Here’s a truth: traveling cheaply still requires money.
Some people see that we’re young twenty-somethings who travel all over the world and immediately jump to the conclusion that we do it on our parents’ dime. Au contraire, y’all. It’s a mix of skimping on things that don’t really matter, while still finding a balance and enjoying your life. In one simple word, priorities.
Ever heard of those money-saving tips like “Cut your daily Starbucks out of your life and you’ll save $500 a year?” Yeah, no. It’s like, I enjoy my $2.50 americano every morning, and while it may save me $500, I don’t want to cut it out because it brings me a tiny dose of happiness every day. Instead of sacrificing too much, here are our favorite ways to save a crapload of money for travel.
Immediately take money out of your paycheck.
As soon as you get your paycheck, immediately deduct $50 or $100. The trick is to do it immediately as if that money were never there. If you wait until after your paycheck is all gone and then try to set money aside into a travel fund, you’ll feel like an even bigger broke a$$ b*tch. We’ve been there before, trust us.
When the money isn’t touching the continuously increasing and decreasing numbers in your digital bank account, the money will feel like fun money, and not like money that can be used for something else, like another drink at the club or another Uber ride.
Hint: put your cash in some tupperware or some other secret stash. Yes, this is risky because someone could break in and steal your money, but also this is the money-saving hack I 100% believe to be the most helpful.
In fact, make funds of all sorts.
I’ve tried three separate times to budget on my iPhone, but the habit never sticks. I’ve tried many other times by taking out cash, putting it in tupperware, and calling it a “fund” and the habit always sticks. Technically, it’s budgeting, without calling it budgeting. When you have a travel fund, a restaurant fund, and a fun fund, your spending feels more organized. When you run out of one of your funds, that’s it. When you’re done with your fun fund, instead of spending that time wondering why you’re doing this, use the time to research something cool in the city you’re traveling to. It won’t feel so bad after all.
Convince your family that you don’t need presents, and that you’re not buying any presents.
Presents are a bank-account killer. Commercialism has us all deeply convinced that we need to buy things for other people in order to show we care about them. Tell your loved ones straight-up that you don’t believe in this, and that everyone’s money would be better used if they used it on something that would mean something to them, and not a material possession. Coerce them even more by proposing that you’ll send them a postcard from your next trip.
Hand-made presents still count, though.
Get a job that allows you freedom.
How did we begin our travel blog? I juggled five jobs – all of which I was in control of my schedule. I worked for catering companies, friends who needed a dog-walker, a language school where I taught French to 30-year-olds, a casting company that employed TV extras, and even Instacart, where I grocery shopped at Whole Foods for rich and busy people. When you’re in control of your schedule, you’re in control of your life. You don’t have to explain to a boss why you need five days off of work, or even two months off work. You get to finally do you.
Juggling your own jobs and your own schedule is essential, because you can work as much as you want, especially when times are tough, or when you’re expecting a big payoff, like an upcoming trip.
Always, always, always pregame.
Drinks in Manhattan clubs are at the very least $7 or $8, if you’re not going during a happy hour. If you’re not lucky enough to have a sugar-daddy, then we highly recommend you down a four-loko right before you go into any bar or club. You may have to choke it down, but before you know it, you’ll be twerking on the dancefloor to some rendition of Pop, Lock, and Drop it, and after seeing that, who doesn’t want to buy another drink for the life of the party?
Make the right investments.
I once read a minimalism blog that said you should either invest in things that will last a long time and still look good (a gold watch, for example), or stuff that is super cheap and might break or get lost easily (Chinatown knockoffs like sunglasses). As consumers, we tend to remain in the middle-category, where the things we buy aren’t great quality, yet tend to wear away easily.
Buying things is not the problem. Buying things you don’t need is. Knowing the value of what you buy is key. Spending money on a yoga class is not wasted money. A stronger, healthier body is not a bad investment. Not to mention, it’s something like that would benefit you while on the road. Spending money on clothes you’ll wear every now and then isn’t the best way to invest your money.
What are some of your personal money-saving hacks? Comment below!