When you travel on the cheap like I do, it doesn’t take changing very many things in order to save up for your trip! I’ve put together a list of things you can do to quickly save up for your next vacation!
1. Buy a water bottle.
This should be an obvious one, yet I am amazed at how many people don’t drink enough water. You can easily cut down on the costs of bottled beverages by simply buying a good water bottle. I love Nalgene or Nathan water bottles for my daily water consumption. Buying bottles of water or soda add up fast, so if you have good water at home, buy a refillable bottle to use.
Craving flavor? Buy a squeezable sports drink to add to your water, or better yet, cut up some fresh fruit or cucumber for a fresh flavor. Bonus Tip- take the bottle with you when you travel. Instead of paying $3-$5 for a beverage at the airport, simply fill up. Many airports have now installed water bottle filling stations by their water fountains, making it easier than ever to stay hydrated.
2. Quit eating out.
Okay, maybe not completely, because that is a lot of cooking, and for someone like me who hates to cook, it can be a very tedious task.
However, do the math! How much do you spend eating out each week / each month? Even just stopping and hitting the dollar menu for a sandwich, fries and drink can set you back $4 after tax, plus nothing really is just a dollar anymore. Go to the grocery store, not a high-end expensive store (I recommend Aldi) and buy meals.
Don’t just cook the amount you will eat that night, cook the entire meal and enjoy easy leftovers the rest of the week. You’ll be surprised how quickly this simple task builds your bank account back up.
3. Cut back on your subscriptions.
Cell Phones: Cell phone bills are expensive and add in overseas usage fees and you can be looking at a crazy high phone bill! My husband and I recently switched to T-Mobile, and not only did they pay us over $700 in MasterCard gift cards to pay off our old AT&T account, but our phones include unlimited data and texting WHILE OVERSEAS! This is HUGE for me.
Before, when I would travel, I would have to stop into cafes or museums and sponge off their data just to find my next bus stop, but now I can easily find directions and send texts to my family without having to stop and spend $4 on a coffee! If I want to add international calling, I can affordably add it on for each month that I need it. How much is this plan costing us? For the two of us, only $100 a month! Also, when you add extra lines, your price per line can drop as low as $40, and (at the time of writing this) includes a FREE Netflix subscription! Check it T-Mobile and see how it can fit into your travel and budget needs!
If you decide T-Mobile is right for your travel needs, be sure to download the T-Mobile Tuesday app as well for weekly freebies! I’ve scored about $10 worth of free coffee so far just by having the app!
Video: Do you really need five different video subscriptions? If I had to pick, even though I love Netflix, I would keep Amazon Prime as my video provider simply because of all the features it includes, such as unlimited photo storage. Or, you know, you can switch to T-Mobile and qualify for a FREE Netflix account while the promotion lasts. You may be thinking “But my subscription only cost $9 a month, which is nothing really!” But how many subscriptions do you have? $9 across multiple bills adds up quickly each month.
Music: Do you really need to pay for a music service? If you have an Amazon Prime account, Prime Music is included and you can download your playlist rights to your phone for offline listening.
Cable/TV: Do you really need your extended cable channels, or even yet- do you really need your cable service? My husband and I have lived without cable or even standard television for the last 8 years, and we never miss it. In fact, not having it helps us stay proactive with our other tasks because we aren’t spending time mindlessly browsing channels.
4. The Gym:
I know that little plastic card is great for jimmying the lock when you lose your house keys, but is it really serving you any other purpose? How often do you go ‘lift brah’? Cut the gym membership and invest in a few basics for your home such as dumbbells, a yoga mat, jump rope, and a good pair of running shoes. If you’re going to workout, you don’t need a gym membership to do so.
Create a workout routine at home, and maybe once you’ve settled into it and are actually working out daily, reconsider getting a membership at your local workout facility. In the meantime, there are plenty of amazing and free workout programs available such as Darebee, awesome apps such as C25K, and Down Dog, as well as an infinite number of YouTube channels dedicated to the art.
5. Find A Travel Card:
I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing my second trip abroad was. I began researching travel cards and found the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which won me over hands down. Big selling points for me included: zero foreign transaction fees and trip cancellation insurance.
