I always hear how “lucky” I am to go all these places. Luck does not have anything to do with it. Life is all about choices. I choose to save up my money and travel. I’d rather spend my money on experiences and making memories than other things. I’m not rich. I have a strict budget. I made changes in my life to allow me to be “lucky” enough to travel.
One of the things I do differently than most of the people I know is I don’t have cable or satellite service in my home. As more people cut the cord it is becoming less weird. But I have not had that service since 2005. Even the basic plans run about $100 a month. That is $1200 a year in tv alone! Instead I watch Netflix or Amazon prime videos.
Another “weird” cut is in regards to edibles. I don’t get coffee on the way to work and I pack my lunch every day. Figure $6 and $10 for lunch that’s $16 a day, $80 a week and $4,160 a year. We also cook dinner at home rather than grabbing take out or going out. It’s cheaper and healthier. I know every time we go out or get take out it costs us an average of $40. Some people never cook, but let’s say you only do it 3 days a week… that’s $120+ a week or $6,240+ a year depending on frequency and your tastes.
There are other ways to cut costs and save up instead of going out to the bar or out to dinner with friends go to someone’s home and have everyone bring a dish to share and something to drink. You still get a fun night with your friends but at a fraction of the cost! You can do theme (poker, board games, movie, holiday or pick a country or a region and try something new). Think before you buy something new. Do you really need (insert item here) or would you rather (insert activity you want to do on your trip here). Where you may really need new shoes because yours are worn out you may not really need a new video game, purse or other item. You get the idea. Just get a little creative.
So let’s add up the totals from above: $1200 in TV, $4160 in coffee and lunch and $6240 in dinner. That’s $11,600! You could take a nice trip for that! Now, you don’t have to give up going out completely, you can cut back and still save a ton. Maybe coffee is a must for you but you compromise by packing a lunch 4 out of 5 days and going out with your friends on Fridays. In our house we only go out/get take out 1 meal a week, usually on the weekend. Choices. It’s all about you and what you can and can’t do.
Once you are saving for your trip you need to put that money aside. We split our savings into 1/2 goes into savings for emergencies and 1/2 goes to the travel fund. People do their funds differently. Some put cash in a jar or envelope. I like to have my savings go into the bank I use for my banking so if something happens I can easily transfer money to my checking account. My travel fund goes into a different bank. That way I don’t see the “extra” money in my checking account balance.
Wow that was a lot! Time to look at your finances and start a plan you can live with.