I get asked every day how I can travel so often, so here it is! In this first post, I will discuss how I save my money to travel and following in a second post I will go through all the details of making my trips affordable. Hope it’s helpful!

It must be nice! I am so jealous! I want your life! I wish I had an expendable budget like you! If only I had no responsibilities! Do you have a sugar daddy?

Believe me; I hear it ALL! And I totally understand the travel envy. Who doesn’t want to be jetting off to new places throughout the year? IT COULD BE YOU! 🙂 I promise it’s not as expensive and difficult as you imagine. And no, I don’t have an expendable budget, and no I am not traveling all the time. But I do travel often, and here I am going to break it down one by one exactly how I afford to travel like I do and give some of my tricks of the trade.

The only person funding my amazing trips and life experiences is myself. So I have become the ultimate bargain hunter. And the bargain hunting isn’t just for travel but applied to all aspects of my life.

First and foremost…. I travel on a BUDGET.

No, I am not couch surfing strangers homes or staying in rundown hostels, but I have mastered traveling nicely yet budget friendly. And you can too!

The Key Is To Keep Your Costs Down

The BIGGEST thing to implement into both traveling and while at home is keeping your expenses low. I do like to partake in eating out at nice places and sipping some wine while I’m on vacation, that to me is all a part of the experience. So instead of pinching pennies while I’m abroad, I make cutbacks while I am still at home. And there’s quite a few of them. Don’t stress out if they seem a bit much, I don’t follow the rules rigidly- everything is better in moderation!

1. Cut Back On Eating Out While at Home

Spending $100 on dinner and drinks is equivalent to a cooking class in Barcelona or a tour of Devils Pool in Zimbabwe.

So, instead of eating out, I go grocery shopping and cook at home all week. I’m am no Top Chef, but I know enough good and healthy meals to keep me happy eating at home. If spending the time cooking every night isn’t your forte, I  suggest picking one or two recipes you do like to cook and making enough of each to last you for several days. Think of all the money saved eating in! I am also a huge fan of home delivery food services that allow you to add variety to your meals each week while staying on a tight budget, my favorite is Sunbasket because it’s all organic, locally souced produce, and enviromently concious.

 

2. Avoid Large Bar Tabs

It can be hard when friends want to catch up over dinner or drinks so I’ve learned to pick and choose what is important. I’ll suggest to workout together, go hiking, have dinner at home, or if you must…happy hour, it doesn’t bend the budget quite as much. Every time someone wants to grab a drink after work, I try to avoid it. Once I have a drink or two, then I’ll want food and all the sudden its like the mouse you give a cookie, and I end up spending at least $50. Which is a train ride in Italy or a dinner in Paris.

3. Make Coffee at Home

When I’m really watching my money, I start cutting back on my daily Starbucks fix. Sure $5 a day doesn’t seem like much, but that’s $1825 a year! Even cutting down by half saves you a bunch! So instead, I spend most of the week either making coffee at home or stocking my fridge with cold brews cans from Whole Foods or Trader Joes, for way less than a Starbucks drink.

4. Cut Down on Your Monthly Payments 

A. I don’t have a car payment! This is a huge saving for me every month. And it’s not feasible for everyone. I also don’t drive around in my dream car. I would love to have a brand new BMW, but I’ll be honest, experiences far out way material items to me. I paid “Thelma” my 2004 Toyota Solara off years ago and have been content with her since. So sure, I don’t have the coolest car on the block, but instead, I have extra money to travel. She’s getting up there in miles and when I do have to trade her in, I plan to get an amazing deal on a used car! 🙂

B. I canceled my spray tanning membership ($750 a year) and stopped working out with a trainer. All the savings I can contribute towards travel instead. Maybe these don’t apply to you, but you can take a look at your month to month budgeting and try to eliminate things that aren’t necessary. Just simply go through your credit card bill and evaluate every reoccurring payment you have, you might find things you rarely use and there’s extra traveling money!

Download money saving apps like Mint and Digit. These will help track your monthly spending and give great ideas for areas to save. Nothing sheds light on reality like seeing a pie chart of how much your spending on eating out a month!

5. Don’t Pay Full Price

If it’s possible, I try to never pay full price! I wait for my favorite clothing stores to have a sale, I search the depths of the internet for the best deal,  I use coupons, I sell as much of my old clothing as I possible before donating the rest, and will even find some of the cutest clothes second hand on Poshmark.

I just can’t get myself to pay full price for something when it is half as much a month later. Sign up for emails and wait for a sale. At the very least Google “discount codes” for where you’re shopping. You’ll be amazed at what you can find; Free shipping, 15 % off, $20 off $100. The deals are out there; you just got to find them.

I don’t spend much on designer items unless it’s something I will get great value out of. I’ve had the means to purchase a Louis Vuitton bag for myself; but I can’t justify it when I would rather put $1000 towards an experience. I would never say never, and I certainly don’t judge others for how they choose to spend their money. I just know what works for me, so that I can afford to travel as often as I do. So when it’s between wearing my money or using it for life experiences, I choose the latter.

So there you have it, those are my tricks of the trade. They are a balancing act, giving up small things now for greater things later.  I understand if some aren’t for you, they aren’t one size fits all 😉 But hopefully from some of the points you can make changes in your life to find the means to travel a little bit more.
So now that you have ways to cut back and save up some money, I now will show you my time-tested favorite tools I use to keep my trips affordable in Part 2: My Top 5 Travel Tools
Jenny Habdas
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