The absolute number one excuse not to travel is: “I don’t have the money.” No, of course you don’t have the money. Do you think that when I decided to travel the world, I just happened to have 10,000$ laying around? No. I was broke as hell. But I didn’t care. Travelling had always been my dream, and when I turned that dream into a goal I started saving like crazy. In less than one year, I saved 10,000$ and also bought all of my equipment. Here are the 20 steps I took:
1. Cut down on monthly expenses
Netflix is cool, but also costs about 10$ a month. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that adds up to 120$ a year. A membership at the gym is nice to have, but not necessary. You can do basically any workout at home. If you save those 40$ a month, that adds up to 480$ a year. Cancel your Spotify account and you’ll save another 120$ a year. And do you really need that magazine subscription? I could go on but I think you get the point. These monthly expenses are often forgotten because we don’t consciously pay them. But they add up to quite a big amount of money on the long term.
2. Get creative
Make gifts instead of purchasing them. Not only does this save you money, it also makes for a very personal and touching gift. My friends always love them, and I have never seen my grandma so happy with a gift before.
3. Plan, plan, plan
Make a list before you go shopping for anything, but most importantly for groceries. Write down what you need to buy, and maybe even include a pack of oreo’s. Be strict and don’t buy anything that’s not on your list. This prevents impulsively buying that 5$ cake that you actually don’t need but looks oh-so delicious. It also helps with the next two steps.
I know that many people can’t seem to find the time or willpower to cook every night, but it’s so much cheaper if you do. Cooking a meal can be done very quickly, especially if you use the next tip. You will also most likely eat healthier when you cook for yourself, which is always nice (and will save you money in the long run).
5. Meal prep
Meal prep your breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you’re late for work, it’s extremely easy to just grab your wallet, jump in your car and buy your breakfast or lunch on the way or at work. But meal prepping the night before, or maybe even on a sunday, will save you a lot of time and money. It can also help you with cooking dinner, as it saves you time and energy if you just meal prep for multiple days instead of having to cook every night. Also make your own coffee while you’re at it, skipping Starbucks will definitely pay off.
6. Meet with friends at home
Instead of eating out at a restaurant, invite friends over at your place and let everyone bring something. Or spend the evening watching movies with friends on your TV. Add some homemade popcorn and it’s complete. Way better than going to the cinema. And I my opinion it’s way more fun too.
7. Stay motivated
It’s quite easy to forget your long-term goals when you are standing in a store and looking at your dream jacket. Make a mood board, change the background of your phone to a photo of a tropical paradise and talk with as many people as possible about your trip. The more you get reminded about your goals, the easier it will be to say no to useless expenses.
8. Be content with what you have
Everybody wants to upgrade their iPhone 7 to an 8 whenever the new one gets out. But that’s a huge waste of money. While saving, ask yourself whether you really need that new phone when the one you have right now still works perfectly fine. And yes, that iPhone 8 looks super fancy, but is owning that phone really better than laying on a beach in Indonesia or going on a safari in Africa? I don’t think so.
9. Shop at different grocery stores
Make an effort to find out what products are cheaper at what grocery store and make different lists for different stores. And for god’s sake, leave the car at home. Driving from store to store will only cost you a ton of money on gas. Try using a bike once in awhile. It’s actually really fun too!
10. Buy used/refurbished products
Many used products are actually almost or even brand new. I once bought a phone that was still sealed in it’s original packaging, with a 100$ discount! A lot of products also still have warrenty. Just make sure you’re buying from a trustworthy seller.
11. Switch brands
Instead of picking the most well-known brand, try out the store brand. Often, the store brand is just as good as the name brand, and sometimes even better. In many cases, the only difference between the two is the marketing, and I’m definitely not willing to pay more for that.
12. Get enough sleep
I know that this probably sounds so cheesy, but there is a reason everybody always tells you to get enough sleep! We’re more likely to make responsible choices when we’re well-rested.
13. Find a buddy
One thing that really helps me to achieve any goal, is having someone else doing it with me. I’m sure that there’s at least one person you know that’s open to the idea of saving money. And having someone to help you through hard times, or give you some new ideas, will do wonders for your motivation.
14. Find a cheaper place to live
This isn’t an option for everybody, but if it’s an option for you then it can save you a huge amount of money. You could move back in with your parents or stay with a friend or family member for a certain amount of time. You could pay them of course if you don’t feel comfortable with staying in someone else’s house for free. I’m sure it would still be cheaper than renting a place by yourself. However, you could also offer to help them with chores. I know that I would be more than okay with a friend of mine living with me for a while if they would help keep the place clean and occasionally walk my dog.
15. Leave the car at home
Use your body to move instead of a machine. Go by bike, or walk. It’s way better for you and your wallet. If you’re planning for a longer trip, you could even get rid of your car all together. For longer distances you can always use public transportation or you could carpool. It’s also better for the environment.
16. Learn how to do it yourself
I’ve been cutting my own hair for years simply because I refuse to spend 30$ on having my hair cut by someone else if I could just as well do that myself, for free. And it’s not just about haircuts. If you want something done, google it first and try to figure out how to do it yourself. This saves you a lot of money and you acquire a new skills, which will totally make you look like a badass.
You can literally borrow almost anything you could ever want. Ask a friend if you could borrow their House of Cards DVD or their amazing cookbook. (Which can help you with point 4.) If your friends don’t have it, hit the library. Libraries aren’t just for borrowing books. In most libraries you can also borrow DVD’s, CD’s, newspapers and magazines.
18. Eat less meat
I know that many people don’t want to give up their meat, and I’m not asking you to become a vegetarian. But try switching out your steak for beans sometime. They are much cheaper, and also very healthy. And on top of all that, it’s also better for the environment. If you really aren’t willing to give up your meat, try going for a cheaper alternative instead. The price variation between different kinds of meat is insane.
19. Be smart with booking flights
I’m working on a more elaborate blogpost on how to do this exactly, but investing a little more time in finding the cheapest flights will have a very big impact. The best way to do this is to be flexible with your dates and to use a flight comparison website. My favourite ones are Skyscanner and Kiwi.
20. Sell your stuff
Go through all your stuff, and sell everything that you don’t need anymore. You’ll end up with a cleaner, more organised house and a bigger wallet. Furthermore you could also make someone else very happy with something that was just rotting in your basement.
If you have any further questions or remarks, please comment them below! I’d love to hear from you!