Think it’s impossible to save enough money to quit your job and travel the world? I used these tricks and habits to put away 25% of my take home pay for my journey around the world. When you have a goal, saving money and sacrificing becomes much easier.
Please note, being able to save money is a privilege. Travel is a privilege.
1. HAVE A $ GOAL
Set a realistic monthly goal of what you NEED to put away for your trip. This is the most important first step. See below how you can save money, discipline yourself, and make your money work for you.
2. BUY USED, THEN SELL WHAT YOU DON’T USE
Want that $300 bag or that new $2,000 computer. Forget it, buying anything that will eventually fall apart or break is a huge waste of money regardless of whether or not you are saving for long term travel. Only buy what you need and buy it used. Don’t use that expensive bag you bought? Sell it, sometimes you can turn a profit! I bought a Chloe bag on Poshmark for $200 and sold it on eBay for $700. It paid for a long weekend to Cuba…
WHERE TO BUY AND SELL USED STUFF:
There are two types of platforms to buy and sell used goods, one is the in person sale peer to peer type where you meet people in person like craigslist (not recommended), facebook marketplace, and letgo. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN MEETING PEOPLE, ALWAYS MEET IN A PUBLIC PLACE.
The other peer to peer e-commerce sites are eBay, ThredUp, Poshmark, and the Real Real for high end goods. You don’t know who the person is and the platform handles money and shipping.
Below, I outline the effort to reward ratio of my favorite places for used goods.
|PLATFORM||DETAILS AND DISCOUNT CODES|
|ThredUp||Buying: Large variety of clothing and accessories at the |
cheapest prices on the internet.
Selling: You don’t get back a lot for your clothes,
but all you have to do is put your clothes in a
pre-packaged bag and send it back to them.
It’s turnkey and very little effort is required.
SELL YOUR SH*T
CLAIM $10 ON YOUR FIRST ORDER
|eBay||Buying: Easy to find a good deal, great buyer |
protections, and outstanding selection. A rewards program that adds up!
Selling: Relatively high (~10%) seller fee.
You have to print your own shipping label,
which can be a pain.
Search for codes, they always have deals.
|Poshmark||Buying: Super easy, your sizing info is saved and it’s |
curated and easy to find great stuff. It’s expensive though.
Shipping is a flat rate of 6.95 for any product.
You can bundle items and make offers to the seller.
Selling: ~30% high seller fee. Shipping is super
Search for codes or use mine for a $10 credit:
3. ORGANIZE YOUR MONEY
Every week, I set an amount that automatically transferred from my checking account to my Transferwise account. Transferwise is a low fee peer to peer money exchange (cheaper PayPal) that offers a free checking account and debit card. This meant I had a set budget every week. I didn’t use fancy apps or worksheets, I just cut down my spending as much as I could (see number 5) and used my set amount every week. I did make a list of apps other travelers recommended to me.
I also recommend TransferWise because in addition to a no fee debit card, they also give you $250 per month sans transaction fee when you are abroad. Typically banks charge ~5-6% per transaction so it’s a very nice savings.
This code gives you a free $500 international money transfer.
4. YOUR BALANCE SHOULD BE ZERO
If you have any serious debt, you can’t leave until you pay it off in full. There are amazing credit cards that have travel perks and if you use them wisely, you can rack up points that can save you thousands. Don’t know what card to get? Start searching at The Points Guy.
5. TRIM ALL THE FAT
If you want to save money, you need to see where you spend it, then decide what you can eliminate. Figure out what is important to you. Love spending time with your friends and going out to eat? Set money aside to go out a few times a month and pack your lunch to offset the costs.
Do you feel like you have too much stuff? Sell what you don’t love via the guide above and adopt the project 33 lifestyle. This will help you declutter and stay more organized.
The 5 Most Common Areas You Waste Money
- Your cellphone: do you really need all of that data? Can you plan to download content at your office or home wifi so you don’t eat up data on the go? A cheaper plan is the way to go!
- Your car/Transportation: Can you find a cheaper insurance? Perhaps start a carpool to save on gas and wear and tear? Maybe even start driving for Uber or Lyft to offset the cost of your car? If you live in a city, you may spend more money on cabs, Ubers, and even your monthly metro pass. Can you take a bike to work or use a bike sharing program. In NYC, the bike sharing program costs 1/10 the monthly metro pass. When you go out late, taking an Uber back in convenient, but if you wait for the train or bus you can save so much money!
- Subscriptions: Unless something gives you so much joy you can’t live without it, CANCEL IT! That means cable, apps, gyms, sample subscriptions, etc… Go through a month of your bank statements and cancel all of the services you don’t use!
- Food: There are so many low cost meals you can make in advance, if you are regularly buying lunch/coffee/breakfast on the go, you are wasting money, and generating waste. Do a quick search on Youtube for “cheap zero waste meal prep” and you’ll find many delicious recipes that will lower your food budget to pennies on the dollar.
- Credit Card/Banking Fees: Are you paying high interest rates? Could you refinance your student loans at a lower cost? The list below has great options for no fee checking accounts, student loan refi, and debt consolidation.
As of 1/30/20 the above are not affiliate links.
6. GET A SIDE HUSTLE
If you feel that your plan will take too long, or you aren’t saving enough then you need a side hustle. Side hustles are great and can get you to your savings goals even quicker. There is a side hustle for anyone. Love meeting people and have an extra bedroom? Put it on airbnb. If that’s too close for comfort, then try uber or lyft. Love animals, consider pet sitting or dog walking on your off-hours. Love what you do at your day job, try to find freelance clients for extra work… One of my favorite blogs is the penny hoarder. They have infinite ways to earn more income on the side. Just remember, cash is KING. 😉
I was even able to take my side hustle with me and make extra cash on the journey.