Squirreling It Away: Saving for a Trip

Destination chosen – Check

Lodging chosen & Deposit paid – Check

Airfare booked – Check check!

Great! The basics are taken care of and you are definitely going on your trip!

**I don’t recommend skipping booking your airfare and putting a deposit down on your lodging. Do it early and get it out of the way!(This will 9 times out of 10 also give you the best rates!) If you can’t, at least get your airfare booked and have a range that you expect to pay for your lodging. Estimate on the higher end, just in case your budget choice is booked when you are ready to secure lodging.**

If you have followed our previous post about figuring out your budget for your trip, then you have a general idea of what your trip will cost. If you are staying in AirBnBs, (which we recommend for countries like Norway especially due to the high cost of eating out) then you will be able to lower your cost per meal estimation, so long as you either bring dehydrated meals (backpacker’s staple), ramen noodles (if you like those), granola bars, snack pouches of peanut butter/almond butter, instant oatmeal, dried fruit, beef jerky…you get the idea.

Now, what to do with that budget? Well, if you are like most of us, you can’t just drop the $1000 + you will likely need for your adventure all in one go. You will have to save it. Everyone knows the basic math here –

amount to save / #of weeks until you depart = How much to save each week

NOTE: I highly recommend that you actually give yourself until 2 weeks or 1 week before your departure to save the funds. Also, you will need to secure lodging/pay off the remainder often before you arrive (unless you are staying in a hostel/hotel which can be paid at check in).

Ok, so imagine your trip is 7 months away and you have another $1200 to save for it. 7 months is about 28 weeks, but we are going to give ourselves 26 weeks in this regard so that we are not stressing at the last second.

$1200 / 26 weeks = $46.15 to save each week (I would aim for $50/wk)

Awesome,  you have your goal amount to save each week. So, where are you going to find that “extra”? Short of getting a second job?

Let’s look at 10 ways to save money for your next adventure!

  1. Skip the Latte
    • I know, I know. I love my coffee run too. (I’m actually there right now, writing this blog post) I earn free drinks and I like to save them up for my trips so I can have a coffee on those early mornings.
    • You have a few options on this though. You can reduce your Starbucks trips by one a week and save the $3-5. (A venti cafe latte is $4.25) or you can change your drink if you usually get a big frozen drink at over $5 (and nearly $7 with extra goodies).
  2. Skip the beers
    • If you usually go out one weekend night a week with friends and you have 2-3 beers, you are easily spending $10 – $20 on beers/mixed drinks.
    • You don’t have to miss going out with the gang though! Volunteer to be the designated driver! A few months of skipping the alcohol will save you at least $10 a week and probably 10 pounds off your waistline (or at least some inches)
    • You can save even more by having your buddies each buy you one soft drink/juice/appetizer if they want to repay the favor of being the DD. (Bonus, don’t have to buy ANYTHING that night.)
  3. Walk more, drive less
    • If you live in a city with a great public transit system, this is a lot easier than it is if you don’t.
    • If you don’t live with a mass transit system other than a few buses (I live outside of Columbus, OH so I have to drive places) you can always save gas money by doing more things at home, invite friends over for a game night/potluck, trade off driving or always take the car with the better gas mileage and split the cost of gas. (Katie and I usually take her car because it gets better MPG than my Jeep.)
  4. Skip the lunch line
    • If you are still buying your lunch every day, spending close to $10 for lunches in a greasy paper sack, then cut those puppies out! Spend $20 at the grocery store and pack a healthy lunch!
      • $10 x 5 = $50 week — $50 – $20 = $30 saved a week
  5. Less than $5  goes in a jar!
    • The concept behind this one is that anything that is less than a $5 note gets put into a jar. $1 bills & coins. The possibilities for savings are endless!
  6. Eat out no more than once a week
    • Again, the potential is endless. If you are not one to cook at home, there are lots of easy recipes you can find that can be thrown together and put in the freezer for easy cooking during the week.
    • If you save eating out to once a week (at most) and you choose something affordable (share a meal, get a pizza on sale for you and a friend) then you can easily spend no more than $30 on eating out per week (if you do it at all)
      • Eating out at fast food for 2 people = $20+
        • 20 x 3 nights a week = $60 a week
        • If you keep yourself to once a week = $30 will allow you to go somewhere healthier and you still save $30/week
  7. Minimize your life!
    • Sites like Offerup, Letgo and Poshmark will let you post your items for sale! So, clean out that closet, sell the things that you don’t use, don’t need, or don’t fit. Your closets will be cleaner, you will only keep the things that are the most important to you and you will have some cash in your pocket for your next adventure!
  8. Skip the latest gadgets
    • Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest?!? We are all a slave to our gadgets and we want the best for our money. However, ask yourself this… Does the one you have work? Can it last you just a little bit longer? Unless by some miracle upgrading something like your phone (most companies roll a monthly cost for the device into your monthly plan cost) will LOWER your monthly expenses, consider using what you have a little longer and save the $10-30 a month.
  9. Budget your monthly expenses
    • Take a good hard look at what you have coming in and going out each month. Do you spend a lot of electricity? Consider ways to use less and lower your bill each month. Do you pay premium prices for TV channels? Consider downgrading or switching to Netflix/Amazon Prime Video instead. Each of these costs about $10-20 a month instead of $100+ for Satellite/Cable…which would save you anywhere from $50-90 a month.
  10. Dedicated Savings Account
    • Consider opening a savings account with an ATM card that you strictly use for travel. Put every bit that you save into it and when you travel, you can use the debit/credit card worldwide (if it is a MC or Visa) instead of carrying a bunch of cash or risking dipping into funds that are allocated for bills at home.
    • If you open the account with a credit union or another institution with higher interest rates, you can increase your savings if you start saving before you even plan a trip!

Good luck!

“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often, for the world is wide and adventure awaits!”

~ Emylee


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