I’m not gonna lie, saving is hard. It takes a lot of self-discipline and determination to reach your saving goals. Getting started is the hardest part so I’ve put together this post about creative ways to save money for travel (or anything) that won’t make you feel sad and restricted.
I believe that saving money is important and that it becomes really easy once you have a strong reason “why”.
Your “why” can be anything like:
- Saving to quit your job and travel (like we did)
- Buy a home
- Buy something you’ve always wanted
- Become debt free
- Your kids’ education
The list is endless. I know saving isn’t always sexy, but it’s necessary if you want to have financial independence, live debt free and travel.
Finding my “why” helped me save over $30,000 in less than 8 months to quit my job and travel!
With these different ways to save money, you’ll end up saving money without even realizing it. You’ll wake up one day and notice that your bank balance is much more than it used to be without feeling like you’ve had to sacrifice everything fun in life.
To bring you the best ideas, I’ve collaborated with a bunch of money-savvy bloggers who’ve shared their best tips for saving money for travel.
Pin it for later!
Creative ways to Save Money For Travel
One effective way I save money for travel is by participating in clothing swap parties. Clothing swap parties are a fun way to save money and de-clutter your closet at the same time. Instead of buying new clothes, you swap or trade with people at the party.
I’ve attended clothing swap parties organized by my group of friends but I have also seen clothing swap parties also advertised in the local paper and run by local councils.
The aim of the party is to take along clothes that are still in good condition but you no longer wear to then swap clothing with others.
Be aware, different parties have different rules. The parties organized by my friend are quite casual, as we are all friends, so we don’t worry about how many items each person brings and takes home.
At larger council run parties they sometimes have rules such as you can only swap the number of items you bring along, sometimes they also value the clothes and you can only swap with similarly valued clothes.
I have found these parties to be such a money saver for restocking my wardrobe with the essential items that I need and have saved hundreds of dollars for travel by attending swap parties.
I highly recommend organizing your own clothing swap parties with your friends. You can reduce your clothing budget to almost zero and get a “new” wardrobe for free! It’s a fun and easy way to save money for travel. – Ingrid from Fabulous and Fun Life
Use cash back apps for purchases
In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever to make free money online for things you’re purchasing anyways.
My favorites apps that give me free money are:
- Drop App – Money for using your card instead of cash
- Acorns app – invests the change from purchases automatically
- Ebates – Gives you a percentage of your online purchase back
- Ibotta – gives you money back for grocery purchases
You can find out details about each of these and more apps to make money online in this post.
I save all the extra cash that I make for free using these apps and have been able to save thousands already!
Use Apps to Automate your savings
Trim is a secure app that monitors the transactions made with your debit/credit card and automatically negotiates your bills for you.
Trim has saved users BILLIONS of dollars in this month alone!
When you sign up for Paribus, it monitors your online purchases based on the receipts in your inbox and if the price of your purchase goes down, it gets your REFUND AUTOMATICALLY!
You don’t have to go into the store or do anything at all and they’ve already saved users over $20 MILLION!
One easy way to save money to travel is to meal plan. Groceries and eating out can cost you hundreds of dollars per month. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to save money when you eat at home and only buy groceries you’ll actually eat vs throw out because it’s spoiled.
These tips and tools have helped families save over $500 per month just by meal planning. These savings quickly add up for travel. In order to be successful at meal planning, you will need a system that these recipes are easily accessible.
Personally, I like to copy or print them and keep them in my meal planning & recipe binder.
The next step is to sit down at a specific time each week and make a plan for meals. Check your pantry and freezer and use up groceries you have on hand.
If this seems like too much time and energy, I recommend signing up for the $5 Meal Plan. They do all the work for you, have customizable meal plans based on your preferences and provide the grocery lists all for $5 a month! You can even try it risk-free for 14 days! It saves so much time and is so cheap that it’s worth it for me.
Once you have a plan, you won’t be tempted to pick up take out or go out to eat as often. Not only does having a meal plan save you money but it will also reduce stress.
