This is a guest post by travel blogger Jen, The Trusted Traveller. Check out her site for insight on simple & stress-free travel planning tips.
I’m sure like me, a lot of you would love to be able to travel wherever you want, whenever you want. But that unfortunately isn’t a reality for most of us, mostly due to lack of available money.Saving money can be a hard thing for most people even when it’s to use on something you're passionate about like travel. Click To Tweet
Saving money can be a hard thing for most people even when it’s to use on something you’re passionate about like travel. There are always bills to pay, groceries to buy and of course an everyday life to live.
Finding ways to cut our living expenses while still having a life is something I’ve become quite passionate about. Many years ago when travel started to engulf my life and my need for more money to see the world grew, I started to find creative ways to save that didn’t affect my everyday life significantly but still helped me save for my next vacation faster.
Today I want to share with you a few of my secrets to help you save for that vacation faster. In fact, these tips aren’t just specific to saving for travel, you can use them to save money for anything you want or even just to have a safety net of money for emergencies. I also invite you to share your everyday saving tips in the comments at the end of this post.
Pay yourself first
Quite simply, every time you get paid, give yourself a small allowance that can be used on anything you like. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, maybe $20 per week, but it will help eliminate those blowouts we all have when depriving ourselves of something.
I’ve found this strategy to be the most effective way for me to save more money. While it might seem odd to pay yourself before your bills or putting money in your savings, having an allowance for myself each pay lets me still lead a decent social life. I can enjoy dinner out with friends, see a movie from time to time or buy a new pair of shoes (my obsession) occasionally.
Sell your unwanted goods
Most people have a cupboard or garage full of unwanted junk. Things that you no longer use (or never used) that are just collecting dust and decaying past the point of value.
Have you ever heard of the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”?
Well, it couldn’t be truer. It takes just half a day to sift through your unwanted goods, clean them up a bit, take a few well-lit photos and sell them on websites like eBay and Craigslist or even at your local market or garage sale. You will make a few bucks for your travel fund out of things that one day would have ended up at the local garbage dump.
Make a shopping list and stick to it!
This is one of the areas of saving that I am really bad at but always try to make a good effort. I hate grocery shopping but unfortunately it’s something most of us have to do every week or so. It takes a big chunk out of your pay packet especially if you go in unplanned.The best way to make grocery shopping a money saving exercise is to have a list. Click To Tweet
The best way to make grocery shopping a money saving exercise is to have a list. Think about and plan carefully what you’re going to buy. Make sure all of the items you buy can be used multiple times and won’t expire before you have a chance to use them. And while you’re wandering around the aisle try to use every ounce of your self-control to stick to that list. That means not buying that packet of chocolate biscuits or that tub of ice cream that is calling your name no matter how tempting it might seem.
And don’t shop hungry! It’s proven to make you buy more, especially of the convenience foods that generally cost more.
Know when the free (or cheap) activities are happening
Just because you’re saving doesn’t mean you can’t have a life. It just means you have to be a bit better planned and crafty about the activities you do.
Most museums and art galleries have free exhibitions you can attend or even one day/night a month when entry is free. Movie cinemas sometimes have a day where tickets are cheaper. Or if stage shows are your thing, then you’re likely to find cheap tickets on the day of the show at the box office or by doing an internet search for the name of the show and “discount tickets”.
And don’t forget about free festivals happening in your hometown. Throughout the year there is bound to be plenty that suit your interests you just need to be organised and know when they are on. You’ll find information for these usually on your local council or tourism website.
Pack snacks for work and play
Having a few snacks like muesli bars, fresh fruit or whatever snack you like, with you when you go to work, school or even just when you are out and about, can save you from spending money on café and shop bought items that can cost a lot more.
They take up next to no room in your bag or draw at work so when that afternoon snack attack hits you’re already well stocked to save you from spending money. And not only is it more cost effective having snacks on hand, it’s a whole lot healthier than eating out too.It's more cost effective having snacks on hand and a whole lot healthier than eating out too. Click To Tweet
Write it all down
If you write down on a piece of paper or in your phone your savings goal, how you’re going to achieve it, how long you expect it to take and what you’re saving for, you are more likely to succeed. By having it written down you have something that makes you accountable and you can look back at it anytime you’re feeling that urge to break that promise with yourself.
Or go one step further and write down everything you spend each week. This way you know where your money is going and you will be able to identify easily the areas that need improvement. Make a simple spreadsheet or table and each night just record what it was you bought and how much it cost. Then at the end of the week you can evaluate it and make the cuts where necessary.
So there you have it, my top 6 tips for helping you save for vacation faster. I hope you’ve learned something and that you’ll be on your way to saving for that dream trip in no time.
And don’t forget to join the conversation by leaving a comment below and telling me your money saving tips.
About the author:
Jen has been travelling most of her life, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the travel bug really started to bite. Together with her husband Mick, they’ve backpacked through Europe, lived in London, road tripped around New Zealand, fell in love with New York and discovered the uniqueness of Japan; just to name a few of their adventures. Now, as full time digital nomad’s, they are on their biggest adventure yet, a slow indefinite road trip around Australia. Their website, The Trusted Traveller, is all about providing simple and stress-free travel planning help to those wanting to make the most of their precious vacation time. You can follow Jen on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.