How I Save Money to Travel

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How can you best save for travel?

A question I see asked in the travel community quite often is, “How do you save money to travel?” The answer to this question can be extremely personal and not all money saving tips can work for everyone. That being said, I’ve come up with a few ways that I’ve been able to save up. I hope that by sharing the ways that work for me to save money, you can find some inspiration to figure out what saving methods work best for you.

How I save for Travel

I got into a routine...

After looking into my finances I realized that a lot of purchases could have been avoided if I had planned better ahead. Unexpected expenses can add up fast and if you aren’t one to plan ahead then they can happen more often than not. To combat unexpected expenses, I meticulously planned out my week and set alarms in my phone to prompt me to do different tasks.

I have three alarms in the morning that remind me its almost time to head out the door for work. The last alarm in the morning is the absolute last time I can leave my apartment without being late for work. I walk/take the El train on a typical day. But If I get out the door too late I have to get an Uber there. This is something I do occasionally but the cost can really add up. So basically my alarms are to prevent me from being late and occurring an unexpected expense of getting an Uber.

I also have an alarm in my phone to go off every Sunday at 5pm titled GO TO THE GROCERY. The logic is, if I make a consistent weekly trip to the grocery store the night before the work week, I’ll have fresh food for the week and less reason to eat out. After grocery shopping I then pack my lunch for the week. I have 5 lunch containers so that I can grab my lunch in the morning and head out the door.


I figured out a low-cost diet...

It can be surprisingly easy to trim down on your food budget depending on how your willing to eat. After doing some shopping I figured out a list of some low cost grocery items. Most of these are not only cheap but filling.

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Yogurt
  • Bread 
  • Peanut Butter
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Deli Meat
  • Potato Chips
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

A week’s worth of this food costs me around $25.

As I mentioned earlier I go shopping on Sunday and then pack my lunch for the week while I’m unloading groceries. I’m sure to pack lots of filling things for snacks for myself throughout the day so I’m not temped to spend money on a coffee or bagel during the day.


I use an app to save money...

I use Qapital to save money. It’s a money saving app that transfers money from your bank account and into one or multiple savings accounts directed toward a goal. The money transfers into these accounts based on different rules you can set up and customize on the app. I have savings rules triggered for multiple things like hitting a certain step count during the day or buying a guilty pleasure item. For example; if Qapital sees that I spent money on Pizza Hut (my guilty pleasure) then $5 is triggered to move into a savings account on Qapital. I have multiple rules to trigger money to go into multiple savings accounts such as, ‘Get Outta Here,’ ‘Travel Gear,’ ‘Emergency Funds,’ and ‘Travel Insurance.’ Also have a fund for ‘Extra Rent Money’ just in case I ever feel like I might be short on rent. You can also earn some extra cash by referring your friends to Qapital.

Use my referral link here:

I give myself a cash allowance...

Another way I save money is by limiting how much I allow myself to spend by taking cash out and leaving my debit card at home. Having my debit card handy allows me to feel as if there isn’t a strict limit to how much I can spend. If I go out with friends to a bar or something on the weekend I allow myself to bring $20. Just as well if I decide to go shopping for new clothes or something similar I’ll limit what I spend by bringing a cash allowance.

I regularly purge my closet...

I live pretty close to a Plato’s Closet. This place will give you CASH for gently-used, in-style clothes. I try to purge my wardrobe every few months and always try to see if Plato’s will by my clothes before I donate them. Want to see if you can get cash for your clothes? Use google to search for local consignment shops. Other chains I have use in the past to sell clothes are Clothes Mentor, Buffalo Exchange, and Snooty Fox.

I sell old stuff on eBay and at mom’s neighborhood yard sale...

So far, on eBay, I’ve sold old cracked cell phones for parts, an old backpack, gently used Vera Bradley bags, a camera I got one Christmas etc. I also try to go through all my belongings once a year before my mom’s neighborhood’s annual yard sale. If you are strapped for cash take a look around your room/home and try to see if there is anything your willing to part ways with.


I work two jobs...

Work hard Travel Harder

Well, worked is the better term. I actually just quit my second job after a year of working 60+ hours per week. I am a Nanny M-F (50 hrs) and served at a brunch restaurant on the weekends for an additional 10 or more hours. I felt very accomplished knowing that I was doing something every day to make money. Plus, by working all the time I was less likely to spend money. Right now, I feel comfortable with my savings. I am leaving this job on good terms though, they are happy to have me come back to work there if I ever need to or want to make extra cash.

Got any more money saving tips? Share them in the comments below.

How I save money to travel

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