I would definitely consider myself a budget traveller. I’m not a student anymore so I don’t have to pinch every penny, but I still have bills and expenses like everyone else. Luckily, a review of my expenses and some creativity has helped me save a good chunk of my discretionary income for my trips. I’ve compiled a list of one’s I’ve been using.
1. Forgo Going Out
Since I started planning my trip, I’ve cut back on going out for food and drinks. Eating out can be pricy if you do it often, and I know a night out can rack up a bigger bill than you may have been expecting. I’ve been cooking at home more which has been cheaper and healthier, since I know what’s going into my food. I haven’t bought alcohol since we started planning, unless its for an occasion like camping or a party, since it’s usually one of the most expensive things I buy at the grocery store. It also has extra calories that I don’t want to add to my daily count. If you don’t want to cut out alcohol, having drinks at home is still cheaper than going out every week, and you can get some awesome wines and craft beers for good prices!
2. Subscription Sweep
If you know me, you know I’m a Netflixer to the core. I like to relax with a good show when I get home. But now with so many streaming services, it can get easy to spend
30 -50 bucks a month. With my trip coming up, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription (Game of Thrones doesn’t come out until next year anyway), and I suspended my Hulu subscription, which is a nice option if you want to save for a bit but don’t want to get rid of it entirely. Now all I have is Netflix and my Amazon Prime subscription (which I use for lots of different things). It’s not hundreds of dollars, but when you’re traveling on a budget, little expenses like that count.
3. Smart Shopping
It can be easy to spend a lot when you’re out shopping, whether its for groceries, clothes, or whatever. I like to shop, and it’s been hard cutting back when I want something new or see something in a store that I might want but don’t need. I just try to keep thinking about saving money to see amazing things on my upcoming trip. Obviously I can’t forgo shopping altogether because I need food and other personal items. That doesn’t mean it has to take up a significant part of my budget though. For food and other groceries, I’ve been shopping at Aldi recently, because I find that they’re better priced than the other grocery store in my area, and it takes less time to shop because it’s smaller. I’m usually able to get a week’s worth of groceries there for under $50 if I plan my meals, and everything I’ve made with their ingredients has tasted amazing! When it comes to non essentials like clothes, I’ve been trying to cut back to almost nothing unless I really need something. The times that I have shopped, It’s been at discount stores as well like Plato’s Closet. That way if I do buy something for myself, I’m only spending around $8.
4. Cosmetics Considerations
I enjoy wearing makeup and pampering myself, I think it’s an important act of self care. Sometimes it’s easy for self care to become self indulgence, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve found some nice alternatives for makeup to some of the more expensive brands – I particularly like the Essence Cosmetics line because they’re high quality, cruelty free, and very affordable! Plus I can get their stuff at my local grocery store. For soaps and other skincare items, I’ll hit up TJ Maxx or Marshalls, since the ones by me have pretty good selections at reasonable prices.
5. Be strict, but not hard on yourself
It’s important to keep to your budget – but don’t beat yourself up if you go off. Sometimes things come up, life happens. If it does, try to reposition yourself if you can and just go forward.
6. Live more Minimally
After deciding to book tickets for my latest trip, I did a major closet cleanout. I had more than I needed, and I was able to consign some items and get money. It helps me be less overwhelmed when thinking about packing in a single carry on. It’s also helped slow my desire to buy things, and I have found that my life has become less cluttered. For now I’m only buying things if they truly help or if I have a real use for them. It’s been a bit rigid, but again, I just try to envision the experiences I’ll have and how they’ll stay with me for life, unlike little things.
7. Make travel a priority
One of the most important things to do is to make travel a priority in your budget. Set a little bit aside for travel per month so that you’ll have a decent fund going forward. I’ve prioritized traveling over other hobbies I have, which has helped me save money as well. At the end of the day, you can spend your money an infinite number of ways, and sometimes it comes down to different choices.
These are some of the ways I’ve been fitting travel into my budget as a young professional. I understand that everyone’s different, and that some of these things might not be feasible for everyone. Every experience I have traveling brings new tips and tricks. What are some of your tips for travel budgeting?