One of the hardest things about travelling is saving the money to do it. Now I realise that everyone’s job is different, but you can save money to travel just like I do. The hardest part of saving money is having the discipline not to spend it frivolously. You have to be on top of your game 24/7 with an end goal in sight.
You want that $6 latte? nope. How about buying that new movie? no. How about going out for dinner three times a week? forget about it..
Now I’m not saying to be a hermit and not spend any money or go any where at all, just to cut down. So let’s say that I find a deadly vacation for my family for $2400, that’s flights and hotel for a week. I try and save between $200 and $400 monthly so that should take me between 6 months and 12 months to afford the family trip.
Forget about it….
One of the most challenging things is not to spend the money you have saved for your trip. It took me along time to be disciplined enough to save, I used to be brutal and before I knew it I had no savings. I started by opening a savings account that had no bank card access, so I had to go into the bank and stand in line to withdrawal money. I would deposit money into my savings account and when I wanted to spend it frivolously it was a pain in the ass to access so I didn’t bother.
One word: Budget!
First thing I did was sit down and be honest with the bills, write down every expense that way you have a real number. Then look at your expenses and analyse where you can save, keeping in mind that you don’t want to stop paying bills. There are a few things that we do to increase our savings and decrease our spending:
My wife shops at a thrift store religiously: She saves a ton of money on shoes, clothes, toys, and almost anything else we need.
We hardly ever eat out: My wife makes meals every day instead of us buying take out. We always take advantage of grocery sales and plan meals for the week.
Cut The Cord!: We don’t have a cable bill. We pay $9.99/mo for Netflix and have a Roku box for free TV programming. This alone saves us $100 a month and we still get to see all of the shows we want.
No Land Line: We don’t have a house phone just our cell phones which saves us $40/mo.
Free Haircuts: For my son and I to get both our haircuts it cost $35, but instead we bought a set of clippers and my wife gives us buzz cuts.
Home Brew: Instead of buying a $2 coffee everyday for work, I brew a pot of coffee at home. It tastes better and it’s a savings of $60/mo.
Grow It: We have a good sized garden which we grow a lot of food during the summer. You will be surprised how much this will save on your food bill.
Use Those Points
The best way to save money on a trip is to join a rewards program and use your points towards saving money on flights or hotels. It is best to research different programs in order to figure out which ones work for you. The reward programs that I use are Airmiles, Aeroplan, Mileage Plus, and Expedia+. I chose United Airlines Mileage Plus because I found I was flying United a lot and I can transfer points from my kids accounts to mine. Every member of my family has an account so I get 4x the points on family trips. Another good rewards program is Expedia+, you get points on hotels, flights, car rentals and activities.