THE BUDGET [ Part 3 / 3 ]
The past two posts have been geared toward saving and managing your money while on an extended trip. At this point, you are likely thinking “yeah, that’s great and all, but how do I save enough money to even take a trip?”
So many people want to travel, but feel like it’s unattainable. They just don’t think they could EVER save enough money. “Maybe one day,” they say.
I promise you, you can do it. It takes discipline, but it’s simple. After a few weeks, you’ll start to notice the amount of money you are saving, which will only motivate you to continue! Set your eyes on the prize…and don’t even think about looking away!
Here are some simple ways to save big [ no coupon cutting required…cuz ain’t nobody got time for that! ]:
- Get a roommate. Move in with a family member. Downsize to a smaller apartment. Do whatever is needed to pay less in rent.
- Cancel your cable, Spotify, Hulu, Netflix – cancel all of them. Instead, spend your time planning for your trip! Most TV shows are viewable online [ for free ] 24-hours later.
- Decrease your utility usage [ aka be conscious of how much water/electric you are using ]. For example, don’t run the water while you are brushing your teeth, take shorter showers, flip off the lights when you leave a room and put on a sweatshirt if you are cold.
- Drive AWAY from the drive thru. Unless your boss is treating you to Starbucks, don’t even think about it. Make coffee at home. Even better, wait until you get to work so you can drink the coffee in the break room. Also, no fast food for lunch! Pack your own meal.
- Limit your social activities. Now, this one is the most important. Don’t neglect your friendships and family. However, find ways to spend quality time without spending a large quantity of money. Consider brunch or lunch outings instead of dinner, as they are significantly more affordable. You’ll also notice a big difference in the bill if you order an appetizer and one glass of wine versus an entree and two cocktails at dinner.
- No more shopping. Those beautiful Steve Madden booties on sale at Nordstrom Rack? Back away. That $50 will come in handy when you are drinking a bottle of Chianti on the Italian Riviera. You also don’t need a new dress for a wedding. Instead, go “shopping” in a friend’s closet. You will be wearing something new [ to you at least ] without paying for it!
- Consider selling a significant portion of your wardrobe. Speaking from experience, when you return from your trip, the amount of clothes in your closet will stress you out. Too. Many. Options. My first month back from my three-month backpacking trip in Europe, I wore the same outfits I wore while abroad. Just looking in my closet gave me anxiety.
- Unsubscribe from emails related to shopping [ DSW, Macy’s, Banana Republic, Etsy, etc. ]. Don’t let their “deals” tempt you!
- Order necessities online through Amazon or a similar company. Without going into a physical store, you are more likely to stick to the necessities.
- Choose the generic brand for household products you aren’t brand-loyal to, like toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, dish soap, etc.
- Cut back on your skin and hair products. I realized that I didn’t need the $20 Aveda shampoo. Garnier Fruitis works just fine. The $8 makeup wipes? How about trying the $4 pack? Do you really need another OPI nail polish? No, no you don’t.
All of these little tweaks in your daily routine can make a significant impact on your savings. Think about your trip whenever you make any financial transaction. Stayed disciplined and keep your eyes on the prize…and in this case, the prize is a trip of a lifetime!
[ Here’s a hint ] Transfer a fixed amount of money into your savings account on the same day each month. At the end of the month, transfer what is left in your checking account to your trip’s savings account. Also, each time you make a difficult decision (in my case, stepping away from the beautiful Steve Madden booties), reward yourself by immediately transferring the money you would have spent into your savings account. It helps you feel better about your decision.