How to Take Charge of Your Finances and Save Money to Travel the World
If you’re looking for ways to save money, so you can travel the world, you are in the right place. I gotchu.
Let’s set the mood. You see everyone around you traveling, going on vacations, and having the time of their lives.
You check your bank account balance, and there’s literally $28.40 cents.
So, you ask yourself, how the hell is everyone affording travel?
Are You Saving Money to Travel for Yourself?
The better question is, who cares how they are affording it?
They could be an heiress for all you know.
How will YOU afford it?
One of the most important things is to focus on your own mindset.
Yes, you can keep drooling over other people’s lives, being jealous of what they are doing, where they are going–basically everything that you are not able to do at the moment.
But this is not about them, babe.
This is about you.
Their actions do not affect yours. Other people traveling does not make them better or worse than you.
You can keep judging your Facebook friend, Starla, for drinking an overly priced cocktail on top of the Eifel Tower while you are on the toilet glued to your phone feeling miserable and discouraged.
Eventually, you have to realize that you cannot make things happen for yourself if you keep throwing all these pity parties and focusing on everybody else’s business instead of yourself.
Not trying to shame you, but it is time that you take responsibility for your own life, including making traveling to new cities and other countries a reality.
What is Your Why?
Like anything else, there is really no sense in doing anything if you do not have a goal. It is very hard to accomplish anything if you don’t even know why you are doing it.
Knowing exactly why you want to travel to other places is a good motivation to have. If you slip up with budgeting or if life hits you hard in the face, you can always go back to your goal(s) to remind yourself why you were trying to save money for travel in the first place.
Here are some reasons/goals to save money for travel:
- To learn about new cultures
- To learn a new language
- To experience flying
- To drive cross country
- To relax
- To get new perspectives
- To eat all the foods
- To take pictures
- To work remotely
- To start a new business
- To visit family and friends
- To escape reality
- To have fun
- To live somewhere new
- To visit every state and country in the world
- To check off something on your bucket list
- To create more memories
Use Your Imagination
Allow yourself to visualize it.
This sounds silly, and I am not sure if manifestation really works, but imagine yourself stepping foot on cobblestone roads where others have walked centuries ago, or swimming in an infinity pool while eating a full brunch served on a floating rattan basket.
I have always believed that if you imagine something you want and visualize your goals and aspirations hard enough, it could really happen.
Visualization can help as a motivating factor because if you can literally see yourself traveling to all these beautiful places, then you are more energized to make it happen.
You can see yourself doing and living it (whatever it is).
Close your eyes. Start visualizing and you can be as detailed as you want.
What do you have to lose?
What Does Travel Mean To You?
Everyone has a different set of core values. Some value family, community, reputation, and prestige, while other people value community, inspiration, love or even security.
Because of this, your priorities might be quite different from some of your friends and family.
When it comes to saving money for travel, you have to recognize which value you have will be aligned with your desire to travel.
Let’s say if you value consistency, then traveling might go against what you deem important because traveling requires you to be able to face and adapt to changes.
If you find yourself forgetting why you are even trying to save money to travel or not achieving the goals you set for yourself, always go back to your core values.
How does travel fit in the things that you believe in.
Do you value kindness and openness? Traveling might be a great opportunity for you practice being kind to people you come across and being open to new cultures.
Do you value leadership and adventure? Traveling can help you grow and expose you to exciting new things.
Find your own connection to travel and use it as your motivation when you are trying to save money.
What Are Your Priorities?
Now that you have decided and visualized traveling, how are you integrating this decision in your life? Are you prioritizing saving money to travel?
You say that you want to explore the world, but you make minimum wage and recently bought a shiny brand-new car. Now you have just added a $400 monthly payment to your life.
Are your decisions aligned with your dreams and what you tell yourself?
Out of all the important things in your life, where does travel fit in? Is it in your top priorities? Is it even in the top 5?
Do your actions reflect your travel goals?
Only you know this, have the ability to reprioritize, and figure it out.
Remember that you have to be intentional with your actions to achieve the goals that you want especially when it comes to traveling and saving money.
Making a Sacrifice
Once you have prioritized and have a clear vision of your goals and values, sacrifices need to happen.
With saving money for traveling, something has got to give. This is different for everyone, but if you are used to eating out for every meal, sacrifices could look different.
This could look like cooking more meals at home.
This could look like spending less time with your children temporarily to put in more hours at work, so you can go to Disney World in time for Christmas.
