There always comes a time when I feel like I have to organize my life. That includes cleaning out the computer’s desktop, deleting and sorting out my emails and realizing how much unnecessary sites I am getting messages from that cluster my mail box. A couple months ago when I was on a roll organizing I decided to start writing down my expenses to see where and how could I save some extra money. I decided to share what I learned because they might be helpful to you as well! Here are 18 tips to save money that you can put towards travel:
1. Record your expenses (for 2 months at least)
It will make it easy to see what are the extra costs that you can cut out from your life. Prioritize what is really important to you and what is not so much.Writing down what my expenses were for two months helped me a lot to see where my money went. Yes, it gets a little tedious and annoying but it really is worth the effort.
There are many different tools that you can use to track your numbers.
- Phone apps – The best 7 apps according to Daily Worth
- Websites – The 10 best and free online budgeting tools according to Good Financial Cents
- If you don’t want to deal with these, you can use a piece of paper or an Excel sheet. I used a very bogus little piece of paper, all I wanted to see was how much the unnecessary numbers add up to…turns out, quite a lot.
2. Create a savings account
And put 10-15% of your paycheck towards it. If you can’t do 10-15%, then go with whatever you feel like you can do but make sure to commit to it! It might be a tiny amount but they will add up in the long run and you will always have something to rely on.
You might be going: duuuh, a savings account! Thanks for the tip genius! But I know how I used to think about this. I kept saying I will do it, it can’t be as important, and I also took money off of it very often, in fact so often that the bank changed it back to a checking account. Eek. Well in this case, there is no point to having a savings account. Make sure to put an amount to the side that you can live without no problem.
3. Phone bills
I heard some people got rid off their smart phones, to save money. To me that is a little extreme. I am way too attached to my smart phone because that is the only device that keeps me in touch with my family and friends back in Hungary.
I am on a plan with my friends and had a contract of $53/month. The contract expired after two years, but since I took good care of my phone (I got a Lifeproof case that is pretty pricey but saved my phone million times, therefore saved me hundreds of dollars), instead of upgrading, I kept my current phone. There is not one scratch on it and it works perfectly fine but my monthly bill went down from $50 to $32. That is $18 savings each month. That might not seem like a whole lot, but it is something!
4. Coffee and tea
Buying coffee or tea in a shop every day can cost you a LOT! If we count with $3 on average (But let’s be honest lattes and mochas are more like $5), and 5 days a week that would equal to $60 A MONTH!!! But if you must pay a visit to Starbucks every day, make sure to get the phone app and take advantage of your discounts and occasional free coffee coupons…at least.
I have a friend whose high school economic teacher pointed out two girls from the class because they went to class with a Starbucks drink every single day. They spend on average $5 a day on fancy frappes and mochas. The teacher added it up and it turned out that with the money they spent on Starbucks coffee during the school year they could have bought a round-trip flight ticket to Europe. That is a very eye opening example.
5. Cancel those damn Auto-payments for different websites
Two years ago I ordered a pair of boots from a website for a great price. I didn’t realize that the great deal came with monthly commitments of a $35. I was able to skip the auto payment each month but of course life happens and sometimes I forgot to take care of it.
I didn’t want to cancel the membership because I was worried to miss out on something but the auto payment kept taking my money if I didn’t pay enough attention. So throughout the months I lost $70 on that deal and then realized that I don’t use their services enough to worth risking it (Took me way too long to give up on that but I did eventually) There comes an extra $35 each month!
6. Prepare lunch and eat out less
Not preparing lunch to work can cost you $8-12 each day 5 times a week. Which is about $10×5=$50 a week x 4 = $200 a month….holy cow!!!! Invest in a crock-pot and prepare food for the week! Meal prep is not only healthy but budget friendly as well. Here is a great website for amazing crock-pot meal ideas for meat lovers, vegeterians, gluten intolerants etc.
I know it is great to go out sometimes so I am not saying stop doing that completely. Have a budget for going out/month and make sure you don’t go over that.
7. Don’t throw your coins away
My husband’s friend in high school had a jar and put every coin in it that he found on the ground during the school year. By the end of the school year he had an extra $27. While that is a little extreme I also met people who threw away their coins because the coins are “annoying”. Don’t be that guy! Have a jar or a piggy bank and put your coins in there. In a year we collect about an extra $50 dollars with that.
