Let’s face it: traveling is expensive. Even when you stay on a friend’s couch and have a handful of stale Cheerios for breakfast. There are so many things to pay for: tickets, snacks, transport, and, if you’re like me, a phone case to protect a freshly shattered cell from further damage. (I’m still torn up about it.)
The good news is that the thought of high travel costs need not stop you from taking the trip of a lifetime. Right now, I’m planning a 5-week trip to Southeast Asia. And there’s no way I can pull that off with the current state of my bank account. So I’m sharing how I’ve started saving cash for this trip. Hopefully, my little tips will inspire you start saving for your trip, too!
1. Think long-term.
I’ve been thinking about this Southeast Asia trip for a long time, but I started financially planning for it back in September. After coming back to college with no money in my bank account, I realized I needed to up my saving game. So I started looking for a job.
2. Find the right part-time job.
After applying to several jobs, I got one that worked for me. Ask yourself: Will it work with your schedule? Is the pay fair? Are there extra perks, like working remotely or getting a discount on food? If so, get to work! Pro tip: The beginning of summer and fall, plus the weeks before Thanksgiving, are good times to apply for part-time jobs.
3. Make a budget and set a goal.
Once I started making money, I gave myself $40 per week for all expenses, excluding a biweekly grocery and gas station trip. My goal was to put the rest of each paycheck into my savings account. If you’re not a student and already have a regular 9-5, your savings goal should be closer to the full amount your part-time paycheck! Get started on your budget.
4. Keep your money separate.
If you don’t have a savings account, get one. Either that or a piggy bank (but those don’t earn you interest ;)). Keeping your disposable income separate from your savings will save you a lot of spending temptation!
5. Cook (more!) at home.
Or cook with friends and split the cost of groceries. Business Insider reported that young professionals spend $45 per week on buying lunch. Forty-five dollars! At that rate, less than four months of packing your own lunch — instead of eating out — can get you a roundtrip ticket to Bangkok. Remember, small purchases add up. Save where you can!
6. Unsubscribe from promotional email lists.
I don’t know about you, but when I get an email that says 50% off sitewide, I can definitely convince myself it’s worth it to buy. Recently, though, I realized this and began unsubscribing myself from all email lists, even Groupon and LivingSocial. Promo emails don’t help me save, they make me spend!
7. Sell your stuff.
Give your savings a little boost by selling the stuff you don’t use. Even though it breaks my heart to, I put my beautiful high school prom dress up for sale. And my designer sunglasses I don’t need because I wear glasses. And the old clothes I don’t wear anymore. And the textbooks and extra ironing board I have.
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So that’s it, folks. It may seem like a lot right now, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re sitting by the Indonesian shore, cocktail in one hand, camera in the other. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.