This could look like postponing grad school for now to check off your bucket list destinations.
This could like swallowing your pride and going home to live with your parents again.
This could look like saying no to traveling this year, so you can go on a longer more planned out and relaxed international trip next year.
However it looks like, you have to sacrifice something. I don’t think it is possible to save money for travel or anything in general without making any sacrifices or adjustments.
Take a Hard Look at Your Own Spending
How much do you make and how much are you spending each month?
Are you spending beyond your means?
Because if you are spending beyond your means, then how will you save money?
It might be a painful process especially if you are someone who likes to avoid things and hate confrontation.
You have to confront and be realistic with yourself.
It is actually quite a simple process. For a month, look at your bank statements, take note of how much you are spending on reoccurring or fixed monthly expenses and random buys. Afterwards, subtract it from how much you make that month.
Fixed monthly expenses are things that no matter what happens, you have to pay every single month (things you typically need to survive).
These could be:
- Car payments
Random buys or variable expenses are basically things that you buy each month that are not consistent and/or are not necessarily needed.
These could be:
- New clothes
- New shoes
- Fancy dinners
- Concert tickets
- Car inspection fees
- New plants
- Mani and pedis
- Boba runs
- Unforeseen emergencies
Sit down and have a heart to heart with with yourself and whoever you share expenses with and take a hard look at your own spending. Figure out your fixed and variable expenses and make valuable decisions about your current financial situation.
Ignoring your finances doesn’t make them go away. They will keep getting worse overtime. The longer you postpone, the bigger the problem you will have in the future.
This is the step that most people ignore, which is why people turn to credit cards or taking out loans to fund things that they want to do now.
It is an easy fix, but why would you want to fix a problem with an even bigger problem?
Take Charge Of Your Own Finances
In reality, this goes back to your mindset and goals. Instead of covering up your current problem with temporary happiness, you must focus on happiness with long lasting outcomes.
Yes, you can go on an extravagant 1-week cruise vacation, but is it really worth it if you charged it on a credit card and do not have the means to pay it all off?
Consequently, your wonderful cruise trip becomes a huge financial burden. This problem eventually will affect other aspects of your life including your marriage, relationships, friendships, your ability to support your family, yourself, and having a sense of security.
- Are you spending beyond your means?
- Where do you need to cut?
- Which part of your expenses can be adjusted?
- Are you eating out too much?
- Is your car insurance too high?
- Are actually using the $100 gym membership that you signed up for 6 months ago?
- Do you really need the things sitting in your amazon cart?
- Do you have debt? If so, how are you tackling your debt? Are you making enough payments each month?
Once you face the reality of your finances, the things that you need to change and work on, the next steps become clearer. You cannot start budgeting and saving money without getting the big picture.
Be realistic with yourself, start asking these hard questions, and stop half-assing how you handling your money. Your hard earned money should be working for you and providing you with the things that you want to do in life including traveling the word.
Create A Budget
Only you know yourself, but if you really can’t get a handle of your spending, you should create a budget.
A suggestion is to create one and firmly follow it for 3-6 months (even a year or as long as you need if you have an actual goal to save something by a certain amount of time).
When you follow a budget, you will slowly learn how much you are spending, when to limit your spending, and how much to save. Budgets set you up for success in the long run.
It is a guideline that helps you project how much you will have in the months and years.
How to Save Money for Your Travel Fund
Avoid Buying Trendy Clothes
It is so easy to get carried away with the new trendy clothes of the season. That is the thing about trendy clothing and fast fashion in general; they are only trendy for a couple of months. These types of clothes don’t even last long because of their poor quality. After that, you are influenced to buy the next cool thing, and the cycle goes on.
You end up accumulating clothes that you only wear once or twice. This habit could get expensive and also have detrimental environmental consequences.
You do not have to keep buying new clothes, especially if you invest in quality pieces that are versatile and classic.
Imagine all the money you can save and put into your travel fund. That $200 jacket is equivalent to a plane ticket.
Cook Meals at Home
Honestly, cooking at home is so difficult especially if you are taking care of family, tired from work, tired from all of life’s bullshit, and don’t want to have to think of what to prepare.
However, cooking at home really does save a lot of money in comparison to eating out.
If you do really need to eat out, it’s not the end of the world. It happens and always give yourself some grace.
Eating out can add up so quickly. But why do you end up eating at restaurants or ordering take out?
