If you go out to eat frequently or buy new clothes often, people will rarely ask you questions about money. But when it comes to travel, I find that people are not shy to ask questions about how it can be affordable. The truth is, we spend money on things that are important to us. I think people don’t realize that for some of us, travel is more important than fancy brunches or going out for drinks every weekend. You can save money for travel, as long as you challenge yourself to spend less on certain things. What you can save money on is different for every person, but I promise you there is a way for you, too
1. Have Drinks at Home
When Friday and Saturday night roll around, it’s hard to say no when your friends are going out to drinks. However this is an easy way to save money, especially depending on the drink prices in your city. You do have a couple options though. Try inviting your friends over to have a night of drinking at home. You could also drink at home and then meet your friends out, if you are strong willed enough to not purchase anything while you are out. You can always ask for a water with lime so you look like you have a drink (I know this sounds sad, but hey, you’re saving money!) Or maybe just take the night off from drinking, I’m sure your liver will thank you.
2. Recreate your favorite restaurant meals
Cutting back on going out to dinner and ordering takeout is probably one of the best ways to save money for travel. It’s so easy to go out one night and end up spending as much as you would on a weeks worth of groceries. But just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you have to stop eating your favorite restaurant meals. As soon as I moved to Germany, I started to search for recipes to recreate the meals that I knew I would miss. Honestly, when you start to do this, you will question why you ever felt the need to go out so often. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes to make at home:
3. Embrace Minimalism
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle isn’t just about saving money, it’s about learning to live with less. And it can be a really freeing experience to recognize that you don’t actually need a ton of material items. I’m currently trying to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle because it appeals to me for so many reasons. As a frequent traveler, my many experiences living out of a bag for a long period of time have taught me that I don’t need as much as I think. And embracing minimalism can also free up your money for experiences rather than things. Check out The Minimalists’ blog or watch their documentary for more information.
4. Create a Curated Closet
This one goes hand in hand with living minimally. I started hearing about the curated closet movement a few years ago and thought it sounded interesting but didn’t think more about it. Recently, after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I started to really think about what I was keeping in my home and closet and if those items were truly bringing me joy.
I ended up getting rid of a ton of clothes and honestly, my closet has never looked better. It is so freeing to reach into my closet and know that I love (almost) every item. I still have a lot of work to do but I think this a great way to save money and curb an excessive shopping habit. My favorite blog on this topic is UnFancy because the author, Caroline, focuses less on strict rules and more on shopping with intention.
5. Buy Drugstore Makeup Products
When I got my first full time job, I was so excited to finally stop buying my make-up at the drugstore and head into Sephora. I kept up these purchases for awhile and didn’t blink an eye at spending 40$ on a foundation or 20$ on a mascara. Once I was no longer working again, these prices started to seem quite steep for what I was getting. I decided to do some research on drugstore make-up dupes and products that work just as well as their expensive counterparts.
When it was time to replace most of my products, I ended up spending around 40$ for 10 items, the same amount I used to spend on one foundation. And I can say that after using these products for several months, I don’t feel the need to buy expensive products for a long time. Here are some articles I found helpful on drugstore products:
6. Work out at home
Let’s be real, most gym memberships are pricey. Plus, you often have to sign year long contracts for a membership you might not even use. For me, it’s easier and more convenient to work out at home (or in the park!). Luckily we have an old exercise bike that might be duck taped together but still works. Does it look a little clunky in our living room? Yes. But it’s totally worth it for me, because I can use it whenever I want, and it’s free. In addition to that, I love doing free YouTube workout videos. There is so much free information out there, you really do not need to pay for expensive classes. My favorite classes are from PopSugar Fitness, I feel like Anna Renderer is my own personal trainer. I also love Yoga with Adriene, Blogilates, and any free videos I can find of Body By Simone.
7. Rent Movies
This might be a tough one for all the movie theater lovers out there. I think we all can agree that going to the movies has become insanely expensive. It’s easily 30 to 40 dollars for two people once you add up the ticket prices and snacks. In the past two years, I’ve been to the movies two times. Once to see a movie with a friend for her birthday and the other to see La La Land, a movie I felt like I needed to see on a big screen. Otherwise, I am happy to wait for a movie to come out as a rental or, more likely, as an in-flight movie that I will watch on the plane while traveling.
8. SaVE MONEY at the Grocery Store
Remember as a kid how fun it was to clip coupons and go through grocery store advertisements in the newspaper? Well, it might not be as fun as an adult, but it’s still just as important to check for the sales at your grocery store and think before you shop. We like to create a list of every item we need to make a weeks worth of meals and then shop only from the list. Of course you might see something else that you want, but it’s much better to stick to a list than to randomly grab whatever looks good in the moment. Not only is this a smart way to shop and save money, but also helps to reduce waste.
9. Get the OverDrive Library App
Books aren’t cheap. But as an avid reader, I am not willing to sacrifice the opportunity to read. Yet I haven’t purchased a book in years, because I borrow all of my books from my local library. I use the app OverDrive to check out eBooks and download them to my Kindle. You can also download them to an iPad or read them in your web browser. I know that there is something special about reading a physical book, but at the same time renting eBooks reduces environmental waste, eliminates clutter in your home, and can save you a lot of money. Some of the best books I’ve read recently are The Lunar Chronicles, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Eligible.
10. DIY Manicures, Pedicures, & Hair Cuts
Ok, I’ll admit I’m not quite brave enough to cut my own hair yet, but I have several friends who do. I only get my hair cut once a year, so I usually make it count by getting it cut quite short. I don’t dye my hair, but if I wanted too, I would do it at home. Yes, I do think certain things are better when done by a professional. But if you truly want to save money on travel, then getting your hair touched up once a month for over 100$ probably isn’t worth it. You also might want to cut back on the mani/pedis. It really isn’t hard to get used to doing your own nails. I even bought a UV light on Amazon so I could do my own gel nails for awhile. Lately I’ve been using Wet n Wild’s 1 Step Wonder Gel. It’s cheap, easy to use, and usually stays on for several days. It’s also fun to get better at doing something yourself and if I can do it, you can definitely do it too.
I would love to hear what strategies you use to save money for travel!