, I’m not a financial expert just a girl who wants to travel more. These are tips, ideas, and suggestions that may help fund wanderlust.