It’s pretty simple. If you want to travel, you need to save money. I don’t recommend taking all of these tips to heart. Instead, pick a few that can easily fit within your lifestyle. Remember, it’s not all about saving. Some things are worth splurging on.
Or you could take it to the extreme and move in with your parents, sell your car, shave your head, cook all your meals, buy everything used, and never drink alcohol (to name a few). That doesn’t sound very fun, but I’ve heard of a few people saving an impressive amount of money in a short period of time. Either way, give this list a look, set some goals, and save money for your next trip.
20 Tips to Save Money
(Save Money Tip 1) Track Your Spending and Set a Budget – Figure out where your money is going, cut out the bullshit, and save more money. I like to use online tools such as Mint or Personal Capital to track spending, which makes it easier to set a budget. A good rule of thumb is to set up an auto transfer to your savings account right after your first paycheck of the month. Don’t make the mistake of saving whatever’s left over at the end of the month.
(Save Money Tip 2) Get a Better Job – Pretty simple. If you make more money, you can save more money. Try and negotiate a better salary at your current job or dust off the ole resume and look for something new. If you can’t negotiate a higher salary, you could also try to get extra PTO instead.
(Save Money Tip 3) Find a Roommate – There are few tips (if any) on this list that will pad your wallet more than lowering your housing costs. Downsize to save a little or find roommates to save a lot. If family lives nearby, MOVE IN WITH THEM. This doesn’t have to be forever and it would surprise you how many millennials are doing it. Your friends might make fun of you, but you’ll get in the last laugh when you’re lounging on a beach and everyone else is grinding away at their 9 – 5 job.
(Save Money Tip 4) Grow Your Money – Have extra cash lying around? Put it to work! You should never have much cash sitting in a checking account earning 0% interest. If you need to use this cash in the short-term, open up a high-yield savings account. As of the writing of this article, the following banks are offering attractive rates:
- Ally Bank – offering 1% interest
- Barclays Bank – offering 1% interest
- Capital One – offering 0.75% interest
If your income goals are a little more long-term, open up an online brokerage account to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. You can easily do this through Robinhood, etrade, Schwab, or Ameritrade. There are typically new account incentives such as free trades and cash bonuses.
(Save Money Tip 5) Earn Extra Money on the Side – There are a lot of options in today’s shared economy. Rent out a spare room through Airbnb. Earn cash using your car through Uber or Lyft. Or freelance for a blog, which typically earns $50 – $100 per article.
(Save Money Tip 6) Lose the Gym Pass – Gym memberships are expensive, and the funny thing is, most never use theirs. You can easily buy all you need for less than $100 and get in a gym quality workout in your own home. A medicine ball, stability ball, and a few used weights should be all you need. I’ve seen great workouts with just a backpack filled with books too. Its not sexy, but it works.
(Save Money Tip 7) Live Close to Work – Not only will a shorter commute lower stress levels and make you happier, it will also keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket. Every 5 mile reduction equals ~2,500 miles saved annually. If you’re lucky enough to live within a few miles, you can also run, bike, or carpool to and from work.
(Save Money Tip 8) Brew Your Own Coffee – Americans spend an average of $1,100 per year on coffee, which is ironic given how cheap of a commodity coffee actual is. I know it might be hard giving up Starbucks, but this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t worry, with a little research, you too can make a cup of joe just as good as the barista at your favorite corner café. Or you can take advantage of the next tip.
(Save Money Tip 9) Take Advantage of Freebies at Work – Virtually all offices offer free coffee. It might taste like burnt ass, but it will still do the job. Many office complexes also have free gyms or workout rooms. Other freebies like cell phones, child care, transit, meals, and local discounts can really add up.
(Save Money Tip 10) Cook More – This is an essential skill that will not only save money, but can also improve your health. You’ll save money at home, but also at hostels when you’re traveling.
(Save Money Tip 11) Cut Out Debt – having student loans, car loans, a mortgage, or carrying a credit card balance can make it difficult to travel. Debt will follow you everywhere and adds to stress. The faster you cut down on debt, the smaller interest payments will be, and the more you’ll be able to save.
(Save Money Tip 12) Lose The Car – According to a report from AAA (found here), the annual cost to own and operate a vehicle costs $8,698. Ditch the car and start using public transit or a bike. When you need a car, you can always borrow one from friends & family or use ridesharing services. If you live in an area without quality public transit, you can swap your existing car for a cheaper and more efficient one to minimize annual operating costs.
(Save Money Tip 13) Cut the Cord – If you spend most of your free time watching TV and can’t survive without 200 channels, you’re on the wrong blog, get out of here. It’s easy to put together a quality package of content for $10 – $30 per month. This is substantial savings compared to $100+ premium cable packages. I recommend buying a $15 antenna, which now pulls in HD channels (many people don’t know that). An antenna is perfect for local programming and sports. You can supplement that with one or two of the following:
- Netflix – $10/month
- Amazon Prime – $99/year
- HBO GO $15/month
- Sling TV $20/month
(Save Money Tip 14) Get a Better Cell Phone Plan – Unlimited data, talk, and text can get outrageously expensive. Instead, get a plan that caps your data at a lesser amount, which will make your phone bill cheaper. You might have to change your habits a bit, like using Wi-Fi more, but it shouldn’t be too hard.
(Save Money Tip 15) Drink Alcohol Wisely – Recommending not drinking would save more money, but that would just be retarded. Enjoying a glass of fine wine or pint of cold brew is essential to anyone’s lifestyle. However, avoiding drinks at fancy restaurants & bars will help stay within budget. I think those $15 pomegranate infused cocktails are bullshit anyways.
(Save Money Tip 16) Stop Smoking – this is just throwing money away. If you live in New York City, where cigarettes cost $10 per pack, smoking 1 pack per day will cost $3,650 per year. This doesn’t even account for the healthcare costs associated with smoking.
(Save Money Tip 17) Cut Your Own Hair – Shave your head. This is probably easier if you’ve got a pair of balls, but there are a few options if you’re a girl too. If you know a barber, stylist, or just a friend who likes to play with scissors, ASK THEM if they will cut your hair. Otherwise, try simplifying your hair style so you don’t have to get it cut as much and at a cheaper cost. If I know one thing, most traveler’s hair looks like shit, so no one will judge you anyways.
(Save Money Tip 18) Get New Credit Cards – Read these words carefully. NEVER CARRY A CREDIT CARD BALANCE. That being said, opening up new credit cards is important to a traveler’s tool kit. Why? For the sign-up bonuses! I just signed up for a new Amex that gave me 50,000 points. If used correctly, I think I can get at least a $1,000 in value out of that alone.
(Save Money Tip 19) Buy Used Shit – Anything new costs a premium, so buy used. Buying a used car is the perfect example. Not only will it cost significantly less, but insurance costs will be cheaper too. This can apply to pretty much anything, but you’ll save the most on big ticket items.
(Save Money Tip 20) A Few Last Tips That Might Tickle Your Fancy:
- Use Coupons
- Never buy anything at full price – whether its food, clothes, or anything else, it will go on sale at some point.
- Never buy bottled water
- Get a library card – not only can you rent books, but you can also rent movies and music
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Buy a new air filter for your car
- Sell any belongings you don’t use