[dropcap letter="M"]ore often than not, I always hear folks saying that they wish they could go here and there, and say they don’t have the money to travel. I get it. When it comes to budgeting and saving, it sometimes is easier said than done. It may feel like there is barely any wiggle room for saving, especially for travel. But, what if I told you that there is plenty of wiggle room to save?
I like to categorize things into two: Nonnegotiables and negotiables. Your nonnegotiables like food, rent, utilities; and, perhaps those college loans. Then there are the negotiable like dining out, drinks, gym costs, and so on. You'll quickly see that your negotiables will offer some insight on where and how to save.
Here are ways I saved for travel this year.
1. Instead of buying lunch, pack your brown bag
Remember those brown bagged lunches in grade school? Let’s throw it back and start packing a lunch to work. This will save you quite a lot.
2. Skip the morning coffee and brew at home
Say tootles to those $5.00 lattes because you’ll be saving about $1300 over the course of the year. Indeed brew your own coffee at home. It may also be smart of purchase a single serve coffee maker for optimal coffee savings.
3. Cancel your gym membership and work out at home or outside
Gasp! Yes, cancel your monthly membership, skip those costly spin and yoga classes, and hit the pavement. After successfully completing a 12 step program from SoulCycle, I realized that FREE workouts were everywhere. You can also take advantage of YouTube for FREE workouts. A few of my favorites are yoga and Pilates classes from various YouTubers, as well as, Tone It Up, Fitness Blender, and Kayla Itsines. Both offer free workouts each month.
4. Use only your bank’s ATM
Those pesky ATM fees add up when you're extracting money from those that aren’t associated with your bank. Generally, fees range between $2-$4. Although, it may not seem like much, those fees add up.
5. Use a money jar for loose change
Make a money jar and label it as your travel fund. Through in your loose change that you accumulate at the bottom of your purse and car. Because every single penny counts, over time you’ll be surprised how much loose change can indeed add up.
6. Invite friends over instead of going out for drinks or dinner
Dinner and drinks can quickly add up. A fun dinner night in San Francisco can start at $35 per person, and that isn’t including drinks, tips or tax. Now, double that if you're a couple, and you're leaving with a $100+ dinner tab at the end of the night.
7. If you must go out, take advantage of happy hour
I understand, you want to have a social life, too. Opt for going out at Happy Hour. Choose your location, because not all places have happy hour deals. Limit your happy hour outings to one evening per week and stick to those happy hour specials.
8. There’s a gold mine in your closet
Clean out your closet. There’s a gold mine in there. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. There are several pieces of clothing sitting in your closet that you probably haven’t worn in over a year. Guess what? Chances are you’ll never wear them again. Sell them to online consignment shops like ThreadUp or Twice. I once made $450 on ThredUp by cleaning out my closet and parting way with a lot of designer duds like Christian Dior and Burberry pants I hadn't worn in years.
9. Get rid of your cable and take advantage of online streaming
Getting rid of your cable will save you quite a lot. Take advantage of streaming videos from YouTube and other networks - as well as apps and websites for various TV Networks that offer full episodes for free. You can also subscribe to Netflix ($11.99) and Hulu ($7.99) for a small fee each month. Want to watch it on your TV? It might be worth while investing on a Streaming Media Player like Apple TV ($120) or Google Chromecast ($30).
10. Save on groceries by using coupons, savings cards, and smartphone apps
It wasn’t until I once watched an episode of extreme couponing that it dawned on me that free money is everywhere. Now, I'm not saying to spending every living, breathing moment clipping coupons; but, it is smart to take advantage of your groceries saving cards and weekly deals. Some grocery chains can allow you to load coupons through their website. Apps like Ibotta will give you money back for purchases.
11. Stop buying bottled water and buy one durable, reusable one
Buying bottled water is a cost that quickly adds up. I’d strongly suggest purchasing a safe BPA-free, durable water bottle, and drink tap. Personally, I love glass water bottles since they have zero affect on after taste. According to Treehuger.com, if you drink eight glasses a day you will spend $1400 a year buying bottled water. If you drink eight glasses a day and you get it from your tap, you'll spend 49 cents. This would be a good year to save your $1400 on a product that not only hurts the environment, but it hurts your pocketbook. That extra cash could go to a lovely vacation.
12. Use less, save more....
Water and electricity bills are considerably higher during the winter months, obviously, because we use heating and struggle to get out of the shower in the morning. Where possible, try to curb your heating usage. This will save money and do something for the environment all our heating makes for a more destructive carbon footprint. When it gets warmer, and your bills start to come down, don't treat the extra money in your account as a bonus. If you managed to get by during the winter without it, you can do the same during the summer. Rather put it into your holiday savings.
13. Get rid of your car
Okay, so this one might not be for everyone, especially suburbanites, but for you urbanites this might be right up your alley. Getting rid of your car can save you quite a lot on a month to month basis from anything from insurance, gas, maintenance, parking tickets and parking permits… Utilize public transportation; if you need a car, think about using peer-to-peer services like RelayRide (it’s an Airbnb for cars.)
14. Hit up corporate discounts
See if your company offers corporate perks and discounts such as gym memberships, ball games, cell-phone data plans, hotel fare, and concerts.
15. Reduce…better yet remove the spa treatments
Ah luxury. I love being pampered, and I’m sure you do as well. But soon you’ll have to realize that those massages and mani-pedis won’t help you travel any sooner. Make the hard choice and bypass the high-priced spa day. Opt for mani-pedi’s at home.
16. Stop buying books and eBooks and borrow your reading material
Utilize your library, friends, and paperback book swap. If you’ve already made the change to an e-reader (useful for your trip as well), there are plenty of places online to download eBooks for free. Sites like Archive.org, Open Library, Gutenburg.org, Feedbooks, and ManyBooks.net offer a with comprehensive catalog. Sites like Readability and Klip.me send articles directly to your electronic device.
All in all, whatever your ultimate goal is when it comes to saving, keeping mind that these sacrifices will be worth it in the end.
Do you have any creative ways to save? Share it with us below.
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