Saving Money For Travel
People always ask how I have money for travel. No, I’m not rich. I grew up with a single Mom, worked as soon as I could, worked full-time through college and still work full-time between two jobs and run Drishti Yoga Teacher Training with Sarah Walsh. Whew…just writing it down makes me tired. I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but I will share some tips I do while saving money for travel and some things I don’t do that I believe can help you save for that trip of a lifetime and make your dreams a reality!
I make coffee at home every morning…well, OK my husband Chris does. I drink 2 cups at home every day. In the afternoon I make a cup of green tea at home or work. At work I have a mug and bring my little tea bags. It’s simple and cheap. If you spend $5 a day 5 times a week that’s $100 a month or $1200 a year. Sounds like a plane ticket to me…and to somewhere far away like Thailand! If you can’t imagine yourself taking the time to buy, make, then clean up the coffee pot, I totally understand. It’s a pain, but when you’re laying on the beach in some exotic destination who cares?! Maybe at least try to cut back to only twice a week. Going cold turkey can be hard. Make it a special occasion. Make it social, meet a friend, call it a date. Whatever it takes to reduce some of that daily spending. Depending on what kind of coffee you’re drinking out, you may even save yourself some calories too!
I bring my lunch to work every day. Some days I only need a snack because I may get off early enough to have a normal dinner. For example, if I’m working a 12-7 shift I know I will have dinner with Chris afterwards. I’ll strategically plan my eating and eat a decent meal before I go in. Usually by break time I’m not that hungry so I’m good to eat a bar, a hand full of nuts plus my green tea and I’m all set until dinner. Some days I need something more substantial as an actual meal. Often at home I keep a batch of some kind of salad that I’ve made for the week so I’ll take it to go. Yes, it would be easier to go out for food – no thinking, no cleaning, no carting containers back and forth but, if you spend $10 a day on lunch 5 times a week, that’s $200 a month or $2400. Add that to the daily coffee and now we’re up to a $3600 vacation!
I love cars. I really do. I love how fast they go. I love to ride in them (not drive them). I love small classic convertibles and old trucks like Land Cruisers, Scouts, and anything that will make you look cool with a surfboard sticking out. Picture me in my cowboy hat…wait…back to center.
While I do appreciate and understand some people’s need for transportation, cars are expensive! The actual car itself, insurance, inspection, registration, maintenance, gas, regular tires, winter tires, spare tires…it’s giving me a headache just thinking about it all. While it’s been a while since I actually did a calculation, at one time, I believe we calculated $3000 a year we spent maintaining the cars. That sounds like a low number to me, so maybe that was per car? But seriously, I don’t want to think about it because of that headache. Not to mention all the time it takes to deal with said registration, inspection tires, etc. I won’t to tell you to get rid of your car. I understand you may need one, but I will suggest maybe you drive it less. Save some gas, use your human power, burn some calories, take in some fresh air and walk. Get a bike. When you’re on a bike, you feel like a kid. Bikes are fun. Way more fun than running. Ever noticed people who are running look miserable? That’s because they are. Now look at a person riding a bike. They are smiling. That’s because it’s fun. Trust me. I run because I have to. If I didn’t I may explode, but I bike because I want to. I don’t even have to talk about the environmental impact.
Cigarettes, pot, crack…nada! It’s expensive and can be deadly, duh. I do drink alcohol though. I love wine, I love beer, I enjoy cocktails. I try to instill a few days a week of zero alcohol though. It helps save money, calories and of course my liver.
I have a Breville juicer. Spend $500 up front on a Vitamix or a Breville and save yourself the $7-$10 per drink! If you’re into green drinks, that is. Even one drink a week is at least $360 per year…more money for that vacation you keep fantasizing about.
I love movies and film. When I do go, I’ll do it big like the Toronto International Film Festival or one day I’ll go to Sundance. Until then, I’ll just watch my Netflix and home with my $10 bottle of wine.
If you’re an instructor, you may have the benefit of free memberships. If not, try volunteering at a studio in exchange for free classes. It’s easy and rewarding plus you meet lots of cool people while you become part of a great community. Sometimes you even get discounts on merchandise and workshops. You may even end up teaching there one day. I will admit I miss the gym, but at least I have my own two legs, feet and bikes.
So what do I do?
You can call me Silas Marner all you want. I’ll laugh when I’m on the beach in Greece or India…but really. I save my change. When I spend cash and something is say $4.29. The rest of that change, the .71 will go home in a bucket, which I will later roll up and take to the bank and deposit in my savings account like a little old lady. If you are lucky to live near one of those machines where you can just dump in all the change and they give you a receipt that you then exchange for bills, then great! My bank doesn’t have that. Wells Fargo prides itself on “tradition” which translates to having to fill out deposit slips and roll your change by hand. The warning sign should have been the stagecoach as a logo, But…they did refund me some ATM fees from a international trip recently so that was pretty cool. Try it out, save your change. Chris and I went on our first trip with change we had saved up. $600 bought our round trip tickets to St. Thomas. Sure wish flights were still that price, but then again I was making $3.85 an hour at my job and I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to those days!
I have a friend that recently started selling stuff on eBay. She has made $500 in a few weeks just selling random stuff from her apt! While I would personally never do that since I hate running errands and it would mean I would have to go to UPS, or god forbid the post office; it may work for you. Evaluate your clothes, toys, books, equipment and get rid of what you don’t need. If you live in the city, have a stoop sale. If you live in suburbia have a yard sale. Put stuff on Craig’s List. Sure, it’s a pain, but so is that clutter bogging you down physically and emotionally. Besides, we all know that clutter a greater symbol of your life, right? When we hiked the Appalachian Trail, we took 7 months off from work. In addition to saving money for travel in the ways already mentioned, we also had a massive garage sale. When we were heading to Central and South America for a year we had a big cook out, got a keg and let our friends walk through the house taking what they wanted while giving us a fair price. We sold everything, but 1 car load! It’s just stuff. Trust me, you’ll get more later.
There are ways I know I could be better. We eat out nice dinners periodically. It’s patio season in NYC. I’ll admit it’s been hard to stay inside.
I have bought some new clothes lately that I don’t really need, but hey I work at Athleta. We have awesome stuff and I get a sweet discount. At least I actually do use it all running, biking, and globe trotting with Drishti! I do have a rule though. Like the Vermont motto states – Keep it Simple. Out with the old, in with the new. When I get something new, I get rid of something old. This helps keep our small NYC apt. as clutter free as possible and it makes me feel better about getting something new. Whether you donate it or sell it, at least it’s gone.
Even if you’re not saving money for travel, these simple tips may help you save for something specific or scale back in day to day life.