Need more help? Be sure to check this awesome post on101 meal planning tips for ideas on how to meal plan for you and your family. You’ll eat better and save a lot of money to travel too!
automate savings in a High-Interest Savings Account
We travel several times a year with a combination of international and domestic travel with our two children under 7. Traveling was something that would always be an important part of our life and now that our children are school-aged, it means we have less flexibility with when we can travel.
This can make things a bit more expensive since we can only travel when they don’t have school. To save money for travel quickly and painlessly, we’ve budgeted our household expenses and set up an automatic savings plan with each pay.
Every payday a set amount of money is automatically transferred to our high-interest savings account. This happens before we even have time to miss the extra income each pay. It’s also out of sight and out of mind since it’s transferred to a completely separate account. This means we very rarely dip into these savings for anything other than travel-related expenses.
To do this, you need to have a clear idea on your family budget so you can determine a realistic amount to save that won’t leave you broke. This amount will add up quickly over time, especially if you keep it going all year round, so even while you are off on your next adventure, your travel savings will start growing again for the next trip.
Negotiate your rent
One of the best ways to save for travel (or just in general) is to bring down your recurring expenses.
One of the most effective ways that we’ve found to do this is by negotiating our rent to a lower cost.
We’ve been able to save hundreds of dollars every single month, which helped us to save enough for a fourteen month trip around the world. It also helped us afford to go an insanely expensive, but oh so worth it, last minute cruise to Antarctica.
So how can you do it?
Start by looking up comparable houses or apartments in your area and getting a sense of the market. If there are similar places going for a lower rate, approach your landlord at the end of your lease.
All you have to do is say something along the lines of, “We really like this place and we’d love to extend our lease, but we’ve done some research and we feel like our rental rate is not as competitive as some of the other places nearby. Is there anything you can do about that?”
And then just wait. Endure the uncomfortable silence and see what they say.
If you have a good relationship with your landlord and have proved that you’re a good tenant then you are worth something to them. Good, reliable tenants, are hard to find so they likely don’t want to go through the pain of finding a new tenant or risk the cost of having their house or apartment empty for a month or two.
Even a small reduction can add up since this is a monthly expense and you can put that money straight to your savings!
Cancel your Gym Membership
If you don’t go to the gym consistently, paying for a monthly membership is a huge waste of money.
Instead of wasting money, you can save hundreds of dollars by using FREE online resources and working out at home or outside.
There are tons of amazing workout videos available on YouTube and you can find tons of workout routines on Pinterest.
Despite what you might think, you don’t actually need equipment to get in shape. Many effective workouts, including HIIT, are done using just your bodyweight.
If you prefer using weights, then buy a set of light and heavy dumbbells.
If lifting weights isn’t your thing, but you want to get active, I suggest getting a cheap jump rope and start doing jump rope exercises. They’re an efficient way to quickly get in shape and burn fat.
You’ll still be able to reach your fitness goals without spending on a gym membership.
As the gullible consumers that we are, we tend to opt in for unlimited subscriptions thinking that we’re actually going to be saving money.
Unfortunately, more often than not, we never use subscriptions to their full potential and end up wasting money that we could be saving for travel!
Some examples of subscriptions you may consider canceling to save money are:
- Amazon prime
- Gym memberships
- Monthly bus passes
- Costco memberships
Take some time and figure out if you’re actually getting your money’s worth by having your subscriptions. If not, cancel them! You can also see if there are friends or family with whom you can split costs for things like Netflix and Spotify to reduce your costs!
I used to buy a monthly bus pass because it was unlimited rides, but when I did the math it turned out that I was spending $20 more per month by purchasing the monthly pass instead of just paying the one-time fares. So now, I just pay as I go and will save over $200 this year!
Ditch your Car
One of the quickest ways we save money for travel is by ditching the car and using other forms of transportation as much as possible.
We’re fortunate and live close to our daughter’s school, the center of town, shopping centers, and the beach so for us,it really doesn’t take any longer to walk than it would to drive, find a car park then walk to where we’re going.
In fact, walking is much more convenient on most days!