The main reason is because you are unprepared. You set yourself up for failure because you did not make intentional choices to motivate yourself to cook at home.
Here are some tips to help you with cooking more meals at home:
- Plan ahead and have an idea of what you want to eat for the week
- Go grocery shopping based on what you planned
- Buy and eat foods that you actually like
- Prepare and cook staple ingredients that you can easily incorporate into a meal
- Grilled veggies
- Meats and proteins
- Go for simple meals like sandwiches, salads, soups, rice bowls, sheet pan meal
- Cook in large batches, so you have leftovers for the week
- Invest in an instapot or crockpot
- Make sure that you will actually use it before you decide to buy one
Keep trying until it becomes a bit. Even if you go off track, always try again.
Put a Percentage of Your Salary in Savings
This is the easiest things to do in my opinion. Of course, the percentage that you save might vary depending on your income, relationship status, family, and debt.
For a while, my husband and I did not have savings set aside except for the $1,000 emergency fund that we kept until we have paid off all of our debt.
We did not prioritize travel until we finished paying off about $50,000 of debt, which took us about 18 months to do.
On average, a lot of people save 10-30% of their income. If you can afford to save more than that, why stop at 30%?
When I was single, I saved 40-50% of my income consistently for several years.
Ways to do this:
- Set up an automatic reoccurring transfer through your bank
- Use finance apps like Mint or Qapital on your phone
- Use the Envelope Method if you prefer handling cash
Cancel Paid Subscriptions You Don't Need
Take an audit of all your subscriptions.
- Are you really using your Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, AND Disney+ subscriptions?
- When was the last time you used your gym membership?
- Does your dog REALLY need a Bark Box?
- Do you really need Apple Music AND Spotify Premium?
Are there any subscriptions that you have neglected or unaware about?
You have probably signed up for one of those 7- or 30-day trial subscriptions in the past. You confidently told yourself that you will make sure to cancel before you got charged but never got around to doing it. You barely even know what subscriptions you have.
$10 might look insignificant but if ignored and unused for 12 months, that is $120 that you just threw away.
Without being aware, you could be losing a lot of money from subscriptions that you don’t use when you can put that money away and save for your future travels.
Diversify Your Income Streams
You probably know this by now, but wealthy people have multiple streams of income.
A lot of people have their regular consistent salary or hourly job, but if you find that your one stream of income is not sufficient to support your goals including travel, then you should think about possibly taking up another job and/or looking into other sources of money.
Here are some examples:
- Affiliate marketing
- Be an influencer
- Affiliate marketing
- Sell products and programs
- Delivery jobs
- Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Door Dash
- Stocks, bonds, cryptocurrency
- Monetize your hobbies
- Nannying and babysitting
- Online Coaching
- Owning property
- Put up your home or properties for rent
- Renting out your land for weddings or other events, establish rental properties
- Part time jobs
- Selling stuff
- Check out my How to Declutter Your Home Quickly to give you ideas of the things you can get rid of and sell
- Start a business
- Virtual Assistant
You have to be intentional with your choices, decisions, your time, and how you handle your money.
Pay Bills in Full
This cannot be stressed enough: pay your bills in full.
If you have read through the entire post, thank you so much.
Paying off bills in full comes from everything that has been discussed above. From understanding your goals, aligning your goal to save money to travel with your core values, to taking a hard look at your spending and being in control of your finances.
Once you have figured out those things, you now understand why you have to pay your bills and credit cards in full.
It is safe to say that one of the themes of this post is to not avoid your problems, especially financial problems.
What happens if you don’t pay your bills in full?
They don’t go away. The get worse. They will accumulate interest and give you an even bigger headache in the future.
You could be saving money now, but instead, you end up paying interest in the future because you ignored your bills and prioritized other things.
Stick To It and Keep Looking Forward
As humans, we’re so used to quick gratification and doing the least to get the most.
But saving money takes time.
Don’t get discouraged. You will see friends eating out, going on their own adventures, shopping, and becoming homeowners.
Keep focusing on yourself because this is not about them.
This is about you, and you are on your own timeline. Keep looking forward.
Maldives is waiting for you. (Or Rome, Tanzania, Yosemite, and wherever you want to go).
Let's Go Travel
I really hope these are beneficial in helping you save money, so you can travel the world in the future!
Let me know if you have other tips and tricks.
I am always looking forward to learning about ways to save money.