When I signed up*, they were running a special which gave you 50,000 points if you spent $4,000 on the card within the first few months. This was easy! We simply started using the card to pay for everything and repaid the card as we used it. What did those 50,000 points do for me? They transferred over into cold, hard cash! For using my card during their intro period, I was gifted $500 back! Additionally, when I added an authorized user (my husband), I received an extra 5,000 points, which was another $50 in cash.
So total, just for using my credit card, I received $550 bucks back, which I then turned around and used to buy two round-trip flights for my friend and me- making the cost of my trip only food, hostels, country hopping flights, and souvenirs!
But don’t take my word for it, you can read more about this amazing card and all of its benefits here.
*This was true at the time of writing, the promotions may have changed, so double-check before signing up.
6. Explore Your Transit Options
Does your city have public transportation available? If so, look into getting month passes for the transit system, especially if you find yourself facing a long commute every morning, spending a lot of time sitting in traffic, having fender benders (which raise your insurance cost), or having to pay to park. You can also consider ride-shares with coworkers, friends or a spouse to cut your gas costs down by half, or even more depending on the number of riders. Live close to work? You may want to consider a healthier option such as walking, jogging to work if your employer has a shower room, or even biking.
7. Covering Your Bod:
While I understand the importance of quality clothing, but why pay full price for it? There are always stores such as Saks Off of 5th, Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and other discounted clothing stores to fill your fashion needs. Using a plugin such as EBates not only allows you to shop your favorite stores and save you money but can also be used in addition to coupons! On my first purchase of glasses from coastal.com, I was able to receive $5 back by using EBates!
Often times, you may find that a simple coupon will still give you the best discount for your dollar. For a quick coupon search, install the Honey plugin to automatically find the best coupons for every purchase!
Better yet, save your money and organize a swap day with your friends. Just raid each other’s collections of clothing you no longer wear! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gained a completely new wardrobe for free just from my friends deciding they were tired of an outfit.
Let’s just total the cost up here real quick. If I am remembering correctly, the basic mani/pedi runs anywhere from $35 to $50. I know several people who go in every two weeks for touch-ups as well. I have no idea how much touch ups would run, so let’s just go off the idea of having a full mani/pedi just once a month.
At the low end of $35, you are spending $420 a year (I laughed out loud when I saw this crazy high number on my calculator.) And that’s at the cheap end!
If your mani/pedi is running in the $50 range, you’re spending $600 a year on your nails! Let’s keep in mind that both these figures are PRE-TIP also! Do you know how many flights that much money would buy? If I had an extra $420 laying around, I could spend an entire extra month traveling each year.
9. The bar:
Oh, my goodness. I have heard absurd stories about how much money can be accidentally dropped at a bar! Why pay $9 for a beer you could stock in your own refrigerator for a few dollars? Why pay $14 for a cocktail you could make at home or buy pre-made in a freezer bag? Invite your friends in- not out! Make it a girls night/guys night! Bake up some super-easy wings from scratch or have a cracker and cheese tray and make a night of it at home! You’ll be amazed at how much money you save, especially if you make it BYOB!
10. Hair Salons:
No, I’m not about to tell you to ditch the scissors and embrace your inner hippie. Haircuts have a huge role in our confidence and self-image, so keep on with trimmings! However, the hair-dye might just need to go!
Why not dye your hair yourself at home? It would definitely save you some serious money. How much do hair services cost? Honestly, I don’t know because I have never had my hair professionally colored! I do have my fair share of grays that need covered though, so how do I do it? I skip the box dyes which often leave my hair feeling sickly and manage to fade faster than the speed of sound, and instead head towards my local Lush store where I grab myself a bar of henna hair dye instead. See my other Lush recommendations here.
I get compliments on my hair color every single day. Honestly, I haven’t colored it in months, but the color is still going strong! Though my hair is grown out, my color fades amazingly to my natural color. Dying your hair with henna is a lengthy, bizarre process in itself. I have never had such amazing color from a hair dye in my entire life!
I have found that with henna, my color stays truer for much longer and is very resistant to fading. This allows me to go longer without dying my hair and spend more time enjoying life and have a happy wallet.