“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half your clothes and twice the money.” – Unknown
I was once asked by someone how I can afford to travel. Most people assume that my parents pay for my trips or I get paid tons of moolah, while I want the latter to happen, I’m still working my way towards it.
Years of traveling taught me that there is no fast way to save money unless you bet in the lottery and actually win. And they said that there’s a huge chance of you getting struck by a lightning than winning the lottery. The good news is, you don’t have to get struck by lightning to afford traveling. And it can be fairly easy to save travel money.
I was hesitant in writing this post because I’m probably the last person you want to get advice from when it comes to saving money. As someone who has been working online since 2011, I console (and treat) my self with lots of online shopping. I mean have you tried shopping online? It’s addictive! My wallet was safe for years as an introvert who can’t deal with shopping in-store. But when online shopping rose like titans, my wallet has been thinner than my waist (working up a storm in here to make it the other way around).
But after much thought, I sifted through all my experiences and came up with easy ways on how to save money to start traveling!
1. Discontinue any subscription that you no longer use. Or if you have more than one subscription for something that has the same benefits, pick your favourite and unsubscribe the other one. A good example is Spotify and Apple Music. Do you really need both? It may not cost a lot but recurring payments can add up.
2. If you live in a building with a gym and you have a gym membership you barely use, let’s not kid ourselves here. Go for a run, do outdoor exercises in the beach or the park, best of all, it’s free!
3. Do you eat out a lot? Pick a day of the week where you eat out and start cooking most of your meals at home. If you’re a student or renting a room only, plan your meals wisely. Don’t let yourself go hungry before picking up a place to eat. I love eating out when I was living alone and the money I spent on takeouts and dining out made me rethink my life after accounting my expenses.
4. Buy yourself a really cute tumbler that you will actually use. You can make your own coffee, milk tea or simply bringing water wherever you go. If you’re a coffee drinker that buys to-go coffees every morning, you will save so much money at the end of the month. Do I really need to buy this expensive coffee or can I make one at home and save money for a week in a beach? Your choice.
5. Use cash more often than your cards. It’s really easy to go way up your budget when you use credit or debit cards all the time. If you go shopping knowing you only have a fixed amount you can spend, you will be more mindful than if you know the sky’s the limit with your card.
6. Be more efficient in running errands. As someone who works from home, I always do more than one errand at a time when I go out of the house. If I need to pay my insurance, I will usually opt to working in a cafe or meet a friend for coffee, pay bills, buy groceries or go shopping. You’ll save time and gas if you drive a car.
7. I love online shopping because it’s not only convenient but sometimes, it also costs cheaper than the ones you can find in the stores. Always make a list of what you need to buy and see if you can find it cheaper online.
8. I have rewards cards that I earn points or cash back whenever I buy something. I have also availed a free flight because I earned a lot of points from flying frequently.
9. Don’t be afraid to try local products. I grew up with my relatives sending products from abroad which is why I love imported products. But now that I’m older, I love trying out local products. They’re not only affordable but it also helps the economy.
10. Buy in bulk if you know you’re going to use it. I live with my sister’s family and parents so buying in bulk saves me money. Tissues, bigger laundry bottles, and large frozen food packages may look like they cost more but they actually cost less if you compare it when buying their smaller versions for the same weight.
11. Buy a service that caters your needs. I don’t own a postpaid plan so I have to enrol in my service provider’s mobile packages. I usually go for something with higher internet MBs with free texts. I don’t do much calls because I’m awkward like that so I find a mobile package that works for my work and personal needs.
12. Investing your money is better than just saving it. Don’t rely only in one income. Have at least three.
13. Buy classic pieces that you can wear in different seasons. Black or white tee, good fit jeans, rubber shoes and high quality intimates. They might cost more but they will last longer. Always go for quality not quantity.
14. Make use of your internet. You can skip the cable package and watch online.
15. If you pay too much for your rent, try finding a housemate to split the bills. If you have your own house and planning to travel, find someone who can rent your place while you’re not there.
16. Shop products off-season. You can save so much money just by using this tip. Buying gifts in advance, jackets in the summer or swimwears during winter. Those Christmas wrappers cost less post Christmas!
17. Before buying the bigger versions of products you want to try, ask the salesperson if they have samples of it. You’ll definitely save some bucks and find out which products works well. I wish I knew this then because I always buy the regular size and find out that I don’t like it after I use it.
18. I recently went to Poland and Czech Republic and every time I go shopping, I always pay for the plastic bags. I could buy a cake with the amount I paid for the plastic bags I used! Imagine how much you can save if you buy a reusable bag and use it every time you shop.
19. I sign up in newsletters in online stores that I love because I get all the deets from sales to free shipping promos! I live far from the big city so the shipping fee costs a lot. If your friends are into online shopping, ask them if they are planning to buy something so you can split the cost with them.
20. Meal prep your meals if you can. You’ll not only eat healthier but you can also save lots of time and money! There are so many meal prep ideas on Instagram and Pinterest depending on your budget. There’s also little chance of food wastage because you plan your meals.
21. Start selling your stuff that are in good condition. There are so many websites you can sell it on or host a garage sale with your friends and use the money for a squad travel!
22. Book in advance if you can. I love booking hotels and flights in advance because they usually cost less.
23. Compare flight and hotel prices from third party apps and the official website. They usually differ in prices.
24. Buy things you need and splurge only as a reward. I love candles and oil burners. I love chocolates. I love books. These are things I can live without but I chose not to. I use them to reward myself for being productive or if I reach my goal.
25. Host get togethers instead of dining out. There are so many things you can organize, healthy dinner with yoga night with your girlfriends, a pajama party for a birthday, a costume brunch with family or a simple snack with friends.
26. Unless it’s not working, keep using it. A lot of people spend so much in gadgets. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy the latest phone but if you don’t really need it, why buy it? I’m still using my iPhone 6 and it’s still working well. If you really want a new one, sell your old phone and buy a new one. I also still use my iPad 2 for reading and playing games because I’m sentimental like that. I chose to keep using my older gadgets and in return I was able to travel to 6 countries after I got my iPhone 6. No regrets!
27. DIY what you can at home. I love journals but most cost a lot which is why I love DIY-ing my bullet journal because it’s also like a therapy. I get to use my creative skills in designing my bullet journal and it’s so fun doing it.
28. If you can’t do it, ask for help. If you have problems that you don’t know how to solve, ask people you know, they might know that answer. I’m not talking about relationships just to be clear. *grin* If the drain is clogged or there’s no running water in the faucet, skip the unnecessary costs and learn to fix simple house problems. Some people you know might even be willing to help for free.
29. Save money from your electricity by opening up your windows during the day and night. The weather is quite cool over here in the Philippines so I can keep the fan and A/C off. I don’t need to turn on the lights until after sunset as well because my room is well lit from the light outside.
30. Amp up your productivity without leaving your home. If you’re tired or working or studying in your room, change your environment. Go to the kitchen and fix yourself a drink and work there. Bring your book to the living room and read there. If you rent a room, rearrange your room and move your furnitures.