8. Go grocery shopping with a list and a FULL stomach
Instead of going through the store and wandering without a purpose (which makes everything very desirable, especially if you are hungry), make sure you eat before and prepare a list so you don’t wanna buy up the entire store. That will save you some money, trust me!
9. Take fewer cab rides and use more public transportation
However, I understand this is not too appealing, this can save you a whole lot of money. I admit, in America this is way harder to accomplish than back in Europe where most cities have great public transportation system. If you must call a cab, choose Uber or Lyft and save yourself some money.
10. Look for clothes on sale and sell back your least favorite pieces
Do some winter clothes shopping in the spring, or summer outfit shopping in the fall; look for clothing items on sale instead of full price! There are also great websites that take your clothes that you don’t use anymore. Another option is to donate those, there are many people who would be very grateful for that piece of clothing that you haven’t even looked at in years.
11. Get rid of cable and switch to Netflix and/or Hulu
Cable cost $30-100-ish a month while Netflix cost $8.99 a month and Hulu cost $7.99. Figure out if you can make those changes based on your needs because this can actually save you a whole lot of money. Also if you have a friend or family member, you can split the cost of your account account.
12.Get creative during the holidays
Make your own gifts, use Google for ideas. Or I am addicted to Pinterest for example. Get creative and make some memorable presents instead of just taking the easier road and buying another sweatshirt…or if you are really against that at least agree on a reasonable budget with your spouse instead of spending hundreds of dollars. I am a big believer of collecting memories instead of things.
13. Drink water at restaurants
In my sophomore year at college, my tennis coach came up with a new rule where we weren’t allowed to drink anything else but water at restaurants. Now, she created the new rule so we don’t drink a bunch of sugary and terrible liquid before our matches but it made her realize that each time we saved about $20. That adds up to be $120 on a long weekend which is huge. I understand that you probably do not have a family of 13 but it still can save you money each month.
Bonus tip: You can make your own FREE lemonade in restaurants, by ordering water with lemon and adding sugar or sweetener to it. It tastes great and it is FREE!
14. Lights off
Turn off the lights when you leave the room. I noticed that people in America have the habit of leaving the lights on in every single room they appear to be in. They put the TV on and leave the house or the hotel room. To save money turn the lights off when you leave the room or switch to LED. It might be a little more expensive, but it will last longer and it will save you money in the long run. Turn the TV off when you leave the house! Also,(I am guilty of this one sometimes), don’t let your water run for a long time before you get in the shower.
15. Do I really need this?
Such an important sentence. If you are shopping online or in a store make sure to take a step back and count to 5…in some cases to 100 so you get a chance to actually think through whether you need that item or not. Making an emotional snap decision is very easy but you might regret it later. Take a deep breath, think it through, and ask yourself: Do I really need this?
16.Pack food for road trips
This will help you stay on track with your diet/healthier eating habits and it will help your wallet. Prepare fruit and veggies, make sandwiches for the road or by bulk products and distribute them into small ziplock bags…instead of buying stuff at gas stations for ridiculously high prices, use this option to save money.
17. For Pete’s sake, quit smoking
People spend hundreds of dollars on smoking. (A pack of cigarettes is about $5) It is not only a horrid habit, but it is also a very expensive one. How about putting all that money towards traveling or doing something much healthier? I know it is hard to quit. But your health must be motivating enough for you to suffer through those couple days. Don’t tell me you could not spend that money on something else…somewhere on a cruise ship or just buying more groceries, maybe pay back loans etc…
Well, I know this is going to be an unpopular one, but the truth is that some people spend hundreds of dollars on alcohol each month. College students too…those college students who always complain they have no money, but somehow spend at least hundred dollars on alcohol during a weekend. I know them because I went to school with them. So be smart about it. I am not saying to quit drinking but have a reasonable budget and geez don’t spend $100 on a Saturday night, c’mon!!!!! ooor…if you do, please don’t complain later….
What do you think of these saving options? Just with some of these options I saved about $356 a month.
Do you have other tips and trick that you could add to this list? Do you have another approach or a different way to save some money? Please comment below!
Hope these were helpful to you!