So, you want to travel the world but you don’t have any money? Sadly, this is the most common excuse out there for someone not to pack their bags and immerse themselves in a whole new world but I’ve got some pretty cool tips and ideas for you below. Now, you’ve probably read all the other blog posts that tell you how to save for travel but they’re pretty much all the same. Sell your stuff, cut your gym membership, stop buying coffees..etc. These are obvious but we only have so much we can sell and I can not for the life of me cut my kombucha or flat white espresso addiction so there’s got to be something else.
Well, I am currently planning a really cool trip for 2018 and obviously, I need to save some dough. I’ve already done the basics like cutting my gym membership, selling unused items and I shop second hand for clothing so I had to put together a list of ideas that would help me save enough for this trip while also paying the bills and trying to pay off as much of the new car off as possible. So, I am going to share my ten creative ways to save for travel.
1. UBER driving
Okay, this one was a pretty cool idea unless your insurance gets crazy high like mine did when I tried to add this to my policy. But, if you’ve got a clean driving record and some spare time you should definitely give this a try! Some articles claim that you can make anywhere between $100-500 a week which is awesome.
We all know what AirBnb is and depending on how much space you’re available to rent out you could make a few hundred dollars a month. Currently, I do not have any extra room in my apartment but I would definitely consider using AirBnb if I could. According to AirBnb’s website, renting my apartment here in St. Louis would get me an average of $280/ week. Obviously, that number could be higher or lower depending on where you are.
3. Walk dogs with WAG
Okay, something I’m actually going to be doing is a dog walking service through the company WAG. Applying for WAG is super simple and you’ll start walking in about two weeks. You can make up to $25/hour just for going for a walk with a cute dog. This isn’t available in small towns but if you live in a bigger city in the USA try applying!
4. Nickname your savings account
I did this when I wanted to travel to Canada, before I moved to Spain and before I traveled to Puerto Rico. When I checked my bank account and I saw that I took away five dollars at Starbucks from my trip to Spain I got really bummed and it motivated me to add and not take away from that account. You could also put a lock on your savings account and tell your bank you don’t want it lifted until your travel date!
5. Take advantage of “free days”
I just moved to St. Louis and, since never been here before, I want to do all the things the locals do and go explore. It’s pretty cool that the zoo (even though I hate zoo’s and I don’t support them), the history museum, the art museum and the science museum are always free but the Missouri Botanical Gardens has an admission fee most times. You can get in for free early morning Wednesday and Saturdays if you are a St. Louis resident. Meaning if you have a bill or something with your St. Louis address on it you bring that in and they give you a free ticket. These sorts of things are available in many major cities so just do some research before you go out on the town and you could score a free learning opportunity.
6. Stop buying stupid stuff
Okay, I admit this isn’t that creative but honestly I have a huge problem with this. I work at Whole Foods and I love food so this is a hard thing for me to deal with especially when I am trying to save money. I’m always thinking that I need a daily kombucha or a blueberry muffin when I obviously don’t, I’m just surrounded by so many temptations. If you have a problem like this just get yummy food when you go grocery shopping so that you’re excited about what you have to eat and you don’t cave in when you see someone at work who just got Panera. It won’t even phase you. This goes for all things we don’t need like magazines, things you already have, the most expensive toiletries..you get the picture.
7. Make meal plan based on whats on sale
Speaking of grocery shopping, how about shopping the fliers of your grocery store. Usually, I get my produce from the market but I get it, sometimes it’s a little more expensive. I like to meal prep based on what I find at the farmers market and then shop at Aldi, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s for the packaged goods (which I’m trying to reduce #savetheplanet). A good idea is to grab a store sale flyer or use an app like Flipp to scope out what’s on sale around you, then base your meals for the following week on that. You’ll be buying most of your stuff on sale and you’ll get bonus points if you can use coupons.
8. Use candles
This is a fun one and I’m super excited to see what your reactions are. Since it’s fall and a little chilly outside, I’m all about making our apartment cozy by throwing blankets everywhere and lighting candles. Well other than having your living room and bedroom look like an insert from a Scandinavian home magazine, using candles at night instead of turning the light switch on can save you money on your energy bill. Last month we only spent $55 on our bill and we are on track to spend about the same this month. Also, you’re helping the environment. Bonus! We use two or three big candles and then we spend about seven dollars on a pack of 100 smaller ones that we can place everywhere. They’re awesome, we’re saving money and the apartment is super cozy. Oh, we’re also trying to go as long as we can without turning on the heat. St. Louis winters can’t be THAT cold..can they?
9. Print some pictures for motivation
I think this is one of the biggest ways that helps me save money and it’s so simple. I print a picture of where I want to go and wrap it around my debit card so that when I want to pull out my card to spend $10 on lunch at Whole Foods when I already have a lunch sitting in the fridge, I see a picture of my travel destination and think “is this what I want to spend my money on?” $10 can get me basically all my meals for one day in my next travel destination. Another good idea is to make a dream board. Currently on mine are pictures of where I want to go, a picture of a blue Kia Forte with a dollar sign that I’ve written over top and then a big “x” (to indicate that I want to have it all paid off), I’ve drawn my bank account statement with target goal amount of dollars on it and a screenshot of all my student loan debts with a similar drawing over the top like I did the photo of the car. Seeing all of those every single day definitely gives me the motivation I need to save money.
10. Get to know your money
Last but not least I want you to really understand what you’re spending money on, why you really want to save and figure out how to accomplish your savings goal. I watched a really good video on YouTube by Kalyn Nicholson and she really goes into detail on how to quit bad habits, in this case spending money. My problem is spending money on food. I’ll spare you the details on why I have a problem spending money on food but I feel like many people do this. My plan of action is to have ten dollars cash on me when I start my work week and then with that I can spend it how I please. Kombucha three times a week? Yeah, sure, as long as I don’t go over I know I’m good. Tracking your money is also a good idea. I go as far as writing down everything I spent the previous week so I see exactly where my money is going. I also listen to money podcasts and audiobooks to keep me motivated. (That should be a separate topic but I wanted to keep this short).
And there you have it! My 10 creative ways to save for travel. Most of these I’ve tried myself and I have saved enough for traveling around and living in Europe and Puerto Rico so I know these work. Give them a try and pack your bags for your next adventure!