6 Genius Money Saving Tips for Your Next Trip
Every time we log onto social media these days it seems as though our feeds are flooded with dreamy, bucket-list-worthy pictures from breathtaking places all over the world. If you’re like me, this gives you serious FOMO. Who doesn’t want to be jet setting somewhere new, exploring new views and people, eating new foods, meshing into a new culture?
Whether you’ve traveled all over the world, ventured around your country/state, or never traveled at all and want to, I want you to know that you can! The world is yours for the taking. Most people mistakenly think they aren’t able to travel because they can’t afford it but this is usually not the case. The problem is not the money but rather the priorities.
Would you rather have a lot of things or would you rather travel? If you’d rather have things there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but because you’re here I’m going to guess you’d rather travel.
As I prepare to head out for a bucket-list trip to New York to experience the city during the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite travel saving tips with you. And don’t worry, you don’t have to give up absolutely everything you enjoy and love to go on a trip. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to cut your satellite, occasion coffee/latte’s, your gym membership, or any of these things that make you you…that’s crazy!
Step 1: Calculate Potential Costs
As soon as you choose a destination, start researching to get a basic idea of how much the trip may cost. You’ll want to consider and note the cost of things such as: lodging, travel costs of flying or driving, transportation while at your destination, attractions/events, food, and maybe even toiletries or clothing you may need to purchase that you will need. Once you have a general idea of how much the trip is going to cost, you should save a little extra to make sure you have some wiggle room.
Just a tip: I definitely recommend Air Bnb if it is available. I can’t remember the last time I stayed in a hotel. It’s usually much cheaper and you’ll feel more at home while you’re exploring some new.
Step 2: Start A Budget
Once you have a general idea of how much the trip will cost, it’s time to take a look at your budget. Kudos if you already have one; if you don’t let’s get to it! Budgets are helpful to have at all times but are extremely important when saving for a trip.
You should build your budget a couple months in advance; it feels good to have an idea of what the next couple months look like financially. I recommend planning for each paycheck rather than monthly like most people. The first paycheck of the month will have these specific bills and the next paycheck of the month will have other specific bills. As the paychecks alternate you’ll learn which paycheck pays what bills and how much you’ll be able to save etc.. It feels amazing to be in the know, I promise.
I do have a few other recommendations for how to build your budget that I find very effective. First: decide on a base amount you’d like to limit yourself to each paycheck and never go under it. Second: Insert the bills for that paycheck. Third: Whatever is left between the bills and the limit you’ve set yourself use as miscellaneous (groceries, gas, fun, etc.; I bunch it all in together) or put into your savings. Cutting down on your miscellaneous and putting more into your savings is what is going to fund your next trip!
Step 3: Analyze Your Spending Habits
Print out and/or review your bank statements. Are you spending tons of money on unnecessary things like eating out several times a week? Alcohol? Shopping for shoes and clothes when your closet is already FULL of shoes (I am guilty of this sometimes too!)? Buying 3 lattes a day? Just crazy things that you do not need.
I’m not asking you to never eat out, buy alcohol, or drinking your Starbucks coffee. That would be insanity. As a human, there are little things you enjoy that bring you comfort. By all means continue to do these things but do not do them in excess. Instead of buying 3 lattes a day buy one. Instead of spending $200 on clothing shopping a month, cut it to $100.
Maybe you’re spending money on a gym membership you’re not using or a subscription you don’t really care for. Take a look at these little things and see where you have some wiggle room.
Step 4: Identify Your Wiggle Room
After analyzing your spending habits, you’ll have a pretty clear picture of where you spend in excess. Decide where you can cut a few things, reduce the cost of other things, place limits on spending and start there. Put all of the money your saving from cutting these things into your savings account and don’t touch it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly a couple hundred dollars a paycheck will add up.
Tip: If you have left over money after bills, miscellaneous spending, and savings at the end of that paycheck and right before you receive your next, put those extra dollars in your savings.
Step 5: Plan Out Your New Budget
Rebuild your budget including all of your cuts and savings. Build it out for at least the next 4 paychecks. If you follow your plan well, you’ll be able to see exactly how long it will take to save for your vacation and exactly how much money you should have by the time you leave.
Step 6: Follow Your Plan!
I’m going to be very honest with you, following your plan is going to be the most difficult part! When things get tough and you want to buy something you know damn well that you don’t need, just remind yourself of what you’re working towards. Taking a trip will beat this urge every time! Happy saving friends and I hope you have an awesome time on your trip!