I was out for an early morning walk when something fell from the sky and hit me on the head.
It bounced off my right temple and landed on the ground.
I looked down.
It was a leaf. Just a leaf. Surprising me like that, it sure felt like something bigger and heavier.
When this happened, I was listening to a TED Talk about the growing disparity between the rich and poor. At one point the speaker, Chrystia Freeland, described the situation like the boiling of a frog. The inevitable happens so slowly that the frog doesn’t notice.
And I realized that the leaf had lofted towards my head slowly as well. All I had do was look up, take note and its impact would have been slight.
If we only focus on our desire to travel, we risk our financial security in the future. We need to take note of all our financial needs. This post is about saving money so that you can travel more while also averting the slow boil of financial stress.
Thinking about money and travel.
I am not a financial adviser. Just a dreamer and a traveler and a Pisces raised by very practical parents. The information below doesn't replace the advice of a professional but, hopefully, it will help you travel more while being financially secure.
You can only spend a dollar once. What a dreadful realization. But also an important one as it has caused me to pause and think about how each dollar, or at least most of them, are spent.
A budget means nothing if you don't track your expenses against it. I did this for a number of months and discovered that, for some reason, I would incur an unpredictable expense of about $800 every month. By tracking I learned to budget for the unpredictable.
Financial goals are important. You need a long-term financial goal and short-term goals. The former protects the future. The latter makes sure that you have the money to live large now.
Spending money on interest is a waste. My father would say: never borrow money for a depreciating asset. So, in his analysis, a house is okay to take a loan on but a vacation is not. Life is not quite so black and white. I certainly haven't always followed his advice but I try to. To be sure, interest is an expense that is typically about buying things before we can afford them.
Anticipation is compensation. Research shows that paying when you can afford it, whether by cash or credit cards, contributes to happiness. The process of saving for something such as a trip elongates the joy of that trip. Your pleasure is in the anticipation as well as the travel and afterglow.
Tips for Saving Money from the Solo Travel Society
- Helen – Every now and then, for a week or two, I live at the poverty level, spending only $1.50 or less each day on food. The money I save – half goes into my travel fund, the other half is donated to a non-profit that supports women and girls living in extreme poverty in developing countries
- Rachel – I have a dedicated travel account. I contribute to it regularly, plus put any found money (gifts, returns, people repaying me) into it
- Jillian – Don't buy crap. Really. Before I spend any amount of money, on anything, I ask myself “Is this worth more to me than my next trip?” Adjust your entire financial outlook down to the core: rent, transportation, monthly bills, all of it. I want less and I have so much more
- Micheline – Use frequent flier, hotel & car points to book reservations. Then, all you need to save is your expenses on the ground.
- Lorenzo – Couch surfing and visiting friends
- Ben – Don't save money just because, you'll touch that growing amount. Allocate a fund just for a planned trip, and you'll protect that.
- Debbie – Don't eat out & bring your lunch. Skip Starbuck's!
- Jocelyne – removed the oil tank from my house, no longer have a furnace. Instead of heating my house in the winter I use the money to travel elsewhere . . turn off electricity, get my phone, internet and cell phone disconnected, more money saved . .
- JC – as a regular, save a fixed amount of money everyday, for instance, $10/day multiplied by 365 (1 year=365 days) = $3650, at the end of the year you will be able to visit … at least one or two places. that's what i have been doing …
- Karen – I have a set amount from each paycheck directly deposited into savings, beyond my retirement account. Travel is the only thing I really splurge on, otherwise I live nicely, but frugally.
- Sandibeaches – stop buying stuff. Eat less. Walk or cycle everywhere. Always keep your dream in mind. Charge grown up ‘children' rent. Air is free. Go through all the pockets in your wardrobe for change.
- Alejandro – Stay away from Starbucks!
- Hanim – I ll just convert extra money to foreign currency for the countries that I plan to visit bit by bit..
- Lorenzo – (Carsharing)
- To Travel Too – Have a daily budget , track every cost daily, travel slowly
- Patty – When I have an extra $100 or $200 I purchase an airline gift certificate for myself. I choose the airline where I have the most miles. When I reach an amount that's close to the ticket price of my next trip, I then stop purchasing gift certs and start saving spending money for the trip itself.
- Tom – Earning as much as possible in work and not going out partying so that I can have the time of my life when I go travelling!!!
- Archie – Twenty percent of your income goes into savings which would include your vacation and something else…and maybe your retirement as well.
- Karo – Open a new account and send money directly to it so you dont see it or miss it. Think about the trip to motivate you and stop spending on stuff you dont need! Put your credit card in the freezer
- Sandy – Try house sitting or coach surfing to save on hotels. Planning helps. Also I set my bank to notify me of my daily balance and any time I spend more than $100 (via text). This helps a lot in areas where they have phone coverage. I don't buy a lot of stuff since my souvenirs are photos. I've also learned to negotiate prices in certain areas. Sometimes in exchange for photos. Photographed a birthday in Germany in exchange for a weeks worth of meat (it was for a butcher, I don't eat meat everyday). It was fun.
- Jamie – Set up direct deposit to take travel money out of your paycheck immediately and put it in a savings account that you never touch (open it at another bank if you have to…make it inaccessible). That way, the money is set aside immediately and there's no temptation to spend it!!
- Louise – I do my own housecleaning, laundry, ironing, and gardening….my friends all get people in to do it. Result: it adds up….thousands and thousand saved annually…and keeps me in shape….and able to travel every year
- Romney – I bring my own snacks and use a refillable water bottle.
- Rachel – Peanut butter packet!
- Dawn – Anything I earn from consulting (science writing) is dedicated to travel. I also have a dedicated travel account at a high interest (well the best I can get) online bank.
- Annette – While traveling, keep a list of every item you buy so you're less likely to spend more money than you actually have. Being broke on a trip is nothing you want to experience.
- Sue – Put work travel expense refunds into a separate travel account
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this post.
And now, the TED Talk I was listening too when the leaf hit me.