Most of us love the idea of travel but hate the expense. We would love to see the world, or at least more of our own country but our budget just doesn’t stretch that far after paying all the bills. So, how can we make it all happen? How can we see more without without it costing more. How can we afford to see all the places we have been dreaming of? How can we make it all happen on our budget?
The first step is to actually have a budget. This is a basic building block of all successful financial planning. After all, you can’t know how much you have to spend on fun “extras” like travel without first knowing how much you are bringing in and what your fixed monthly expenses are.
While we can’t promise you extra income or fewer expenses to make it happen, we can provide you with some simple tips to make the vacation of your dreams a possibility.
And it all starts here…
Calculate your hourly rate
Yes, you read that right… If you want easy ways to save money and travel more then we need to start by defining your hourly rate.
Ok, for this example we will say you earn P20,000 a month and work 40 hrs a week.
You earn P20,000 a month so we need to know how many hours you work a month.
40 hrs a week x 4 weeks = 160 hrs a month
So, your “per Hour” rate is –
P20,000 / 160 = P125.00 per hour
In the above example your buying power is P125/hr and that new season dress you are looking at costs P2,500.
How many hours will you need to work to be able to afford that dress?
P2,500 / P125 = 20 hours
Now sit back and think, do you really want to spend 20 working hours of your life just for a dress? That is 20 hours of tiring labor, 20 hours of your boss stressing you out, 20 hours of your back hurting, 20 hours of doing mind-numbing reports, fighting through traffic and crowds, 20 hours of your life that you will never get back… and all for just one dress?
Think about it. If the dress is still worth it then buy it… if not….
Master the 30-day rule
Avoiding impulse buying and instant gratification is a great way to save heaps of money and is also one of the most important rules of personal finance. The latest iPhone or gadget comes out and all your friends have it or have ordered it… Ask yourself, “Do you really need it? Is it worth the high price tag? What is your real reason for wanting it?
Often if you wait 30 days before deciding on a purchase you will filter out a lot of unnecessary spending and have a lot more money to use on things of more importance. A new cellphone, handbag or shoes might last 2 or three years if you are lucky but the memories you get from an amazing holiday will last you a lifetime.
Quite often, after a month has passed, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed as well, and you’ll have saved yourself some money simply by waiting. If you’re on the fence about a purchase anyway, waiting a while can give you a better perspective on whether it’s truly worth the money. Mastering the “30-day rule” might seem difficult to some but, with practice it becomes one of the easy ways to save money.
Don’t go to the supermarket hungry
If the only thing on your mind (and tummy) when you visit the supermarket is what you want for lunch, chances are you’ll buy more than what you actually need (not a good thing). This is additional expense that you are unnecessarily adding each and every time you shop. So, next time before you shop… STOP and look after your tummy.
See, simply having a meal can be one of the easiest ways to save money!
Rent out space
Do you have an extra bedroom or area in your house that’s not being used? Rent it out on a site like Airbnb.com. If you live near a popular tourist area, renting out spare or free space could potentially make you quite a bit of extra money. Just make sure you know the risks and are willing to take the steps required to protect your family and your possessions.
The “guilt trip” card
This is so simple but is often overlooked. The “guilt trip” card is one of my favorite easy ways to save money.. Here is how it works – Simply make a wallet-sized card with a note or picture on it that fits nicely into your wallet. every time you go to buy something, you open your wallet or purse and see this card with it’s guilt trip message making you think twice about spending that hard earned money. Some effective messages are:
Don’t do it – your older self will hate you for it.
You worked hard for this money. Don’t just spend it recklessly.
Do you really want THIS more than that holiday? Hmmm
You’re saving up for emergencies like unexpected hospital confinement or unemployment, remember?
Don’t be pressured into buying that dress, Lianne! It doesn’t look good on you – the saleslady’s just being polite!
You get the idea… Be creative
The “Dream” card
An alternative to the guilt card is the dream card. Simply place a picture of your dream item in your purse or wallet so every time you go for money you are reminded of that dream and what it means to you. It could be a picture of a romantic beach location, a car, financial freedom… You get the idea.
Make the most of your spending
When it comes to living expenses, there are some that simply can’t be avoided, including groceries, utilities and transportation costs. If you are already paying for these items, consider using a credit card that gives you travel perks such as cash back, air miles or rewards points. You can then translate these into a savings fund for your trip or to book a flight or hotel. Some cards give additional points for certain categories of purchases, which can help you build up your savings more rapidly with double or triple points for grocery purchases or nights out at a restaurant.
Of course, there is a catch with this strategy: you should only be charging what you can actually afford, and you should be able to pay off your credit card bill each month. If you are overspending to try to get rewards, you’ll lose in the end. The interest and fees on credit cards will rapidly outweigh the benefits of airline miles. Think of it this way: if you add up all the interest you pay per month you will probably see that after 6 months or so you could have bought a plane ticket simply from the interest payments, while it may take over a year to earn enough miles to get a “free” ticket. If you decide to use a credit card to get rewards for travel, treat it with caution, and only charge what you can actually afford.
Make a shopping list – and stick to it.
An easy way to save money is to only shop with a shopping list and only buy what is on your list. That means NO EXTRAS!!
