1.Research, have a goal and create a budget
If you don’t know what your aiming for and have no break down of what you need to save and what you spend, then you’ll have a very tricky time saving those pennies.
Figure out all your expenses; rent/mortgage, monthly bills/payments, how often you eat out, your trips to Starbucks, weekly entertainment, groceries receipts, etc. You may be surprised at just how quickly everything adds up.
Create a rough estimate of how much your trip will cost you and how far away it is.
Create weekly / monthly saving goals to keep you on track in order to reach your goal by the time you take off – you may need to drastically change the way you live in order to do so, but it’ll be worth it! Make travel a priority.
2. Cut down on the entertainment
Be it the happy hours, the holidays, the concerts; even those $10 gigs on a Tuesday night- it adds up, trust me! You need to lay off the luxuries while you’re saving.
Even a $20 night out is worth saving. If you allow yourself small allowances like this every so often, it’ll be hard to say no. It all adds up.
If you’re strict with yourself and follow your budget, you’ll be pretty pleased with yourself by the time you’re in Europe and can afford that show you’ve always wanted to see – once in a lifetime experiences are better than your weekly night out.
3. Put your money away
If you work over-time this month, get a bonus or find yourself with a bit of money spare, create a separate bank account or money jar to put the money in; whatever you need to do to make a point to yourself to not touch that cash. If you don’t want to open a new account, putting money in an envelope in a safe or somewhere secure is sometimes the best option – it depends on your level of self control.
4. Stop buying things
Stop shopping. Usually I find that I have everything I need until I just “pop in” to a store that I walk past. At this point, I have more self control; but I will occasionally buy just a $15 book or a cute top. It’s not worth it.
If you’ve never heard of “the latte factor,” it’s the idea that cutting back on small expenses can lead to big savings. People might argue that it’s silly to expect that much savings out of a $3 cup of coffee — it’s just three dollars, after all.
The problem with this attitude is you start saying “it’s just three dollars” to everything.
Don’t torture yourself by even allowing yourself to look, make your own coffee, and avoid the shops. You’ll see your travel fund grow exponentially by being this strict with yourself.
5. Sell your stuff
Get around to clearing out your room and selling all those clothes you never wear anymore, DVD’s you’ve been holding onto, books, etc. You can even get rid of your car and stop paying those ridiculously high monthly car payments. Use a bike, public transportation, or carpool if you can!
Put any money you make directly in that savings account or envelope.
6. Change your eating habits
When your bank statement comes through, how much of it is filled with restaurant bills, Starbucks and booze? $3 once or twice a day may not seem like much, but it quickly adds up. Note: the latte factor.
Switch the meals out for a trip to the supermarket.
Prepare your meals / lunches for work and take snacks with you. Cut down on the meals out and happy hours with your coworkers. You’ll save boatloads and you’ll probably save yourself a few calories by cooking all of your own food (i.e. knowing what goes in it) and cutting down on the booze.
7. Become a bargain hunter
This goes for saving money for travel, as well as while you’re traveling. Now, the point of saving money is so that you can enjoy yourself while traveling, but it’s all about how you want to spend your trip. You can splurge it all and go big or go home, and go home. Or you can try to make it last if you have a bit of time so that you can enjoy yourself longer.
Coupon clippings, buying sale items at the grocery store, cut down on the beauty products, travel during off peak times for public transportation, etc.
8. Get rid of subscriptions and memberships
If you don’t use your gym membership– get rid of it. That’s awesome if your resolution is to work out, but if you’re not doing it, then try out some free workouts at home. There are thousands of YouTube channels offering free workout classes of all levels and fitness types.
If you don’t need those magazines delivered to your door – cancel them. Renegotiate your mobile phone bill – or if you’re due for an upgrade, track down a cheaper rate.
9. Stay at home a little longer
Renting or buying somewhere to live, means your disposable income gets smaller and saving gets harder. Staying at home is the cheapest rent you’ll find, so embrace it and make the most of the opportunity to save (if your parents are so kind to allow this option.)
If you’ve already moved out, in order to cut down on the bills look for a cheaper place to rent or move back home for a short period of time.
If you’re adventurous, there are also apps in which you can crash at peoples homes i.e. Couchsurfing, or house sit for people either in your own city, or traveling elsewhere using MindMyHouse
10. Use cash
Try having $40 in your wallet a week allocated for certain things and that’s all; a weekly stipend for eating out and entertainment. When that $160 for the month is gone, so is the eating out and the paid entertainment. You’ll have to get creative and enjoy free entertainment such as watching movies at home, going outdoors, hiking, or having friends over for dinner and games.
Being able to actually see the cash leave your wallet (rather than just swiping your credit card) really makes you decide whether or not you truly need that item you’re about to buy. This truly works!
11. Ditch your car
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, you could quite easily sell your car and get around by foot, bike, shared rides or public transport. Especially for couples who own two cars. Sell one of them and share the second. Cars are the biggest money guzzlers – insurance, gas, monthly payments, parking and maintenance, it’s never-ending!
Sell your car and put that money towards your next trip or paying off some debt. Walking and biking are great ways to get exercise, while public transport options are also very affordable and practical.
12. Give DIY Gifts
Rather than purchasing presents for friends and family who are celebrating, make them something. A handmade gift is much more thoughtful anyways. Check out Pinterest for some excellent DIY gift ideas.
13. Sign up for Pinterest
Get yourself excited by some inspirational blogs and photos from other travelers.
Traveling is worth every single penny that you save for it. Sometimes missing a big night out or selling your old clothes can seem like a lot of effort, but when you focus on WHY you’re doing it and have a clear budget written out; I believe you’ll find the motivation you need in order to reach that goal.
14. Forgo ATM Fees
This one goes for traveling especially, but also being at home. Sometimes you desperately need cash and don’t have time to find your nearest Chase or Wells Fargo. Every time you utilize another bank’s machine, you’ll pay a fee. Usually it’s about $5 per withdrawal.
Here’s a way to forgo ATM fees forever. Open a checking account through Charles Schwab and get a debit card. You can use this at any ATM in the world and will be reimbursed for ALL fees – ATM and foreign transactions.
15. Pay Off Your Balances
When you use your credit card, make sure you pay off the balance, or at the very least, the minimum amount due; otherwise interest (at a high rate) will start accruing and you’ll start back-pedaling in terms of hitting your financial goal.