Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage – Paulo Coelho
How do you feel after you receive your salary? Ecstatic? Elated? Thrilled at how much money you have for several trips you can plan in the month?
You barely pay your bills and realize that your travel dreams have quietly slipped off the edge of the earth. Before you go nodding in agreement, Wait! If you don’t have money left for travel, don’t worry, this part of your story can definitely be re-written.
No actual travel plan can come to fruition without the moolah! There’s no disagreeing with that right? Whether it’s a weekend break or a month long expedition, only the money’s going to take you places. So here’s some ways in which we Travelbugs have been saving in our own little way.
The three golden rules to save money to travel:
Generate more money
Save that money
I know that this is better said than done, take a minute and do this small little exercise. Get out a sheet of paper and write down all your expenses: rent, loans, cable bill, phone bills, insurance, school payments, and the likes. Tally them up.
Then write down all your optional spending. This is the money you spend on food, movie nights, drinks, shopping, cigarettes, your daily mid-day snack, and other similar things. If you don’t know what you spend money on, track your expenses for a two-week period, see what you spend on, and then come back.
Add it all up – what do you get? Probably a large sum of money, right? And I bet there will be many expenses you didn’t realize were even there. Financial experts like to call these “phantom expenses” – we never knew they are there because these expenses are so minuscule. But you can bleed money without even realizing it. A rupee here and a rupee there and it all adds up. Even a daily bottle of cola or a pack of chips can make a substantial difference over the course of a year.
Most people we know think that we are very well off because every so often we are on one of our trips. But our philosophy is real simple! We scrounge on our expenses at home so that we can save all our funds to have experiences that will last us a lifetime. Most of our friends tell us about how they would love to travel too, but just don’t have the funds for it. If you planned it a little bit, you can definitely get all your dream destinations to become a reality.
Here’s how we have been working to save money to travel:
Take an honest look at your spending habits. Needs vs Luxury
Like I mentioned before, detail out all your spending to rupee and the look at where to kickback and then you can start the paisa-pinching.
Cut down on Utility bills
Reduce usage of electricity, water, fuel. Saves money and the environment.
Open a Savings or Recurring deposit account for your Travel fund
Each month deposit a certain amount of money from your monthly salary to your Travel fund. Avoid easy access to the account and watch it grow.
Stop eating out so much
Every time I go to a new restaurant, I am appalled at how the prices have risen. Cant believe my eyes when I see that a pasta is Rs 1000??? My solution is to cook at home and I make it a habit to get home and eat. This has also helped me experiment with healthy cooking and cuisines from over the world. You are also saving yourself from all the greasy, junk food at any restaurant. Also pack your lunch to work because believe me, no restaurant cares about your health at all!
Avoid snacking in the evenings
An innocent evening snack of chat, samosas, bakery products, fried items not only increase the size of your waist line but also decrease the weight of your wallet. Though they hardly cost much, over time they do eat into your savings.
Avoid buying groceries and vegetables at bigger supermarkets
Supermarkets usually offer discounts on bulk purchases but on your way to the billing counter you get tempted and end up picking up things you don’t need and spend more than you intended. “The House always wins”. Also the vegetables are frozen and sprayed with chemicals for a longer shelf life and to look appealing. Instead pick them fresh from your local vegetable vendor. You will help the farmer community and also eat healthier.
Use coupon code to score deals online
Cancel your Gym membership, work-out at home
If you find it hard to go to the gym or go less than twice a week, then drop the gym membership. Go for a run, bike ride or practice yoga. Try Cross-fit, body weight or strength training, HIIT workout routines at home. Don’t go to a gym to use a machine, your body is the ultimate workout machine.
Limit your visit to Movie theaters
Movie tickets on weekends cost Rs 300 and an additional Rs 200 for popcorn, soda and parking. In fact, Multiplexes hardly break even with their movie ticket sales, they make their profits by sale of popcorn, soda, snacks. Avoid theaters on weekends, choose discounted days on weekdays when the tickets are cheaper. Buy tickets at the theater to save on internet handling fees charged by online movie booking sites.
Cut off your cable connection
Its been almost 6 months since we last renewed our cable TV. While we have a big television, most times we just watch movies on it than anything on cable which are full of ads anyway. Also, almost all of our time gets spent on the internet looking up new music, technology, world news, 9gag and ofcourse discovering newer destinations. With this age of the internet, who needs cable tv?
Cut down on car usage
Cars are so expensive and can literally burn out your money in buying petrol every so often. Get a cycle or use public transport. You will get your daily dose of exercise and believe me, end up being so much more peaceful than being stuck in peak-hour traffic.
Get a cheaper mobile network plan
With all the multiple ways we can use our phone these days, you could actually get a cheaper deal if you talked to your service provider. Use WhatsApp, Skype to make calls and send messages when on Wifi and save on monthly phone bills.
Use your credit card only when necessary
The best option is to carry cash. Don’t even carry your ATM card. This way you spend only how much you have and nothing more. You may also want to get a credit card that gives you good offers where you can save elsewhere on fuel, groceries, and shopping.
Build a Couchsurfing network
Couchsurfing helps you make friends with people across the world. This is great when you want to crash on their couch when in their part of the world and also make friends hosting travelers at home and sharing experiences.
Stop the newspaper, magazine subscriptions
Catch up on your news and entertainment online. Its free and has more interesting articles to read than a condensed magazine article.
Replace your light bulbs
You are not only adopting cheaper options, but also helping the environment.
Buy second-hand stuff
Nobody can tell a new product from a second hand product sometimes, so save some money this way.
Sell stuff that has been lying around the house
You might earn yourself a fortune with something that has been catching dust or become a clothes stand.
Stop drinking at bars
Alcohol is expensive. Cutting down the amount you drink is going to have a big impact on your budget. Drink before you go to a bar or simply don’t drink at all. If you have to socialize and drink, call your friends over and have a party at home. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you consume is considered a low-hanging fruit – a super easy way to save money.
For the same reason Quit smoking.
Cigarettes aren’t affordable and with tax hikes, they keep getting more expensive every year. Think about it. Its a win-win, Save your health and your money!
Earn some extra money on the side
I am sure, if we all put our mind to it; there are some skills that you can quickly learn which will be helpful to earn some quick bucks on the side. We have edited documents, led small tours, practiced reflexology and a whole range of small stints to earn some money on the side.
Move into a cheaper place
If your dream is to be on the road for most part of the year, then you might not really need a lush 3bhk apartment, when you could probably do with a 2bhk after all. Think about it, some readjusting and a little less luxury may make the wallet slightly more full.
These are just some of our ideas and ways in which we save money every year. If you have some more ideas to add to this list, let us know. We would love to hear from you!