Spending money on travel is by far the best thing I've spent money on to date. Growing up, I would always insert money from babysitting and birthdays into my savings account, but I didn't know what I would spend it on. When the time came to study abroad in college over sophomore summer, I went to the bank, took out almost the entirety of my savings, and paid my tuition.
Since then, I've been able to save money for travel in other ways - whether it's working abroad or working full time to save for a trip. Here are a few ways to travel without emptying out your savings account, and how to budget beforehand.
Oh, and don't worry, this isn't another list insisting you give up your daily Starbucks - I happily drink my tall iced coffees daily and still put aside money for travel!
Ways To Save Before a Trip
1. Get a second job ...but don't overwork yourself to the point past exhaustion. If you're already working full time, consider getting a side gig on the weekends.
I worked at a restaurant on the weekends for the past six months, which has brought in hundreds of extra dollars per month. If that seems like too much of a time commitment, you don't have to get a traditional part-time job on the side - consider odd jobs like babysitting or house sitting for more flexibility.
2. Separate your direct deposit paycheck
Put a certain percentage into each of your checking and savings accounts. Keep just your monthly budget in your one account, and don't spend more than that. Physically seeing that you only have $50 in your account till your next paycheck will make it much easier to not buy those new designer shoes.
When you're tempted to dip into your savings for something unnecessary, remind yourself that soon you'll be using it on a trip. Your future self will thank you.
3. Bring your lunch to work This is one thing I've been doing more often. I'm not a fan of cooking, preparing, or even eating food from home (I'm lazy when it comes to cooking) so this took a while for me to begin doing regularly.
When I compared my food spending to last month, I've saved about $300 by bringing my lunch. $300 can go pretty far in some countries.
4. Sell your clothes Do you have old clothes sitting in your closet that you know you'll never wear? (Or those clothes that you think you just might find a use for?)
If you haven't worn them in over a year, you won't even notice they're gone. Anything that's still in decent condition can be sold online. I use Tradesy, but eBay or similar sites work as well.
5. Watch TV online instead of paying for cable
Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube are your friends, allowing you free or inexpensive access to television. If you're going to be traveling anyways, you won't want to be paying for cable when you're abroad, right?
Traveling somewhere where the above sites aren't available? Try this handy trick.
Keep up the inspiration: Make a vision board, Pinterest board, or whatever you need for a visual reminder of why you're saving. It could even be your desktop wallpaper of a map or a photo of your number one destination. Something that serves as a visual reminder to keep you motivated!
Check out the second piece of this article on ways to save money while you're traveling.
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