If you live further from things, consider using public transportation or riding your bike. It may take a little longer to get to your destination, but the savings will be worth it. You will save on car payments, gas, maintenance, and parking. Driving is an expensive luxury!
This simple change of walking instead of driving, means I only fuel my car once each month, costing us about $50. Previously, I would need to fill the car up every two weeks, and sometimes weekly. We are saving up to $150 each month in fuel costs alone.
My daily highlight is walking from school in the afternoon, and hearing my girl chatter as we wander home. We often walk with some classmates, and their parents, or say hi to neighbors along the way. It’s been such a positive change in our lifestyle, that the money saved is really just the icing on the cake! – Lisa at Run Eat Sleep Repeat
Stop buying BRAND NAME PRODUCTS
This is really a no-brainer, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.
We all know that brand name products charge a premium because they’ve spent years developing their reputation and brand.
However, many times you can get the almost identical product for half the price by purchasing the no-name brand.
Every dollar counts! Start using alternative brands and save more money for travel!
I’ve saved over 30% on my grocery bills just by switching to the lesser known brands.
FInd cheaper entertainment options
Another obvious one, an easy way to save money for travel (or for anything for that matter) is to limit spending on entertainment.
Everyone will have their own definition of entertainment – you need to evaluate yours and see where you can save. For me it includes eating out, buying booze and activities. I don’t cut it out completely, but limiting it to once or twice a month has already saved me hundreds of dollars.
If you can’t cut out entertainment easily, then finding cheaper options is also a great way to save money for travel. Instead of taking your family to the movies for $100, you could take them to the local trampoline park for $50 instead.
You can also do many things for free or get outside in nature. Take advantage of Netflix for movie nights or go to the lake or park.
Instead of going out for dinner with friends, host a potluck at your place and make it BYOB. Picnics in the park are still fun and is an inexpensive date. They’re even more fun with your group of friends.
Instead of buying toys for your kids, encourage them to save their own money if they want new toys. This teaches them the value of money and also allows you to save more money for travel without being the bad guy! – Lindsay at Kayaking Fisherman
Make coffee at home
It’s often surprising to see how small things we purchase day to day end up costing a lot of money each year. One of those things is daily coffee from your local coffeehouse.
Yes, we all love to grab a takeout coffee. But the cost adds up fast and if you are struggling to save for your next trip, making coffee at home is a really easy way to save more money for travel.
The average cost of a cup of coffee from one of the large retailers in the US is $3.25. The annual cost of that daily cup of joe for just one person is nearly $1200. If you order a croissant with your coffee, you can almost double that annual cost to $2200!
So our best tip for saving money for travel? Buy a good quality grind and brew coffee maker and make great coffee at home. By our calculations, the average cost of a cup of coffee made at home with fresh coffee beans and milk is around $0.50. A good home coffee maker will cost anything from $150 to $500. A croissant from the grocery store bakery will cost less than a $1.
If you do the math you will see that you can still have a great coffee and snack every day and save up to $1500 in a single year, even more the year after! One small change and you can buy that airfare to an exotic location far away from home in no time.
join LOYALTY PROGRAMS AND get free stuff
By signing up for loyalty programs, you can get a lot of stuff for free and also get insider information on sales and discounts.
Don’t spend extra money – but instead of paying for things at full price, save money for travel by purchasing items only when they’re on sale, gain points to redeem for free stuff and by getting free birthday goodies!
Starbucks and Sephora both give you free gifts on your birthdays and many discounts and rewards for making purchases.
Here’s a list of other 235 Birthday Freebies you should try to take advantage of!
I hope that this has helped you realize that there are so many creative ways to save money for travel, and many of them are super easy to start implementing today!
Saving money can be easy when you start to change your mindset, focus on you why and start automating your savings. You don’t have to sacrifice everything you love doing to save money, just be smart/strategic and you’ll start saving money really quickly and easily.
For more ways to save money, you can check out some of these posts.
You got this! If this was helpful, comment and share 🙂 I’d love to hear from you!
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