We want to inspire others to believe that they absolutely can travel. All too often we hear people saying it’s too expensive or that they don’t know where to begin. So we want to give you three small and easy steps you can start making today to help you save for your future travels! They may sound too simple to be true, but these are the building blocks that helped us SAVE $30,000 IN ONE YEAR while traveling :).
Prepare Your Own Meals
“Eating cheap doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious food.”
Food is one of your biggest monthly expenses. It is also one of the easiest ways to blow through your money. If you work a 9-5 job it is extremely easy to go out for lunch on a regular basis. Let’s be naive and pretend each meal is only $10 a day for lunch, that’s $50 a week/ $200 a month, or $2,400 a year that you are not saving for your real goal of travel. And by the way $2,400 would pay for almost two complete months of travel for both of us, where we eat out 3 times a day!
If you are dating/married you may go out for dinner one or two times a week on top of that. Maybe even on the weekends go out for breakfast. If you are doing all of these things and can’t afford to travel than it is time to start learning how to cook! Your wallet and significant other will thank you!
We are not saying completely abandon going out for food. We love food far too much for that. Nor are we saying you must cook every meal. But we are saying that you need to really think about how you are eating from a more financial point of view. It is much, much more cost effective to make and prepare your own lunches throughout the week and then make going out for a meal a special occasion with friends or dates.
If finding time to learn to cook is difficult, consider visiting Epicurious. Available on your computer, iPhone or Android phone.Epicurious has recipes for everything under the sun including meals under 15 minutes, you can give it your inventory and it will tell you how to use them! You can also use places like Trader Joe’s and Sprouts to get cheap prepared meals that will reduce your cost!
Only Buy Things You Actually Need!
I know we said these were some easy things you can start doing now, but this one can actually be quite tough. No one likes to hear or admit this, but throughout the day we buy things that we absolutely don’t need. The problem is marketers are really good at getting us to spend our money, or we are really good at convincing ourselves we cannot live without something.
“What do you actually need? Food, clothing and shelter. Everything else is entertainment.”
The reality is almost all of us are buying something everyday that we can absolutely live without. My vice was coffee. I love coffee, can’t really live without it (well at least I thought I couldn’t.) I would often have 3 cups of coffee a day minimum! Nothing fancy, just a venti coffee from starbucks, every day I went to work, one refill for .50 cents, and some cups at work from the crappy coffee machine. Prices have gone up in the last two years since I last bought a Starbucks coffee. But when I did this it was $2.95 a cup, and .50 cents for a refill. $3.45 a day. That turns out to be $103.50 or $1,242 a year that I can save for travel. That is almost as much money as we spent traveling in Laos for one whole month!If you need more inspiration to see what your coffee can buy you check out this article by USA Today here.
You can use this coffee example to find something you really don’t need. It can be craft beers, dessert, those extra clothes, drinks at clubs, gym memberships the list goes on. There are lots of small ways you are burning through your money without realizing it. The good news is there are lots of ways to save that money without having any impact on your lifestyle.
We aren’t saying you need to cutback 100% on the things you love. But ask yourself if there is a way to do it cheaper. Can you buy coffee and brew it yourself at home for less? If so, start doing that. Make one special day a week or month that you can have your craft beer or dessert. It will help your wallet and be more special. Try to wait until there is a sale to buy your new clothes, or see if you can exchange old clothes for new ones. The point is to cutback and moderate the things you don’t really need. Remember all of these things are just entertainment or comfort, which if you don’t spend the money on it now, you can travel and have the time of your life.You would be surprised at how much all the little things you don’t need add up.
Write Down ALL OF YOUR EXPENSES
“To get what we have never had, we must do what we have never done.”
If you really want to start saving money for travel, buying a house, or any goal for that matter this is the most pivotal thing you need to start doing right meow.
It’s difficult to know how you can improve your savings unless you write down your expenses. Writing them down is the compass steering you towards the horizon. It cuts through the fog and paints as clear as day where you can cut the fat.
The problem people have with this step isn’t that it’s hard. It’s pretty easy to write down everything you spend. The problem is that it’s EVEN EASIER NOT TO DO.
Very few people realize the importance of being able to physically see where their money goes in a month. We either are too embarrassed or ashamed because we know we are buying frivolous things, or we think it’s too simple and therefore a waste of time. It is extremely simple, and for that reason we want to challenge you to track your daily expenses for an entire month! EVERY SINGLE PENNY!
See where your hard earned dollars go for one month and you will develop a habit that will seriously transform your life, whether it’s for travel or any other thing you want. If you don’t believe us read why you should write down every expense from someone else here.
There are lots of great apps out there to help you get started. We currently use iExpensit which is great but not very pretty. We will be switching next month to a recommended newer app called Trail Wallet which is more catered to travelers and visually pleasing.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, whether you use your own app or use pen and paper. You can use this information to make changes on how you spend your money and save for your future goals. We are passionate about this. Using these steps we formed the building blocks that helped us save $15,000 a person in a year. That’s $30,000 we saved while traveling.[/text_output]
Bonus – Pay Yourself First
A year from now you may wish you had started today.
That’s right, PAY YOURSELF FIRST. Before you pay the companies, your bills, your rent, anyone, pay yourself! Treat your savings like it is a non-negotiable bill you have to pay. Do this now by setting up your next paycheck to automatically have a percentage go directly into a savings account. Get one if you don’t have one.
If you are unsure how much to put your first paycheck than start small. See if you can spend $5 less a day until your next paycheck. If you can, then you know you can afford to pay yourself $150 a month. If you can afford to save more do it, if it’s less than do that (but try a bit harder next time.)
Don’t wish you’d started next year. Start now! If you want to start seeing how much it costs for us to travel around the world, how we budget ourselves, and the things we do like us on facebook, or follow us on instagram and twitter and we will share with you our monthly budgets for countries, as well as budget tips along the way. Share this with someone you know who is considering traveling, but not sure how much it will cost to help them realize their dream is more attainable than they think!
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