Ok so today I want to share some money saving tips that I personally use specifically when it comes to saving for vacation. Obviously you can apply these methods and techniques for saving up for many things (a car, new clothes, savings account, whatever you want), but I just want to show you exactly what I do to be able to afford to travel at any given time. If you know me, you know it is no secret how much I love to travel. I would much rather spend my money on experiences and exploring new places rather than material things.
Of course I prefer to plan vacations out in advance, but many times I find myself taking spur of the moment trips. I’ve planned and booked a flight to Dallas and road tripped from there to New Orleans with two week’s notice. Booked a trip to California the day before I’ve flown out. Decided the day of to drive all the way to Oklahoma (8+ hours) and made it before sunset. You get the idea. Traveling can get pretty expensive, but I’ve found that if you can get creative with ways to save your money, you’ll find you’re able to go near and far with little to no debt and still have money in the bank. Here are some ideas that have really helped me manage my money better and allowed me the freedom to travel:
- Open a vacation savings account. I opened a savings account specifically for vacation separate from my regular checking and savings account. I make small deposits in this account once or twice a month as my income allows. I don’t allow myself to touch this money unless I’m purchasing something travel-related (plane tickets, hotel stays, vacation outfits, money for meals, etc.). I would recommend putting in anywhere from $25 – $100 a month (or even bi-weekly) if you can afford to. I usually do this right after I get paid so that there’s no excuse not to and then just use the rest of my paycheck accordingly. Better yet, I would recommend setting up automatic transfers from your checking account so you don’t even notice it. I started doing this several years ago and it’s worked really well for me. Plus, you’ll be earning a little interest on it too. Another route you could take if you think you might still spend it would be to open up an account at a separate bank and have your money automatically deposited there. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Save your spare change. I have been keeping a change jar for a while now and any time there’s spare change laying around or I find some when I’m doing laundry, at the bottom of my purse, etc., it goes in the jar. It may not add up really quickly, but it certainly does add up. We’re currently saving up to get my boyfriend a passport and almost have enough after just a few months 🙂
- Pick up a part-time job. If you have the time, take on a part-time or temp job (think Uber/Lyft, babysitting, bartending, etc. for some extra $$) or even pick up more shifts at your regular job if you can and put that money aside for travel only. When I was getting ready to go on a Caribbean cruise, I picked up a third job working as a cocktail waitress one or two nights a week for several months. I acted as if that money didn’t exist outside of my regular income and just deposited those checks and tips directly into my vacation account. It’s not particularly fun taking on more work, but being able to avoid having to charge things to your credit card and having extra spending money when vacation rolls around makes it well worth it.
- Sell things you no longer use. Have clothes or shoes you no longer wear taking up space in your closet? Items around the house that you no longer want or need? Try re-selling these items for some extra cash. You can usually make some pretty decent money by taking your things to a consignment store or a place that buys clothes outright. Also, joining resale pages on Facebook in your area or selling via Craigslist, eBay, etc. are some other great ways to bring in some money. This is also a great way to declutter your space 🙂
- Split up your tax return. For the last few years, when I’ve gotten my tax return, I try to spend it pretty wisely. I usually treat myself to something small like getting my nails done and split the rest into thirds. A third goes towards paying off some bills. Another third goes in savings (I believe you should always have some money in savings – you never know when you might need it). The rest goes into my vacation account. This gives me a decent amount of extra money for traveling and ensures that I don’t go wasting it on something I don’t really need.
- Cut back on extras. If you have ever added up what you’ve spent on Starbucks and/or fast food and dining out in a month before, it can be a surprisingly large amount. Not only is it bad for your health, but also terrible for your finances. Add up your totals you’ve spent on these items over the last few months. Moving forward, take a percentage of what you would have spent on these things and set it aside for travel. Make your own coffee, get a smaller size or cut back on how often you’re purchasing it. Pack your lunch and cook at home instead of dining out. These small changes can definitely add up to some big savings. I can promise sipping cocktails on the beach will taste so much better than that frappe sitting at work.
- Treat extra income like it doesn’t exist. When I get extra money, I always plan ahead on how I want to spend it (I’m frugal with my money, but hey, I work many hours for it). For example, my plan for when I get a promotion/raise at work (which should be about the equivalent of the income I’m making at my part time job per month) is to continue living the way I am now. Even though at that point, I could afford to quit my part time job, I plan to continue to work there and split those paychecks in half between my regular savings and my vacation savings and everything else just comes out of my regular paycheck at my day job. Another example would be taking maybe a work bonus or a gift of money from a birthday or Christmas and setting a little aside for yourself and splitting the rest between your savings. I don’t feel deprived at all because at the end of the day, if there’s something I really want, the money is there if I need it, but I love being able to save up for one of the things I’m most passionate about – seeing the world.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I’m always looking for new ways to save more money so if you have some ideas you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments below!
Also, within the next week, I’m going to be hosting my first Facebook giveaway! If you aren’t already, be sure to follow my Facebook page to find out when the giveaway goes live!