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I saved $45,000 in six months to travel the world. And I promise: if I can do it, so can you. If you want to travel the world you’re going to need some money to do it. You don’t need to be rich (promise!), but there are some innovative ways to save money that will add up fast.

Whether you want to save money to travel internationally, near home, or even move abroad, these tips for saving money will help you so that you can start living out your dream life.

In times of corona virus and quarantine, when we can't travel, is an opportunity to plan how to save and map out future travels. Anytime you can plan ahead is a great way to save money.

I’m a big believer in saving money. I have to admit, I wasn’t always a saver. But back in 2012 when I was making a tiny salary, my husband and I managed to save up for a home and a Europe trip in 6 months. It made me realize: you can live your dream life! It’s all about prioritizing.

Recently Michael and I purchased, in full, our dream car: a Jeep Grand Cherokee that will eventually tow our trailer so we can travel across the USA. I often will go into my garage just to look at the car and sit in the drivers seat. I’ve never had a car as nice as this. And you know, there’s something to that. In a world where we want everything NOW and we’d like it delivered, there’s something about delayed gratification. It MEANS something to you.

What you need to know: I work for myself (I'm a full time blogger and looooove it. Emphasis on love.) And now, my husband does too! We lived overseas, in Germany, for 3 years and now we're back in Texas and gearing up to travel America. We are big believers in saving. And not just saving to travel. But having actual savings in case something happens. I should know, I've had two fairly steep medical expenses.

I'm hoping this post will guide you on the best ways to save money for travel and for life!

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.

Michael is a planner and a saver. I have to admit, I wasn't always that way. Michael has planned hundreds (really) of trips in Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. And he's serious about saving. He helped me realize the value of saving for the future so that we can choose what we really want out of life.

How to Save Money:

The world of Instagram makes travel look luxurious and epic. This leads us to believe that travel is an expensive hobby. But it absolutely doesn't have to be. After traveling extensively for the past five years, I'm happy to tell you that travel can actually be pretty cheap! But in this post I want to focus on ways to save money so you can go out and make the most of your life!

Look at Your Current Finances

Take a look at your monthly expenses and see where you could possibly make cuts.

Rather than buying small things all the time (a Starbucks drink here, a new skirt, or a manicure). I spend my money on fewer big things. I feel the gratification for smaller things or experiences is so fleeting, but the joy from something I’ve save some time for stays with me much much longer.  And yes, these small things really do add up over time.
Let’s say you pay per month:
$50 cable
$100 manicure
$150 restaurants
$ 35 Starbucks
$10 Netflix
$200 Grocery store
$300 clothing
You don’t have to cut out all of these things, but limiting them and cutting a few is a HUGE savings! Let's say you cut cable, stopped getting manicures and spent half the amount at restaurants, clothing and Starbucks. That's a savings of nearly $400 IN A MONTH!
It can be hard at first but it actually becomes pretty fun to save up money, especially when you add in the next step.
I recommend to track your spending and make cuts where you can. Remember, delayed gratification can make anything feel much sweeter.
You can also find cheaper alternatives to things you love. For example, if you like flavored waters like La Croix, try Soda Stream. It's cheaper over time. Instead of getting a manicure, I started painting my own nails using at-home dip kit
I am by no means telling you to cut your favorite things out of your life. We all have things that make us happy. But becoming aware of HOW you spend will help you further in HOW to save.
Ask yourself: do you really need that new pair of jeans or would you rather go on a trip? IT ADDS UP!
Grab my free budget planner right here:

Download a free budget planner! To help you save money where it counts!

Guillermo laptop

This is the exact planner I used to save over $45,000 in less than a year!

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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 of moving to Europe, we planned on saving at least $45,000 in savings in order to quit our 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 and stay motivated through spending temptations.

You can and should start saving towards your goal. It will add up and you'll thank yourself later! Click To Tweet

If you want something in particular, a trip, a life change, or something like a car, figuring out how much you'll need will help you so that you can start figuring out how much you'll need to save or money you'll need to make. It makes everything much less daunting.

I'm a big believer in writing out goals for anything you want in life. It puts life into perspective and helps you get clear on what really matters.

Get in the Right Mindset

This is so important. We all have goals, of course, but in order to stick to them, 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, pin them on Pinterest, 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 people say to get rid of credit cards. And if you can't have the mindset to pay it off monthly or will over spend because of it, maybe skip the credit card.

But I paid for a recent round trip flight from America to Europe with points on my card. I prefer the Capital One Venture Card (this isn't sponsored, I've had mine for a solid 6 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.

Getting money back to travel helps fuel the desire to spend less so I can use my points on things that matter.

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 The 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. If you can't do that, then make some spending cuts.

