Saying that my husband and I love to travel is an understatement. We looooove it. In fact, we often times no sooner get back from one trip when we start dreaming or planning the next one. And when we were in Mexico in February, we were actually on the beach and plotting where we wanted to go next. In the last 12 months, we did a 7 day Caribbean cruise from Puerto Rico, a 10 day trip to Toronto (to see family, mind you), a week long trip to Paris, a 10 day trip to Los Angeles with a 7 day Mexican cruise, and this weekend we are going to Orlando for a week. That’s a lot of travel.
But, travel can be quite expensive at times. So how do we manage to do it?
It just takes a little discipline.
First things first, our mutual goal as a couple is to travel. So when there’s something I want, I weigh it against my desire to travel. Let’s say I want a new purse, I ask myself if I would rather have the purse or put the money towards a trip. A trip always wins.
So here’s what we ourselves cut back on so we can save money in order to travel more…
We Keep Track Of Our Expenses
In order to do this properly, you need to start off tracking your expenses and there’s two ways to do this… one way is to track your spending every day for at least a month, or the second way is to analyze your spending habits via your online banking account. Doing this allows to see your spending habits. I rarely use cash, instead I use debit purchases so this was easy for me to do right from the start because I can check my spending habits with the click of a button through online banking. I can log in and see exactly where my I spend my money.
Once you see where your money goes, you can start monitoring where to cut back on frivolous spending. I have to admit, this is an exercise in being honest with yourself.
You can use MS Excel, Google docs, an app, or do what I do and use old fashioned pen and paper to track every purchase.
We Cut Out The Coffee Shop Stops
So many mornings it was easy to pop through the drive-thru of our favorite coffee house and grab a cup of coffee or tea along with a breakfast sandwich or sweet treat. This cost anywhere from $4 to $10 for both of us every weekday. Do the math.. it’s a lot of money.
I opted for buying tea bags at the grocery store and simply making the tea in a travel mug before I left the house or making it once I got to work and sipping it at my desk. I cost me $3 for a tin of 24 tea bags at my local store which means that’s a whole month of daily tea for only $3. That’s pretty awesome. As for Roger, he makes his coffee at work and brings an easy to eat breakfast with him from home, cutting out the coffee shop high sodium and high fat sweets altogether. A win-win situation for sure.
We Simplified Household Entertainment
Roger loves hockey season and since we don’t have a hockey team in our city, we have to settle for watching the games on TV. When the hockey season is over though, we cut back our cable bill to the bare minimum. There’s hardly anything on TV anyway that’s worth watching. Plus, when the weather gets nicer throughout the spring and summer, we aren’t in the house much to watch TV anyway.
We found other shows online or on Netflix to watch instead. It’s proven way cheaper than the crazy costs of cable.
We Eat Out Less Often
We absolutely love to eat out.. it’s actually one of my fave things to do actually. I love everything from browsing the menu, the conversation, the atmosphere, the act of eating and all that. There’s just something so awesome about having a nice meal out and not having to cook or tackle the dishes. The downside is of course when the bill comes. Let’s face it, even grabbing fast food on the run isn’t always cost effective either.
So, we try to keep eating out at a minimum – that doesn’t mean we have stopped altogether – just not as often. Rather than dining out every Friday night (and sometimes Saturday too), we’ve opted to just do it once or twice a month. And rather than having a glass of wine or a beer with our meal, we’ll skip it. The markup on alcoholic drinks in restaurants is insane. Plus, we’ll even share an appetizer rather than each getting one. This way, we still have the treat of eating out, but it doesn’t cost as much. Plus, going out less made us enjoy the times we did eat out even more.
We enrolled with a rewards credit card
We switched many of our monthly bills over to automatic payments linked to our credit card. We pay it off every month but reap the rewards by earning cash back on our purchases. Our electricity bill goes to our credit card, as does our car and house insurance, plus our oil bill for our furnace as well. This is hundreds of dollars every month in utility bills that we would have regardless, but we earn money by using the credit card. Since we pay it off each month, we aren’t hit with any interest.
We Host In-House Events
Sometimes we’ll have friends over to our place (or vice versa) to hang out without having to go and spend money for a big evening out. We’ll make supper at home and either play games or watch a movie. It’s a great way to enjoy the company without having to spend a fortune.
We Determined Desires vs. Necessities
Oh, the eternal struggle between needing something and wanting something. You need food, but you want the steak and lobster dinner. You might need a new pair of pants, but you want the designer pair you saw on Instagram yesterday. Be honest with yourself when it comes to needs versus wants. Do you really need something? Or is it just a want?
I love to shop and can’t tell you how many times I’ve been somewhere and saw a handbag or a dress or something else and immediately felt I “had” to have it. Did I need it? Nope. It’s almost always a “want”. Once you determine the difference, you really can make better buying decisions.
We Opened a Free Online Banking Account
So what do we do with the extra money we aren’t spending on other things? We make sure we put it over to an account where we let it sit – untouched – for travel. Since there’s no fees for this type of account, we aren’t racking up any hefty bank fees either.
Remember, these were just things that we did to fatten our travel account so we can travel more. You may not be able to do the same things, but rather find other things that might work for you or your family.
One of the biggest things to do is to remember to make it a priority to save the money if traveling is your goal. If it’s your passion you’ll make it happen.
Sign up to Grab my FREE PRINTABLE Financial Goal Plan sheet and take some time to work out your goals and how you can achieve them. Once you have a clear picture, I can almost guarantee you will work toward achieving them.
Where would YOU go if you could go right now?
Ciao for now…