The question I probably get the most is how to afford travel. People tell me they can’t afford to travel because it’s too expensive and there are too many costs involved. Yes, traveling costs money, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable! It drives me crazy when I hear these people say they can’t afford to go anywhere or do anything and yet, there we are, in a Starbucks while they get a coffee.
There are so many small ways you can work towards saving more money for travel and I guarantee you won’t even miss most of them. It’s about changing your habits to save a little every way you can and it’ll add up to a lot by the end.
Of course a big part of learning how to afford to travel is finding the best deals and knowing where to look, but that’s for another post. Even if you don’t want to save money specifically for travel, these tips are a surefire way to save money period and become a more financially savvy traveler.
How to Afford Travel: 40 Ways to Instantly Save Money
1. Don’t buy Starbucks or drinks out, and if you must cut back.
2. Use coupons. Whether you’re going to the grocery store or out to eat, there are coupons for everything so use them!
3. Make a list before you go shopping and stick with it. A lack of planning is the reason for most of my impulsive and unnecessary buys.
4. Don’t eat out as much. It will seriously add up.
5. Have movie nights in instead of going out to the movie theater.
6. BYO beer or wine to restaurants if possible. A lot of ethnic restaurants do this due to liquor licenses, but others allow you to period. This is a great way to save money since the prices are marked up but still have a great night out.
7. Fix your clothing instead of throwing it out. Remove stains at home and sew holes to the best of your ability rather than going out to buy a new items.
8. Buy household staples in bulk, especially when they’re on sale.
9. Similar to 8, plan ahead and buy the things you need when they’re on sale rather than waiting until the last minute and getting stuck paying 20% more.
10. Shop to your grocery store’s special offers for the week. I have saved probably hundreds of dollars a year by doing this.
11. Opt for generic or drugstore brands. There are so many amazing drugstore brands out there that are so a fraction of the cost than their high-end counterparts but do just as amazing a job.
12. Use the library instead of buying books. These days a lot of libraries offer e-books as well so you don’t even need to take the time out of your day to physically go there.
13. Make sure you know all the benefits your company offers. You could be missing out on a huge saving here by not knowing about a free gym membership, subsidized public transport, etc.
14. Invest in a crockpot. This will save you so much time and can make it super easy to make delicious meals on a budget.
15. Take public transportation or carpool.
16. Grow your herbs rather than buying them. Invest in the plants and never have to buy again.
17. Try to fix things yourself first before you call someone in. You’d be surprised what a little determination and Googling can do to save you money.
18. Bring your own lunch to work rather than buying it.
19. Make gifts for people instead of buying them.
20. Plan your holiday or birthday shopping ahead of time and look for the sales.
21. Shop around before buying anything. I can’t stress this enough, don’t just go out to the first store you see and buy something because it might be half the cost right next door. Most of this you can do from the comfort of your own home.
22. Invest in appliances and utensils that will last. Although you pay more upfront you’ll save so much not needing to repair or replace them.
23. Have a yard sale. Not only will you bring in a little bit of extra cash but you’ll also declutter your life and that always feels really great.
24. Make sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room and don’t overdo the heating or air conditioning. No need to go to the extremes and it’ll save you money.
25. Use every free rewards program you can. A lot of stores offer rewards program where you can earn coupons or money off for doing nothing other than just shopping like you would normally.
26. Get the best bank account you can. I use Ally and I absolutely love it, I don’t pay a fee to have the account and I pay zero ATM fees.
27. Always always always pay your credit card bills on time.
28. Attend free events in your community rather than paying to go out.
29. Utilize free museums.
30. Make sure you’re getting the best value plan for your money. Whether it’s Internet or cell phone, make sure you’re getting the best deal out there and if you’re not using all of it consider downgrading.
31. Make someone a card instead of buying one. You don’t even need to do this by hand, there are tons of online card making services.
32. If furnishing an apartment, make sure to take your time and find stuff at the best deals possible.
33. Use cash back services like TopCashback. You don’t have to do anything except click through the store you want to buy from and then go and do what you were going to do anyway. Why miss out on 5% for the sake of one extra click?
34. Instantly save on travel bookings by using plugins like Honey and utilizing reward points like Orbucks.
35. Never let food go to waste. Look for ways to incorporate things that are about to expire and always use leftovers.
36. Learn to haggle. Although this doesn’t come in handy in every day life, lots of markets will haggle down a price, but not if you don’t try.
37. Get your hair done at a beauty school because they’re almost always cheaper and the stylists are always supervised so you’re unlikely to end up with a hair cutting horror story.
39. Utilize student or young people discounts. You don’t have to be a student to save money, a lot of things will offer a discount for being under 25. Do your research and find out who does this and go there.
40. Save your change and then at the end of each month cash it out. If you keep the change in one place it’s unlikely to get lost and you’ll end up with some extra dollars at the end of the month.
41. Most importantly, keep a budget. If you’re just spending willy nilly you’ll never be able to save. Know what you’re spending and what you’re spending it on and keep track of it all. You might find there are extra things you can cut back on you’d never have thought of.
There are so many ways to save money for both travel and other things. Never say you can’t afford to travel, just be smart with your money and prioritize spending. What are your favorite ways to save money and how do you afford to travel?