You’re frozen with your phone in hand. It’s been sitting there for about 10 minutes now, open to your online banking. You don’t want to open your account history so you scroll back and forth between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to avoid the inevitable: you spent too much money this month, once again! Yes, saving money is difficult because food is delicious and buying another pair of $5 sunglasses seems like a good idea. But it’s not, especially if you want to see the world. Traveling requires money, consistency, and self-control. I’ve compiled a list of ideas to help cut some extra costs in your life and save some cash for your growing bucket list.
1) Cancel unnecessary subscription services
No, I'm not telling you to cancel Netflix or Hulu! 'Unnecessary' refers to those monthly subscriptions that send you cosmetics, clothing, electronics, etc. They can add up if you have too many so prioritize which ones you like the most or cut your losses and cancel them altogether.
2) Share your Netflix and Hulu with friends
This is the perfect way to have your cake and eat it too. Instead of paying for both streaming services, you pay for one and your friend pays for another. It’s a cost-effective plan to save roughly $100 to $120 per year! That could be half, or a quarter, of a plane ticket if you catch one on a glitch fare.
3) Take the bus or metro
While public transportation and cars can be both reliable and unreliable at times, maintaining a car can get expensive. Catch the bus or metro to work every once in awhile to give it a break. Some cities have better public transportation than others, but nevertheless if you want to save some gas money it’s an option to consider.
4) DIY aesthetics
YouTube and Pinterest are your best friends. There are laundry lists of tutorials for hair, eyebrows, nails, you name it! People around the world can help you learn how to cut your own hair, tweeze your eyebrows, shave your beard and paint your nails all in one playlist. You save time, gas money and service fees. If you get good at it, maybe it can become your side hustle to fund your travels too.
5) Wear less makeup = buy less makeup
As a makeup lover myself, this one stings. No matter why you wear it, whether it’s drugstore or high-end, Covergirl or Fenty, makeup is a luxury that can be expunged. To reduce costs, stop wearing it completely or limit the number of products you use on a daily basis. Maybe just wear foundation with no highlight or mascara instead of a full smokey eye to work. Not using products daily provides more longevity so you don’t hit pan and have to re-purchase regularly.
6) Go out to eat less
I love food just as much as the next person, but eating out multiple times per week is not sustainable for your pockets (unless you got it like that). Take time the night before to pack your lunch and snacks for work. The average fast food meal is $7 and cutting out one quick meal every week for the whole year makes you $364 richer.
7) Cook at home more often and meal prep
Similar to the point above, cooking at home is cheaper than buying meal after meal. Pick a day to do your grocery shopping (every week, bi-weekly, whatever works) and make sure it gets done. Cook one big meal that could be your lunch or dinner for half or even the whole week. If you need ideas, Pinterest is your one-stop shop for recipes!
8) Use more coupons when grocery shopping
Food sustains us and kills our pockets simultaneously. To help with groceries, look for coupons and shop on sale. Saving a quarter here and a dollar there could help pay for any travel expense that may come on your trip. Check the expiration date to make sure it’s not on sale for other reasons...
9) Open a savings account
Take a portion of your paycheck and set it aside after all the bills are paid. It doesn’t have to be $100/month, but somewhere within the $20 and $50 range is a good place to start. You could save between $240 and $600 each year. Having an account dedicated to saving money forces you not to touch it. Mind over matter.
10) Buy less alcohol
Alcohol can get pricey if your charm doesn’t mesmerize people to buy you drinks. Consuming less alcohol is good for health and your wallet so limit yourself to a few while you’re out or don’t drink at all. But if that’s not how you party, no worries. Consider pre-gaming instead of buying drinks at a bar or splitting a bottle with friends. Save money and drink responsibly, always.
11) Budget your nights out
Just because you want to travel, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your social life.You can write out your “going out budget” or keep a mental note of your expenses. Remember to factor in the Uber or Lyft, drinks, cover charges, new outfit or accessories, etc. to know how much you’re spending. From there, deduct the unnecessary and see what you can save.
12) Rideshare using Uber or Lyft
Car-sharing services have been popular for awhile now. Using them for daily transportation can be hit or miss expense-wise and depending on where you live.But if you live closer to your job it may be worth looking into. Of course, using these services when you go out or to events are beneficial to avoid looking and paying for parking.
13) No more cable TV
With Netflix and Hulu, do you still watch cable television? If so, how often? Do you use it more or less than your streaming services? These are questions to ask yourself when deciding to cut off cable TV or keep it.
Clearly doing all of these can be overkill. Pick and choose! Some things are just not up for discussion which is understandable. I love lipstick so if I see a new color I love, it’s mine. We all have our vices. However, in order to travel you have to compromise to make it a priority. You never know when there will be a cheap flight available, thus it’s important to save consistently. If you’re on a budget which means cutting out the frivolous expenses in your life. It’s 2017 and finding deals is not uncommon, but you need to start to have the money ready. Save, search and go!
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I'd rather splurge on a good meal than a nice hotel, wine than water and plane tickets than club covers. Traveling and eating are my two favorite things, so follow my journey to see where I go and eat next! I'm just living my best life.