Ever wonder how your coworker makes it to a new place every time you get a long weekend? Or how that friend of a friend on Facebook constantly has new vacation photos to share? You don’t have to be a millionaire to travel frequently. Affording travel is all about setting priorities and making sacrifices. If you’re just starting to learn how to budget, try these five basic ways to cut your expenses and start a travel savings account.
BYOB: Brew Your Own Beverage
Your daily Starbucks may seem like a harmless habit, but have you ever added up how much you spend on your caffeine fix in a week, a month, a year? That $3.65 grande latte you grab on the way to work becomes $75 a month. Just on coffee! Scale back to hitting the coffeehouse just once a week as a special treat, and spend the rest of your mornings brewing your own coffee or tea at home.
Perfect the art of eating in
Again, sitting down and adding up just how much dining out you do can be an eye-opener in where your leisure money goes. The average American spends almost $1,000 a year eating out for lunch, and that doesn’t even touch on dinner. Like coffee, make going out to eat a special treat once or twice a week. Cook dinner at home on other nights, and pack up the leftovers for lunch at the office. You could free up hundreds of dollars for a trip. Add even more to your savings account by ordering just one alcoholic drink, or even sticking to water.
Take up jogging
The average gym membership costs $50 a month. How often do you really use it? That New Year’s Resolution can become a drain on your bank account fast. If you want to exercise more, there are many ways you can accomplish that on your own. A jog around your neighborhood is completely free. There are also excellent fitness accounts on YouTube where you can follow a workout routine from the comfort of your living room at no charge. Fitness Blender has over 500 free full-length workout videos, while Blogilates offers not just videos but a website full of workout calendars, meal prep tips, and more great wellness content.
Cut out cable
Be honest with yourself – you mostly just watch Netflix these days anyway. Stop dumping money into your cable bill by losing that part of the package entirely. A Netflix account is less than $10 a month, whereas a Comcast package is at least $80. If you still have a landline phone, consider how much you really use it. Can you scale back to just using your cell phone? By paring away services you don’t use, you could cut your monthly bill in half.
Get on the bus
Ready for a more drastic change? Consider alternative ways to get to work. If you live within walking distance of your office or in a city with public transportation options, you can save loads of money by taking advantage of that situation. If you fill your tank even twice a month, you’re spending over $700 a year on gas alone. Add in parking, maintenance, and auto insurance, and your vehicle accounts for a big chunk of spending every month. If you have other options, use them. Selling your car could also help provide a bigger boost to your savings.
Cutting common leisure expenses and making sacrifices in your day-to-day life at home can free up hundreds of dollars every month to indulge your wanderlust.