By Rachel Diebel
No doubt about it. Traveling is expensive and for most of us requires saving up. There are so many day-to-day bills to pay and groceries to buy that saving up enough money to take a trip somewhere new can seem impossible at times. If you find yourself desperate to see the world, but low on funds, never fear! There are many tips and tricks you can use so that even the most reluctant saver can become a money savvy world traveler!
Make a Plan
An essential part of saving up to travel is making a plan and sticking to it. Figure out where you want to go, or even just set a goal for the amount of money you’d like to save. This gives you a place to start. After that, figure out a realistic timeline and monthly savings schedule to help you keep on track. Reaching your savings goal may take a month or it may take a year, but if you commit to staying on track, you can do it. Minor setbacks are normal, but having a plan will make you feel like you are really getting somewhere.
Set a Realistic Destination
If you struggle to get by each month, saving up for a trip to Australia may seem intimidating. Setting travel goals that are more attainable for you may well help you stay on track better. If you feel like you have to save for years on end for one trip, it’s easier to lose the faith. But if you choose an affordable destination, your goal will be closer on the horizon.
Assess Your Regular Expenses
One of the first things you need to do is assess what you spend money on each month. If you have less room in your budget, decide how important travel is to you. Is it worth ditching the gym membership or Netflix for six months until you return from traveling? These little monthly expenses add up, and cutting back on unnecessary ones for even a little while can help a lot.
Save the Change
Many banks have a “save the change” or similar plan that you can implement to help you save a little bit here and there. These kind of plans round up the change on the purchases you make and deposit the difference in your savings account. For example, if you buy a salad for $3.50, the bank rounds the charge up to $4 and transfers the extra fifty cents into your bank account. It may not seem like much, but with saving, every little bit counts!
Make Your Own Coffee
Fancy lattes are one of the things that most of us indulge in on a fairly regular basis. They are also one of the easiest things to cut if you need to save. Two or three $5 coffees a week adds up to a solid chunk of change, and it is so easy to make your own (relatively) fancy coffee at home. Just buying instant mixes or even adding hot cocoa mix to your morning coffee creates a very similar effect, and saves you a ton of money in the long run.
Do Free Things For Fun
Saving money doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have fun! There are plenty of things you can do for free or for very little money that are fun and fulfilling. Go for walks in a new area of town or hikes in the woods a short drive away. Keep an eye on the local newspaper for free concerts or movies. There are always things going on for little to no money, and you may end up discovering something you would never have known about otherwise!
One very effective way to track your spending, particularly for those who don’t check their online debit or credit balance often, is to pull out a set amount of cash each week, and only allow yourself to spend the cash you have. Seeing the dollar bills disappear is a useful tactic to remind yourself of how much you are actually spending. If you spend less than what you withdrew one week, add it to the next week’s budget for a little extra wiggle room.