1. Create a budget
No surprises here – the first step in saving money for travel? Figuring out how much you need to save for travel. For how long are you planning to be abroad? Which country or continent are you wishing to explore? Are you a fancy hotel-seeker, a hostel-dweller, or are you camping wherever you can find a spot? These things and more need to be considered when you are planning a trip.
Tip: Make sure to over-estimate how much you’ll need. There’s nothing worse than getting one month into a three-month long excursion and realizing you’ve already spent your savings.
2. Start using cash
It’s so easy to swipe your card at the grocery store, café, restaurant, shopping centre – but when you’re paying in cash, it’s hard to ignore how much you’re spending at any given time. After you’ve set up your budget, factor in monthly expenses and how much you want to save. From here, it’s up to you to decide just how much you’ll plan to spend on food, activities, and other items during the month. Take out cash in this amount. You’ll be surprised at the end of the month just how much cash you have left!
Tip: If you do have remaining cash, factor that in to how much you take out next month. You’ll save even more in the long run.
3. Get creative in the kitchen
More importantly – stop eating out. Once you’ve been saving for some time, you’ll start to realize that items you order at a restaurant could be easily created at home. In fact, cooking can be a fun, cheap activity to do alone or with friends! There are countless sources online for delicious, inexpensive recipes. Create a meal plan, and head to the supermarket. It’s usually best to shop around the store’s periphery with the produce, meats, and dairy products. The inner- aisles typically play host to the many processed foods – and those add up quickly on a shopping receipt!
Tip: Make extra helpings of recipes and freeze them for quick lunches and dinners. You’ll be surprised just how much you’ll save on those unplanned meals.
4. Take advantage of great deals
Watch out for discounts and coupons at your favorite stores and supermarkets! If you are in desperate need of wardrobe additions – head to the “Final Sale” section, where you can find excellent items for much more reasonable prices. Looking for a night out or a fun weekend excursion? Try websites such as Groupon or LivingSocial. You can sign up for free and enjoy thousands of great deals on restaurants, products, and activities throughout your city and beyond.
Tip: Download apps or sign up for newsletters at stores you frequent most. Discount codes and coupons will automatically be sent to you, and the cashier will happily scan the barcodes on your phone.
5. Enjoy the free things in life
Even with great coupons, the reality is that you may want to wait and spend that money on your trip. Take this opportunity to explore your city. You’ll be surprised at the free activities you’ll discover! Go hiking or wandering through a state park, spend an afternoon at a unique museum with no entrance fee, attend a free concert or theater performance, see if there are any fun festivals happening in the area, and more.
Tip: Browse through local newspapers in your spare time. These are a great source for happenings in your area.
6. Build a support system
Sticking to your budget is hard work. That’s why we would suggest finding someone who can keep you accountable. This can really be anyone, although it may be best to find someone who you see or talk to on a daily basis. Having an understanding third party during this time will be extremely helpful, not only to keep you on track to accomplish your goal, but also for mental support as well!
Tip: Invite your support system along on free excursions you find throughout your city. They’ll probably enjoy the activities and saving money, too!
7. Be realistic
No matter how much planning you do – life still happens. Some months, you are going to spend more money than you originally intended, and that is okay! You certainly can’t predict what may happen when you’re trying to save, so don’t worry too much. Move on, and start fresh the next month.
Tip: Don’t give up! You’re still so much closer to your adventures abroad than you were before.