If you didn’t know yet, this month is all about breaking down barriers to travel. And, while I don’t always focus on budget travel tips, it has to be acknowledged that one of the biggest hurdles to traveling for a lot of people is the cost.
I usually manage to get around this hurdle by traveling with my mom (thanks mom!), but now that I’m traveling more with Dustin, we’ve had to get more serious about how we fund our adventures.
I wanted to share some easy tips you can implement right away to start making small changes. Small changes lead to big results in the world of money, and, with time, I hope that these tips will help you to live the life of your dreams. Read on for 5 small ways to save more money for travel.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert and you should always do what you think is best with your money. The following is a system that works for me, and I encourage you to try for yourself and see what works best for you and your own money.
If you’re ready to get serious about the budget for your next big trip, I’ve got a budgeting worksheet (with a savings plan!) that I put together to help you. Click here to download it now:
1. Start Keeping Track
It’s just a fact, you can’t go blindly into saving. You have to get real with yourself and start keeping track of your budget. No more “where did that paycheck go?!” at the end of the month.
You can get started by just looking at your checking account or credit card statement to see where all of your money is going, but I would also recommend signing up for a budgeting app like Mint. I use Mint to keep an eye on where my money is going and also to budget for upcoming trips. It’s good to see everything in one place if you have more than one account, and seeing things categorized is helpful for budgeting.
2. Switch out a Small Spend for a Small Save
I know that it’s a cliche, but if you get a latte twice a week, stop doing that and put the money you’d spend on that in your savings. In a month, you’ll have $40, and in a year, $480. Think of other small spends you could make into saves to build your savings even more.
The next time you reach for gum at the cash register, take that dollar and put it in your savings.
The next time you think about going out for fast food but decide to stay in and cook, put a few dollars in your savings account. The small amounts will add up and you’ll be less likely to spend on things you don’t need if you think about it taking away from your vacation budget. A mojito on the beach is better than a latte in the car on the way to work, right?
3. Let Your Money Make You Money
I still find it baffling that you can put your money in an account and it makes you money just by being there, but that’s exactly how investing works. If you’re planning a trip in 3-5 years, investing might be a good option for you. But, chances are, you’re looking to travel a bit sooner than that. (Still, women really need to invest. Read about it on Ellevest. The statistics are baffling.)
Anyway, even if you’re not ready to start investing, you can have your money make you a little more money by opening a high-yield savings account. You’ll have a slightly better interest rate than a normal savings account, so you can make a bit more money on your money.
You wont start seeing huge returns until your account grows fairly large, but you can see it as even more encouragement to save more.
When you’re tempted to spend now, visualize what that little bit of money could become over time.
4. Invest Your Spare Change
Acorns is an app that pulls change left over from purchases into an account and starts investing it for you. Basically, if you go buy a cup of coffee for $4.50, Acorns will take $0.50 (rounding your purchase up to $5) and put it in an investment account.
This is a great way to make a small change that you’ll barely notice (I mean, it’s $0.50!) that can add up big time. Plus, since you’re investing the spare change, not just saving it, you’ll get to watch your money grow a little bit over time.
That said, keep in mind that investing is a long-game strategy, so your account will fluctuate. It can be frustrating to watch it shrink a little and grow a little day after day. Consider if investing is right for you before signing up for this app. If it is, I would suggest not checking it daily if it’s going to stress you out.
5. Hold it in Your Hands
There’s just something about seeing your money, isn’t there? If you have a hard time staying on track when you’re moving money electronically or using a credit card, start using cash. I always have a harder time handing over cash than swiping a card.
You’ll still need to know your budget well enough to know how much cash to take out every week or month, but it can really help you cut back on spending to have to see it every time you want to buy something.
Plus, using cash means that at the end of the week (or month), you get to physically put the extra money in your piggy bank (or jar, or box, or whatever!) and there is nothing as satisfying as that.
If you’re ready to book your trip, be sure to download my travel budgeting worksheet. It’s even got a little savings plan calculation at the bottom, so you can get to work building up your savings for the life of your dreams! Click here to download it now:
What little tricks do you use to save more money for travel? Tell me in the comments.