In Going into Debt to Travel is a Really Bad Idea, I talked about why debt-free travel is the way to go. Not relying on credit cards or loans is a freeing feeling that not only changes your current mood and outlook on life, but positively impacts your ability to accrue future wealth. But as easy as it is to say that, what may not be as easy is determining how to save for travel.
So, in this post, I’m going to share with you my suggestions for how to successfully accumulate cash that you can later use toward amazing travel experiences. So, let’s get started!
Open a secondary checking account for travel expenses
Using a checking account that is specifically for the sole purpose of putting money away for travel is something that I’ve been doing for years. I think it’s really important to keep your “travel money” completely separate from the primary account that you use to pay your bills and regular daily expenses.
Open a new checking account and only use this account for travel related expenses. Prepay for your flights, accommodations, activities, etc. using this account. When you’re actually on your trip, bring only the debit card for the travel account with you and leave the other debit card for your personal expenses at home. When you’re on your trip, use the travel account to pay for any costs that arise while you’re away from home.
Only bringing the one card ensures that you stay on budget. It also gives you peace of mind in knowing that you can actually afford your trip and are paying for each thing that you purchase while traveling in full at the time that you purchase it.
Allocate a specific dollar amount or % of your monthly income toward travel
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your goal of saving for travel is achieved, is to determine how much money you want to save for travel and at what frequency. If you want to save twice a month, then set an automatic transfer from your primary checking account to your travel account so that twice a month a certain dollar amount is automatically transferred.
When doing your budget for you primary checking account, include an expense for “travel fund”. That way, just as your phone bill is a budgeted item, so is your travel expenditure. Over time, your vacation fund will grow, giving you disposable income to spend to see the world.
Get a part-time job
Work at a retail store, babysit, start an online business. Find a (legal) way to make extra cash and then save all of your earnings for travel. Even though I work full time, I’ve always had a side hobby that brought in extra cash. I would take that cash and immediately put it into the travel checking account upon receipt. By having an automatic transfer set up from my primary checking account and also putting all additional income into the travel account, I am able to save up cash very quickly to use for my travels.
If you don’t have the cash on hand, you don’t have the money to spend.
Save money from birthdays and holidays
Birthdays and holidays are great times to receive gifts. Instead of taking cash gifts and buying more stuff, save it. The gift giver will have the pleasure of knowing that they contributed to you having a great travel experience.
Cut unnecessary expenses
Cut cable television, eating out, your obsession with gourmet $6 per cup coffee. Just let it go. A couple of years ago I got rid of cable television in my house. Although my reason for cutting this expense from my life was initially because I rarely ever watched TV, the benefits to my bank account were awesome. Instead of spending $100+ each month on channels that I was never going to watch, that money now goes into my bank account. Having an extra $1200 a year back in my pocket (that’s a roundtrip flight to Europe, y’all), is a win.
But what if you like watching TV? Don’t fret, you can still cut cable and watch all the shows that you want. Try Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, and even Sling. These services cost a monthly fee that’s a fraction of the cost of cable. You can watch all of the shows and movies that you want to watch when you want to watch them. I’m now a married gal and my husband enjoys television, so, now we have subscriptions to some of these services. The best part is that we can still watch all of the popular shows that everyone is talking about, but we’re paying half of what it costs to have cable TV.
Any amount of money saved is a good amount of money saved.
Unsubscribe from retail promotional emails
That’s right, go into your email and unsubscribe yourself from retail mailing lists ASAP. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received an email for a “Great Sale” or “40% off the entire store”. Even though I didn’t need 5 new sweaters, all of a sudden I felt like I did (because who passes up a great sale, am I right?).
Remove yourself from these emails ASAP. I love a great sale, but let’s face it I don’t need to know about all of them. With mobile apps like Retail Me Not can keep you in the loop when YOU decide that you want to know, not whenever the store wants you to know. Trust me, you’ll start really spending less if you remove yourself from these emails.
Get on a budget
For most people, being on a budget can feel restrictive. But being on a budget does not mean that you have to pinch pennies. What it means is that you know how much money you have and how you plan on spending it.
When you plan where to allocate your money, you may end up finding cash that you didn’t realize you had. When you allocate money before you spend it, you’re actually able to budget in things like travel and designer clothes (if that’s your jam). You know what’s a great feeling? Having the power to…
Be in control of your money, instead of letting your money be in control of you.
Do it Yourself
One of the best ways to cut out unnecessary expenses is to begin doing things yourself. Instead of going out and buying expensive coffee everyday my husband and I invested in a Nespresso machine.
The initial cost for the machine was around $300 and the coffee capsules are $30 on Amazon each month. However, we are now able to make our own fancy coffee at home. Let’s do the math: 7 days a week at $5 for a coffee at a local coffee place is $35 each week. If there are 52 weeks in a year, then that’s $1820/year on fancy coffee…and that’s just for ONE person! Oh, and that’s not including the cost of being tricked into getting a chocolate croissant while you’re there.
With a Nespresso machine, we’re able to make fancy coffee drinks for much less. This frees up extra money we can use to travel. Plus, I personally think that the homemade lattes and espresso taste much better!
Another way to do it yourself is to cook your own food. Eating out is always fun, but making your own meals can also be fun and less costly. Sometimes salads can cost upwards of $15. When I make my own salads, I spend far less than I would if I were to buy one out, without sacrificing taste.
These are my tips for saving for travel. I hope this post has been helpful. Feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions!
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