If you want further help for saving money or getting out of debt, Dave Ramsey has an excellent podcast. He recommends that you list off your debts from smallest to largest and paying off the smallest first and cross them off as you go.

I know that debt can often make you feel guilty, especially about traveling, so if you can remove these financial burdens, it makes traveling easier and more accessible.

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.

I have different accounts for different things. I have an account strictly for savings, meaning, I don't touch it. I have an account for life expenses. And I have an account for travel. I automatically transfer the money into these various accounts and when I do that I'm not tempted to spend it otherwise.

What Can You Live Without?

Do you really need cable TV? That drink at a bar ? 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.

We keep our house at 85 degrees (and 76 at night, Michael wanted you to know that). In the summer, in Texas. We have ceiling fans and that is much cheaper than air conditioning. And you know what? I'm used to it. It keeps the utility bills down and your body naturally adjusts to the heat. We did the same when we lived in Germany, we rarely turned on the heat. This might sound extreme but it's incredible how much money you can save.

Make a list of what you can cut out. For me, I haven't had cable for more than nine 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.

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.

I'm a big fan of board games, hanging out with friends at home, or hiking with my dogs.

Have a Partner in Finances

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 reminded me that we were saving money when I went to order a margarita. Looking back, it was worth it not to buy that. We managed 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.

Here are 10 tips to make bank at a garage sale.

You can sell things on Etsy, eBay, or Poshmark. Especially if it's brand name, you'd be surprised at the money you can make by selling things you don't use.

Start a Blog

You can make money blogging y'all! You can make a side income or you can make it your full time gig (like yours truly). Making money blogging can seem daunting at first, but it's absolutely doable. Plus, it's a great way to remember your trips! Here are some blog posts you might find helpful:

 

Here are my resources on blogging that will help you out!

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Have a Side Hustle

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

Spare Room?

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.

Stay Cheap

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.

But my favorite way to find a place to stay is Booking.com. This is what we use for I'd say 90% of our trips. I like AirBnb but I get frustrated sometimes with the check in availability. And sometimes you want to be able to drop your stuff and go. That's not always possible with AirBnb. You can filter Booking.com so easily, which is especially great if you're traveling with pets, want to stay in a certain area, or meet a certain price range.

I am a big believer in experiences, and sometimes it's worth it to stay in a fancy hotel. I'm still in awe of the luxury of the Shangri-La. Staying at that hotel, in my opinion, was totally worth it. But although I travel often, I don't always stay in luxury hotels. Plus, it's a more meaningful experience when I do!

See my guide: How to Book the Best Hotel Deals in Europe

Invest in Yourself

There are a few things that I absolutely do spend money on (especially now, with no debt) and they are:
Skincare and sunscreen – I'm a big believer in Colleen Rothschild products and I wear sunscreen every day. The more I take care of my skin, the younger I'll look for longer.
Investments – Mainly, for my education or my home. I am a big believer in furthering my education, after all, taking courses helped me become a full time blogger. And improving my home helps to increase it's overall value. Things like flooring, landscaping, or updating the windows.
Life experiences – Mostly, of course, travel! Travel experiences to me are what make life great. So sometimes I will indulge in things like going to a concert, having a seven course dinner at a restaurant, or staying at an incredible hotel. Memories, as you all know since you're reading this post, are so important!
Buying things that will last you over time are worth the money and can help you save or even make money.

Here are my recommended 15 best blog investments of all time. And you might want to check out my Amazon master list for travel (and life).

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 $$$. Try it 14 day for free here.

When we travel, we want to experience the local cuisine, so of course we will eat out. But we try to eat some meals at home. Either cook at our AirBnb/Hotel or get a grocery store meal. One of my favorite meals of all time was some bread, wine, and cheese, as I sat under the Eiffel Tower to watch it light up.

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.

Stay In

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

Pack Light

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. This saves you money and hassle at the airport. I recommend this bag because it's sturdy, durable, fits all my stuff, it's carry on approved, and has lasted me four years! Buying things that last can help you save.

Here's how to fit everything in your carry on.

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.

Move Abroad

A few years ago Michael and I decided the best way to see Europe was to move abroad. But it also saved us tons of money. Instead of flying internationally all the time (which can really add up) we lived in Germany where flights inside of Europe were cheap! We also had the option to drive or take the train. Making it much easier on our wallet, and, our sleep.

Of course, moving abroad isn't something you do quickly. It took us time to plan, save, and make our international move.

You can read our story here, or find out how we landed a freelance visa here.

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

Don't forget to grab your free budget planner below!

Download a free budget planner! To help you save money where it counts!

Guillermo laptop

This is the exact planner I used to save over $45,000 in less than a year!

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