Saying that I love to travel is an understatement. I looooove it. In fact, I often times no sooner get back from one trip when I start dreaming or planning the next one.
My first trip without parents was when I was 19 on a school trip to Cuba. And I fell in love.. with travel, with seeing new places and the eye-opening experience that it was.
Often times, when I’m still on one vacation, I find myself planning the next one. It’s my “guilty pleasure”. I love it. In the last 3 years, I’ve done about 8 trips including 4 cruises – one from Puerto Rico to the Caribbean and the other from LA to the Mexican Riviera, one from Rome to the Greek islands, one from Miami to the Caribbean, two trips to Toronto, and two trips to Europe of about 12 days each to such places as Germany, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. That’s a lot of travel. Am I rich? Not even close. But I do make sure that travel is my priority.
But, let’s face it, travel can be quite expensive at times. So how do I manage to do it?
It just takes a little discipline.
First things first, my main goal in life 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 I cut back on so I can save money in order to travel more…
I Keep Track Of My 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.
I Cut Out The Coffee Shop Stops
So many mornings it was easy to pop through the drive-thru of my 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 $6 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. With a little planning it’s easy to either eat breakfast at home, or pack something I can eat at my desk. Plus, cutting out the coffee shop high sodium and high fat sweets altogether is a win-win situation for sure.
I Simplified Household Entertainment
I cut out cable completely. There’s hardly anything on TV anyway that’s worth watching. Plus, when the weather gets nicer throughout the spring and summer, I’m rarely in the house anyway.
I found other shows online or on Netflix to watch instead. It’s proven way cheaper than the crazy costs of cable.
I Eat Out Less Often
I 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, I try to keep eating out at a minimum – that doesn’t mean I have stopped altogether – just not as often. Rather than dining out every Friday night (and sometimes Saturday too), I’ve opted to just do it once or twice a month. And rather than having a glass of wine with my meal, I’ll skip it. The markup on alcoholic drinks in restaurants is insane. Plus, going out less made me enjoy the times I did eat out even more.
I enrolled with a rewards credit card
I switched many of my monthly bills over to automatic payments linked to my credit card. I pay it off every month but reap the rewards by earning cash back on purchases. My electricity bill goes to my credit card, as does car and house insurance. This is a lot of money each month in utility bills that I would have regardless, but I earn money by using the credit card. Since I pay it off each month, I’m not hit with any interest.
I Host In-House Events
Sometimes I’ll have friends over to my place (or vice versa) to hang out without having to go and spend money for a big evening out. I’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.
I 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.
I Opened a Free Online Banking Account
So what do I do with the extra money I’m not spending on other things? I make sure I put it over to an account where I let it sit – untouched – for travel. Since there’s no fees for this type of account, I’m not racking up any hefty bank fees either.
Keep in mind, these are just things that I do to fatten my travel account so I 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…