You see, often when you “free-Fall shop” (shopping without a list), you typically find yourself make at least one or two unplanned purchases. It is far better to make a list before you go shopping so you know exactly what is needed and you know your rough budget. Not only can it help you buy items that fit with your meal plan, but it can also help you avoid buying food you might waste or clothes you simply don’t need. Always create a list and, more importantly, please, please, please…. stick to it.
Invite friends over instead of going out.
Going out to eat or “out on the town” has a way of completely destroying your savings. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to go out to dinner every now and then but the simple fact is: It is always much cheaper to stay in with friends, watch a movie or try karaoke than it is to hit the town. Next weekend, why not try inviting some friends over for a dinner – Play cards, sit around a fire pit, or watch movies. You’ll all save money – and have a blast.
Cut Unnecessary Spending
Over the years, many have started to consider certain expenses to be necessary, whether it is the latest smart phone, a daily cup of coffee or regular manicure/pedicures. In reality, these items are not necessities. Do you really need the latest and greatest gadget as soon as it is released? They are luxuries that we have become accustomed to over time. If you are serious about doing more travel, you can put away quite a bit of money by cutting out these types of expenses.
It’s easy to fall into excessive consumerism — picking up a few items because they’re inexpensive, taking advantage of special online deals for things that you don’t really need, or buying stuff impulsively because you always have a mini computer in your pocket or purse. Limiting your expenditures can be a boon to both your financial health and your 2017 travel plans.
Start by taking a serious look at where your money is going. Are there areas of spending that you can easily cut? Focus on what you really need, and limit your spending to those basics. Remember that a new shirt may seem like a great idea — but it won’t last as long as the memories of a fantastic trip. Buy what you need, and eliminate frivolous purchases. Soon, you’ll find yourself packing up your suitcase and heading out on an adventure.
Please, quit smoking
To all the smokers out there, you must already know that your habit is not only expensive, but potentially deadly to you and those around you. If you want to add years to your life and have extra money to fully enjoy those extra years, the easiest thing to do is to simply stop smoking. Don’t give in to peer group pressure and smoke because you think it is “cool” and all your friends do it. The simple truth is, it is NOT COOL and only causes problems in the future. You can quit cold turkey, try some of the many anti-smoking products that are out there, or switch to an electronic cigarette to buy some time. Whichever path you choose, you will be much better off, believe me.
Easy Ways To Save Money And Travel More
Keep an idea notebook with you
Have you ever been out somewhere and suddenly had an amazing idea for something but, by the time you get home, you have forgotten it? Yes, I have had that happen to me countless times. (So annoying)…
These days I try to always carry a little notebook with me so I can quickly write down ideas as I think of them and then go over the ideas in my spare time. I did try an app on my phone that recorded voice messages but I found, for myself, it didn’t work as well. Try different ways until you find one that suits you. The important thing is to keep a record of your ideas as you have them. The more you do this the better your ideas will be and the more often you will have them.
Before you know it you will have lists of amazing ideas for businesses, making money, decorating, travel and more… Yet another of the many easy ways to save money.
I do agree, this does sound like a rather strange way to save money, but, let’s think about it for a minute… Sharing your hopes, plans and dreams with those you love will often develop a group or team mentality where you all start doing little things to make the dream come true. It becomes easier to plan for things and be optimistic for the outcome. Set goals together and encourage each other to be financially smart and to stay on track to achieving your goal. Make a list of goals and place it where everyone can see and tick them off as you complete them. Seeing a goal ticked off and completed has amazing positive effects – soon, you’ll find you’re doing it naturally and your dreams are coming closer than ever.
Repair clothing instead of throwing them
Don’t throw away a shirt, or blouse simply because a button is missing or the zipper is jammed – Fix it. Don’t toss out jeans or pants because of a hole – Patch them. Most basic sewing jobs can be done by most people. Always remember, a little practice goes a long way. Learning basic sewing skills is just one of the easy ways to save money – and extend the life of your clothing. I am sure you know someone that can help…
Create a visual debt reminder
Make your debt visual by make a large progress bar with Zero on the bottom and the debt amount at the top. When ever you pay more off your debt, color that portion of the progress bar black so it seems as though the bar is reducing.
Every time you look at the chart you will see how much you have already reduced your debt by and you will also be able you easily and subconsciously compare how much you have left to pay. This puts your debt into terms that are easy to understand.
Keep this reminder in a place where you’ll see it often, and keep filling it in regularly. It can help keep your eye on the prize and lead you straight to debt freedom.
Make your own cleaning supplies
I have a friend who makes all her own household cleaning supplies and saves herself a lot of money. She makes her own laundry detergent, Glade, Windex, and Soft Scrub. In all these cases, it’s way cheaper than buying the commercial versions. For all those interested, hunt around for recipes – it’s amazing how many things you can make at home in just a few minutes to save heaps of money compared to the commercial version.
Wrap your credit card in your credit card statements
This one’s a real eye-opener: instead of using sleeves or placing your credit card in your wallet, cover your credit cards with your credit card statements. This has two affects: one, it’s going to take time to retrieve your credit card; and, two, you’re going to see the amount you owe from your credit card statements, so this can discourage you from using the card.