This must be one of the most asked questions: how to save money for traveling? Especially – if I’m bad at saving? Let’s see what are the options! Because it IS possible to save money for traveling with a bit of mindfulness.
I’m pretty bad at saving. I’m traveling as a digital nomad and working on the road, therefore, I rarely really need to save… But there are situations where I need to stack up my account with some money bills. And here is what I have learned!
First of all…
Get your mindset straight. Do you want to travel? Do you REALLY want to travel? Then every penny counts.
And it’s not because I said so. It’s because you want to travel. Keep that goal in your mind.
There is rarely anything that gives as big of a satisfaction for travel junkies than traveling. Whenever I’m on a trip, I’m always thinking “omg, this is THE BEST!!”. It’s important to remember this when you’re in a store with a money bill in your hand.
This post won’t give you any magic tricks for saving money you don’t even have. But it will inspire you to open your eyes to possibilities – if only you want to.
How to save money for traveling if you’re bad at saving
TIP #1 Get another bank account
If I see money in my bank account I feel powerful to spend it. And the more I see there – the more unlimited are my spending rituals.
This was a repeated pattern that made me a bad saver. As soon as I had any extra money, it was spent. Because $3 don’t really mean a thing, right? And then another $10. And then you’ve spent hundreds and don’t really know what the hell have you bought. Was that all the food? Or clothing you’re not wearing? Was it… coffee?!?!?
When I got another bank account I started sending most of my money there – and leaving my card back home.
Whether you have an option to send in a part of your monthly income or maybe attach another income source to this card, it will be a good way to save a dose of money.
Another related idea: use bank offered piggybanks. I’m not sure how globally popular this is but I know Revolut, as well as my local bank, do it – you can set up a piggybank function (also called Vaults on Revolut). This means that all of your spendings will be rounded to a full dollar and any change will be put into this virtual piggybank.
So If I’m about to spend $2.80, it will charge $3.00 and put $0.20 in there. While these seem like small sacrifices on a daily bases, the savings turn out to be great!
TIP #2 Start following your money
I created a Spreadsheet to follow all my spendings. I almost got a heart attack for the first few months. And I’m not even kidding.
As soon as you’ll start actually writing down where your money goes, believe me, you’ll be surprised. Even if you’re feeling in charge of your money flow, you will, most likely, be shocked by how much more goes away into things you don’t mostly even need.
I’m not sure if you’re an overachiever like I am or you’d love a healthy competing with yourself but that’s exactly what got me going into saving mode.
After following these numbers spent, it was an easy decision to start cutting my budget for all kinds of different categories.
You’ll find out that it’s not always necessary to make big cuts to save big bucks.
TIP #3 Cut the crap
To be honest, I’m still learning, big time! But this is the best advice one could give to save money for traveling.
JUST CUT THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR SPENDINGS.
While $2 or $5 is just that – a bit of money – it turns into hundreds of dollars real’ quick.
Here’s how I see it:
- If I spend $5 on coffee 3x per week, it’s $15. $15 can buy me two wonderful pizzas in Italy with a breathtaking view. Is my coffee worth it? Especially, if I can drink it back home for around $0.30 per cup.
- If I’m planning to spend $50 on new clothing, it’s at least half the price of a flight to someplace (because we have cheap flights like that here, in Europe). I could also take a train ride to another city for such price. I’m not a clothing junkie but I’m sure there are people spending even bigger sums on these things!
Think in perspective and whenever you take something from a shelf in the shop, imagine where this money would go to in your trip.
Will those jeans really look as good on you when you’re sitting back home, watching TV instead of traveling?
Tip #4 Find cheaper or more long-lasting alternatives for things you need
Literally, anything you’re using on a daily basis should have an even cheaper alternative. While sometimes it’s not the most convenient way to live, you will have to give something up to save money for traveling!
Here are some ideas:
- Choose a more convenient phone plan. I changed my plan from unlimited conversations + unlimited internet to only a few minutes of conversations + unlimited internet and I’m saving around $10/per month. Since I hate talking on the phone, I rarely call anyone and I can get in touch with people on Messenger or Whatsapp – it all works out for me.
- Buy cheaper groceries. While being in charge of your health and buying good products is important, very often it’s more than easy to actually opt-in for a cheaper product. Besides that, make sure to follow the discounts and purchase discounted products instead of full-price options. These days, almost all of my grocery list consists of discounted products since there are always options to choose from!
- For girls, I have a tip to think about purchasing a Menstruation Cup. One cup costs around $30 and lasts up to 10 years. No more tampons, pads or anything alike. Think about those savings!!
- Check out the options to buy in bulk things you definitely need – if that’s convenient for you. I’ve always thought it’s for crazy gatherer people who like storing their houses full (like they show on American TV Shows) but it’s actually very convenient to make such purchases! As long as you know it’s not a waste of money.
- Choose walking or biking instead of public transportation if that’s possible. It’ll not only save you a good dose of money but will also be a great way to improve your health and prepare for long walks in places all over the world!
A quick reminder before you leave…
I don’t want to get all “inspirational speechy” here but remember you’re the one willing to travel. Therefore, you’ll also have to be the one making some smarter decisions and being more mindful of your spendings.
Start noticing how each dollar really counts and can turn out into something bigger at the end of the day. Start comparing your back-at-home experiences with what you might be having in your travels. Experiences and good times is what matters, not the latest gadgets, clothing or evening in the newest spot in the city.
But if getting yourself together and saving still feels like the mission impossible, check out 10 digital nomad income ideas to start working on the road.