One of the most common excuses people use for why they aren’t taking vacations or traveling is because they can’t afford it.
While I do understand that sometimes financial hardships fall on people and can make things tough, I also firmly believe that everyone can save for vacation if they have some discipline and know a few simple tips.
I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can do it! You can start saving today and make what you once thought were wild dreams into reality. Half of the battle is believing you can do it and making the decision to start.
Whether you have already begun saving for a special trip or you have no idea where to start, read on for my 9 most effective tips to rack up your travel fund and get yourself where you want to be!
1. Create a Budget (And Stick to It)
To some, this may seem obvious. When you want to save money for any reason, the first step is to create a monthly budget. Luckily, Jacob is an expert and taught me his ways, which has allowed me to teach some of my friends the ins and outs of budgeting. Here are the steps to create a thorough monthly budget.
- Add together your monthly income from all sources.
- Figure out how much you spend each month.
- When doing this, make a category for all of your bills and make sure you’re counting absolutely everything you spend money on (food, entertainment etc) no matter how small the amount is.
- Subtract the spending from the overall income to see how much you have left each month.
- Next, you can begin cutting your expenses. I’ll talk about that next.
2. Cut Out Everything
Okay, obviously not everything, but you’ll be surprised when you start slashing just how much you spend on unnecessary things when you’re not paying attention.
Monthly subscriptions are a great place to start. Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, HBO and whatever other streaming services you have? Pick one and cancel all the others. Check all of your other subscriptions as well and decide which ones you can live without.
Another area most people can reduce spending is on beauty products/services and eating out at restaurants. You definitely don’t need to deprive yourself of happiness day to day, but being a little more reasonable will go a long way. After all, that dream vacation will be worth it.
After you’ve cut out everything you can, update your budget to reflect your new monthly expenses. I highly recommend you allow yourself some money still for entertainment and things you enjoy. Just make sure you work that into your budget and really stick to what you’ve allotted for that category.
Then, you can decide how much you have left over and how much money you will set aside each month to go into your travel fund.
3. Start a Dedicated Travel Account
This one is really important to stay motivated. A few months into your saving, you might start to lose your inspiration and want to quit. Having a separate account for your travel fund will make it easy to see just how far you’ve come and keep you motivated to continue. Not to mention, it just makes it simplified to have it set aside.
Most banks have several different types of accounts and you can just set up a new savings account with your bank. That way, all of your travel money is separate and you can even switch up your direct deposit so every time you get paid your extra money will automatically go right into that account.
I find this very helpful because I don’t even have to think about it, but when I need some motivation, I can go right into my account and see all of my hard work and feel accomplished. Also, if it’s in another account, you will be less likely to dip into it for any reason.
4. Get a Credit Card with Good Rewards
It may not be easy for everyone to do this, but there are many benefits from it. First of all, if you can find a credit card with rewards, you will get some kind of points or money back for things that you were already going to buy anyway. Usually if you accrue points, you can redeem them for gift cards to tons of different businesses. I recommend getting gift cards for places where you regularly shop for your normal essentials, that way you can save on your monthly expenses and have more money to put into your travel fund.
The other positives of this are that using a credit card and paying it off every month will help increase your credit score, which can subsequently save you money on things like your car loan payments. Just make sure that you aren’t spending more than your budget allows and you always pay it off so you never accumulate interest or late fees, defeating the whole purpose!
5. Get Your Side Hustle On
If you have the extra time and want to expedite your savings, try finding ways you can make money on the side. Take a job driving with Uber or Lyft, rent out your spare room on Airbnb or earn up to $20/hour teaching online with VIPKid. All of these options are flexible and give you the potential to earn as much as you want.
If you really are dedicated to building your travel fund, what better way than to add more income every month?
6. Sell the Things You Don’t Need
Everyone has some things laying around the house that they can’t remember the last time they used. If you’re like me, you might have a hard time parting with these things. What if you ever need them in the future? You can’t predict what might happen! I’m telling you now, let it go.
Sell that stuff on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. All those items that are coming to mind right now, get rid of them and turn them into cash. On the other hand, if you find yourself needing something, check out these sites first to see if you can get a secondhand version for a fraction of the price.
7. Keep a Travel Jar on the Side
If you’re one of those people that’s always going to the ATM or getting cash back for things, take the extra few dollars you may have here or there and keep it all in a travel jar at your house. Although it might just be small amounts at a time, it will add up quickly and before you know it, you’ve got some spending money for your trip.
Although a proper financial expert will tell you that you shouldn’t have any money not accounted for in your budget, let’s be real, you probably will. Maybe you took out $20 for drinks but only spent $16, put those four leftover bills in the jar. You won’t miss them and they’ll be better spent on a glass of wine on your next vacation.
8. Travel Cheaper
We mentioned ways you can save everyday to pay for your travels, but we didn’t mention ways to make your travels cost less. I actually wrote an entire post dedicated to helping you save money while traveling.
There are many ways to save on flights, hotels and even spending while traveling. Look for cheap alternatives and ways to save and you’ll not only be able to travel for less, you’ll also be able to travel more and make your money go much further.
9. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
If you’re truly dedicated to achieving your travel goals, I give you lots of props. It’s definitely not easy to do and it requires a real lifestyle change. It’s important to remember why you started in the first place and give yourself constant reminders. Maybe make a vision board with pictures and motivational words to keep you focused.
Just keep going and know that you won’t be perfect all the time. Just like creating a healthy lifestyle, it’s all about balance and finding a flow that works for you and that you can maintain long term. Just keep thinking about how good it’s going to feel when you reach your goal and get to celebrate on vacation. You got this!