Travel is a way of life for me. Traveling as often as I can, for as long as I can, comes down to how much money I have saved. The quality of my trips are very important to me so I save. A LOT.
Here are budgeting tips that have made it possible for me to travel more and with better quality:
1. Cable. How much TV do you really watch? Is it that important to have 200 channels when you only watch ten? All I really needed was the Internet to watch most of my shows, so I got rid of cable. I bought a digital antenna that would pick up local channels, paid a one-time fee for a streaming device (i.e. Apple tv, Roku, etc.) and signed up for Hulu. These small changes put an extra $150 in my pocket per month.
2. Cell phone bill, groceries, etc. We all have cell phones. If you have two, consider living with only one. I had a cell phone for work and another for personal use. I got rid of my personal cell and between cable and the cell phone bill I saved almost $300. Just like that. If you only have one phone consider signing on for cheaper plans or negotiating a rate with your mobile career.
3. Groceries. We typically spend a lot of money on quick meals (box or frozen) and processed foods when grocery shopping. It’s convenient, I get it, but it costs more, not just with health but also with money. I stopped buying prepackaged food and cut down on the amount of snacks I was buying. Instead bought more fresh fruits and vegetables. I spent one Saturday cooking a few meals and freezing them for the week. This has been THE BIGGEST money saver!
4. Eating out. These seemingly harmless $5 or $10 fast food meals everyday REALLY add up. Let’s say that instead of making my breakfast, taking my lunch with me and making my own tea/coffee I bought these things each day for one week. Here’s how I was spending:
Breakfast: sandwich, coffee, etc. - $6
Lunch - $8
Afternoon coffee break for that iced mocha - $5
That’s $19 a day. Times 5? $95 a week. $380 a month. Adding dinner to that? Well, you get the point.
With all these changes I saved more than $1000 per month. Multiply that by 12 and in one year you can comfortably afford more than one trip to that five-star, ten-day stay at an exotic local. Making little changes to the way we think about money is the first step to the travel life of your dreams.