I've been living in Germany for over a month now. I don't want to be cliche, but this experience has already been surreal. To keep you up to speed, my husband Michael and I spent a lot of time saving money and decided we should take the chance to move overseas.
What you need to know: I work for myself (I'm a full time blogger and looooove it. Emphasis on love.) Michael quit his job. We brought our two dogs. And two suitcases each.
So, when we moved abroad we had no one helping us through finding a place to live, opening up a bank account, applying for visas. Nope, it's all on us. The good thing? I've learned A LOT. I intend to keep my readers abreast of what I've learned and hopefully you can take these tips and tricks to your advantage.
One of the biggest questions I get: how can I save money to travel? First of all, here's a virtual high five. Because traveling is the best possible experience and holds so much more value than clothes or designer handbags.
Here's my guide to saving money to travel the world:
Set a goal
No matter if I'm talking about blogging tips or traveling, I think it's important to figure out what you want. Figure out a goal and this will help you TREMENDOUSLY to stick to it. Don't just set one goal: I want to go to the Bahamas. Also, set a money saving goal. When we began the idea to move to Europe, we planned on needing at least $45,000 in savings in order to quit jobs and move abroad. That's not to say you need that goal, but it just needs to be something substantial so that you can really enjoy your time.You can and should start saving towards your goal. It will add up and you'll thank yourself later! Click To Tweet
Get in the right mindset
This is so important. We all have goals, of course, but in order to stick to that, you have to have the mindset to keep it going. If it helps, add pictures of the place you'll be visiting to your planner or the background of your phone. Write down all the cool stuff you'll be doing. Sometimes it will be hard to not spend money on something fun (like a new bag) but in the end it will be so worth it. These little reminders will help.
Get a Travel Points Credit Card
A LOT of experts say to get rid of credit cards. But I paid for my flight in FULL with points on my card. I prefer the Capital One Venture Card (this isn't sponsored, I've had mine for a solid 4 years!). I get two points for every dollar I spend, and that all goes to travel. Just remember your mindset, and pay it off, in full, every month.
Keep the Change
I cannot tell you how much a little goes a long way. I have a change jar at home and I use this little machine to count my change, sort it, and puts it in wrappers so I can send it to the bank. Every few months I deposit at least $150 or more in change!
Get rid of all debt
Before you can really start to save you have to get rid of debt. Now, I'm not talking about your mortgage, but if you have credit card debt- pay it off! Not only does this hurt your credit score, it will really hinder opportunities to travel and more. Remember to pay of your bills every month, in full.
Start a Separate Account
I have a separate account for travel expenses only. I like seeing it grow and I also like to know how much I have to spend. Plus, sometimes it's helpful to take money out of your regular account so you're not tempted to spend it.
What Can You Live Without?
Do you really need cable tv? That drink at a bar (when you could drink at home, like this one)? Those new sunglasses? We all spend frivolously. It is fun to spend, no doubt. But the more you don't spend the more you'll save and the more fun things you can do.
Make a list of what you can cut out. For me, I haven't had cable for more than 6 years now, and I don't miss it. I do not shop designer and I try to minimize my spending on food. Start writing down what you can eliminate and you'll be surprised at how it adds up.
Do A Financial Review
Have you ever really looked at what you're spending money on? You might find out you're spending way too much at the movies or on shopping. We found that our biggest area of improvement when trying to save was eating out. When we cut that down we saved $100s every month.
So take a look at your finances and see what you need to work on. Here is a great post on how to take a look at your finances.
Have fun cheaply
You can still treat yourself and have a blast too. There are always free events and things to do. Do a simple Google search of what you can do on the cheap, in your area. Here's a great resource on 16 things you can do for fun. Or check out my 45 fun, cheap date ideas.
Have a partner in financial crime
It is so great to have someone who really backs you up and helps you stay on track. Michael (my husband) is that for me. He reminds me of all the great things we can do if we just don't spend money on that.
I remember I got SO MAD when he didn't let me buy a margarita one time, don't worry he isn't controlling, but I got fired up. But we did manage to buy our home in just 6 short months (that post details how.)
Sell Your Stuff
Before we moved out of our house in Dallas and Nashville, we had garage sales. We also sold stuff on eBay and in just those few sales, made $1,000s of dollars. THOUSANDS! So get rid of the clutter and things you don't need.
Start a Blog
You can make money blogging y'all! Lots of people do, and it's a great hobby. This will help you tremendously with that. You can make a side income or you can make it your full time gig (like yours truly).
Dog walking, tutoring, house sitting, freelancing… etc! Having a side gig can add extra cash and that can go straight to your savings goal!
Also read: How to Find a Job Working from Home
One of my best friends has made a killing on her AirBnB. (P.S. if you're in the Nashville area this is the best place to stay.) Now, this is her home, but you can do the same thing if you go out of town or have a spare room.
Going along with my point above, stay cheaply. Look at AirBnb's or hostels in your area to stay somewhere cheaply. Hostels are not scary (at all), especially in Europe. So look into those options before you travel.
Find the Recs
One of the best ways to find the best deals is to hear recs from friends and bloggers. But where can you find them all? That's where TravelEnvy comes in. It's an app and you can your friends and anyone you follow can recommend places to stay, eat, and do. Oh also, you get a small commission if someone uses your rec. So… double win!
Cook at Home
Not only is cooking at home way cheaper, it's also usually much healthier. I have sworn by emeals for YEARS. It's a personalized meal plan and you can pick your preferences and they send you a grocery list for the week, every week. It's just $7 a month. The very best part? It's planned around YOUR grocery store sales, so you save even more $$$. It's planned around what's in season, on sale, and will have the best price. Win-win-win. Try it 14 day for free here.
Shop Online for Discounts
Chances are, if you do some digging, you can find the best price for things online. Stores like Amazon and Walmart pride themselves on price matching (plus who can beat the almost instant gratification of Amazon Prime?!)
You can also make cash back by shopping online at Ebates. You can find coupons and discounts on things you'll already buy, PLUS get cash back.
Rather than going out to dinner, have friends over to eat. We do this all the time and it's so much fun and makes for a more relaxed (and cheaper) night. I especially love having girl's nights in so we can have a fun girly movie on in the background.
Also read: How to Save Money in Your 20s and 30s
Save Money on Things You Buy
I love to buy makeup and clothes, that won't change because I think of them as essential. But I try to use coupons when I go to Ulta or buy things on sale. This is a great video that shows you how to save money on the makeup you buy. I also started painting my own nails and doing my own at-home gel nails.
When it comes to actually traveling, take less stuff! I am a huge fan of using only a carry on (even for long trips) and you aren't going to pay as many fees- or have to wait for your bags.
Make More Money
Have you thought about asking for a raise? Most people lack the courage to just ask to be paid more, especially when they totally deserve it. Outline why you should get more money and then go for it. You aren't going to get fired for asking for more money.
Then, once you've saved up, DO IT. I was scared and nervous and felt all the feels but I can tell you right now, moving abroad was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will be different.But traveling teaches you so much more than any frivolous purchase ever will. Click To Tweet
I hope this post encourages you to travel more, save more, and live your best life ever. It's too short not to enjoy it.
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Want more? Read: How We Saved Money to Move Abroad
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