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Simple Ways to Afford More Travel (without Destroying Your Budget)

Simple Ways to Afford More Travel without Destroying Your Budget | CosmosMariners.com

I after I wrote 6 Valid Reasons Why You Don't Travel (and What You Can Do About Them), I had many readers tell me that I was absolutely spot on in my assessment of one of the major reason people don't travel:

Money. Moola. Benjamins. 

If this is the main reason keeping you from breaking out of your usual cycle of work-school-family stuff, I hear you. 

After all, I, too, have those pesky but necessary things like a mortgage, student loans, and a toddler with a college fund. As much as I'd love to roam the world at a moment's notice with little regard for budget, I--like pretty much everyone else I've ever met--don't have the ability to do so. 

No trust fund here, folks!

 So, how do I manage to travel as much as I do? By making some very simple sacrifices in my day-to-day life that allow me to put a good portion of our fun money towards visiting a new place. Keep in mind that these are things to do before you start getting into the actual planning (I'll have to do another post on budget travel hacks later on!). 

Here are a couple of easy ways to start filling up that travel savings jar. You even get the pleasure of seeing me hurt my brain by doing some math! 
  • Start packing your lunch. I know how easy it is to just grab lunch on the go. But I also know how much lunch can add up. If you assume that you're able to get lunch for $4 a day (which is super cheap!), and you eat out every day you work each month (20 days), you'll put away $80 in one month. That's $960 a YEAR.
  • Stop buying coffee. That $4 that you're also spending on Starbucks every workday will garner you another $80 over a month. Just by brewing coffee and making lunch at home, you've saved $160 in a thirty day period--plenty for a night's stay at a hotel (or two nights if you're willing to try out a budget hotel). That's another $960 towards your travels!
  • Reign in your shopping habits. I hardly ever get new clothes. So, when I got a new dress this past weekend, I made sure to love it. And I do! (I may or may not have worn it three times since I bought it Friday afternoon.) Follow the same principle and only get stuff that you really, really need, and you really, really love. If that's too drastic, wean yourself off. Take your current shopping habit and buy one less item next month. If you would've spent $50 on a new dress or shirt, that means you'll have saved up $600 in 12 months--just in time for your next vacation!
  • Horde that pocket change like it's going out of style. Yes, I've stooped to recommending that you start keeping up with your loose change. That being said, you wouldn't believe how much it adds up. Landon and I have a little box where we both throw our pocket change at the end of the day; we ended up taking it to the bank to be counted before we went on our Disney World trip last December and we were amazed to find that we had more than $30 just in change. We're not people who use a ton of cash, either--that was just what had naturally accumulated over a few months. 
  • Put down the Kindle and head to your local library. You can't get much better than free. I know it's far more convenient to download a new magazine or book onto your Nook or Kindle, but the library has them at the bargain basement price of nothing. If you buy 1 $6 e-book per month, that's a yearly savings of $72, which is plenty to cover a few days of food on your next trip. For bibliophiles like myself that read several books a month, you could easily save a couple hundred dollars a year just by going to the library!
  • Resist the urge to get the newest cellphone or technological gadget if your current one still works. After months of denial that my phone was little more than a brick (as it didn't to make calls, receive calls, get texts, or do anything useful at all), I finally broke down and got a new one. Even though I knew I needed one, I'd still rather put that money into my travel fund! Depending on your cell phone plan, a new phone can run upwards of $200 (or more, depending on how fancy you're going)--which would easily cover a few nights out of town.
  • Get rid of your cable package. Say "So long!" to those 100+ channels that never seem to have anything on them to watch. We used to have the basic cable and internet package (without a home phone) when we lived in our old house, and it ran us about $80. When we moved to our new house, we dumped the cable (but kept the internet) and reduced our monthly bill by $50. Over the next twelve months, we'll have saved another $600 which will cover almost half of our anniversary cruise this summer. Lest you think we're dying from lack of entertainment, we rent a few Redbox videos (at $1 a piece) each month to get our movie fix. We'll also go to my parents' house or to a sports bar if there's a big game on that we've got to see. 
Sure, your daily life may look slightly less exciting when you make these small changes, but aren't they worth it in the long run? Just by doing these few simple things, you could save approximately $3422. That could send a family of four to Walt Disney World for a week (if you stayed in a value resort), or buy two plane tickets to Germany (with plenty left over for food!).

Best of all, these ways to save can work for a short weekend away or a longer international trip. It's all about how much you're willing to sacrifice and what type of holiday you'd like. 

Start the savings jar up today--you'll be on that trip before you know it. 

What ways do you save for a holiday? Which of the above would you have the hardest time giving up? Which would be the easiest way for you to save?