Money is probably my least favorite thing on earth to discuss. It seriously is pillow talk for me mainly because I had so little of it throughout college and the last two years post graduation. Money was always what held me back from traveling, and I was 100% over it. Now, I realize every person is in a unique situation, whether you work full time, go to school full time, or live in your old room from high school full time (did it). Here are a few basic tips and tricks I have utilized to save cash fast. I'm not an ambiturner, but also I am not a financial advisor. All opinions are my own.
Open A Savings Account
This is the cheesiest and most 90's image I could find on the internet and I won't lie to you pretty proud of myself. This is straight forward, but opening a savings account with your bank is going to contribute largely to your financial success. Most banks will let you open an account easily and for free. I have found my savings account to be my crutch when shuffling funds around.
My advice? EVERY time you are paid (and I do mean every time), set aside a realistic amount. If you do not know what that is, try 20% of your paycheck. Use your bank's mobile app to transfer the funds the morning after you are paid. See, now you have no excuses. I have been doing this for the past two months and have actually set aside $5,000. With some additional resources...
Keep a Travel Jar
This is for my service industry homies out there. Up until February of this year, I was working for a hotel where I received cash tips as most individuals who work in hospitality know. Why is this great? Money in your pocket. Trust me, there is nothing like whipping out the ones and getting questionable looks from store clerks at Forever 21 as you fork over your hard earned cash. Why is this not ideal? You are more susceptible to spending that money.
My amazing friend Brigitte made me this jar to keep our travel savings in when we were planning our trip to Europe. I told myself this jar is dedicated to my trip and my cash tips would live in there. It is all about being dedicated toward a goal. A week before, I took the tips to the bank and had saved well over $1,000. That little wad of cash can truly add up if you are not spending it!
Use the Money Here v. Money There Method
Coined for her studies at Princeton University, The Money Here v. Money There Method has been instilled in the young thriving minds of PhD's all over...I'm completely f!*&ing with you guys, I made this up 5 seconds ago. Even though I graduated with a 2.9 in communications this method has sincerely helped me with my travel savings. Let me break down how this works: You go to Starbucks, eyeing that large venti Pumpkin Spice Latte you are going to throw down your gullet.
I venture you to think about this: that $5 you would be spending on Fall in a cup could go toward two espressos in Spain. In god damn Spain people. OR, say you are browsing Nordstrom for some ankle booties and you fall in love with a $150 pair. WHY OH WHY would you spend $150 on that pair of shoes when you can spend that much on an authentic leather jacket on the streets of Florence? Just. Stop. The trick is to instill this mentality every time you reach in your bag to grab your credit card. It will not be easy, but if you strip down to the essentials of your every day needs you'll have a sizable amount of cash left over.
Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt
I sound like my parents here, but people that travel are not drowning in debt. Well, some of them are. But you aren't going to be one of them. Why? Because you're going to pay off your damn credit card bill. Think of paying off your credit bill as a baseline for a clean travel slate. Granted, this may take longer then two months for people. I took me a better part of two years to do. However, when you are dividing up your 20% into your new savings account, take another percentage into your credit card bill.
Even if it's just the minimum payment every two weeks, anything will make a difference. The biggest silent killer? Interest charges. The more frequently you pay off your bills, the less interest accrued and the more money you are saving.
Whittle Down to the Essentials
This one hits home for me as a recovering shopping addict/coffee enthusiast/impulse purchaser. The moment I realized I truly wanted to travel was the moment I gave up on most other things I deemed as important. I could see myself wearing that dress throughout my travels, but how was I going to have the opportunity to do so without money?
Take a step back, look at your bank account and see what you're spending money on. With my bank, I can actually see what categories I spend the most money in by percentage (ask your bank about this) and cut back! Whether it be even on random money suckers like (for girls) waxing (you won't be needing that overseas), haircuts (everyone has split ends it is fine), manicures/pedicures or my biggest crutch, Target shopping because lord knows you'll pick up 8 things you don't need (seriously, avoid it). Keep it simple: Bills, Rent, Car Payments, Credit Card Bill. You'll be amazed how much you save.
Use Helpful Apps
I am all about apps that make traveling and generally life easier, and I have found one that I have loved for saving major cash. I may end up doing an entire blog post on it to be honest. Qapital is a great way to save money toward what you care about in a fun way. It is free to download, and easy to set up. Essentially the app let's you create goals toward what you are saving for direct from your bank account and you can create rules, like in email folders.
So I have two goals, one for my Southeast Asia trip in December and a brand spanking new camera so I can take better quality photos. You can allot a certain amount each month, a percentage, a round up for each one of your purchases on your debit card, the possibilities are endless. AND they give you notifications when you hit certain goals. SERIOUSLY it is awesome, go download it right now.
***this is not a sponsored opinion. all opinions are my own.
I hope these few money saving trips assist you in your quest to travel with actual money. I know it has for me.