Saving more money:
I love to travel, but one of the things that’s stopping me from doing it more is the money. It’s no secret that traveling isn’t exactly free. But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to travel, and it is possible to save money for a vacation. In this post I will give you some tips on how you can afford your next vacation.
I could easily just give you one tip; start saving more money. To afford your next vacation you have to save more money, but there is different ways to do so. First and foremost, it will be about priorities. What to do you really want to spend your money on? It sounds simple when I say that you just have to save money, but for those of you who have tried, you know it’s not that simple.
Here are some ways you can save money:
1. Cut or reduce costs and expenses
Some costs are necessary, but this doesn’t apply to all costs. Sit down and get and overview of which costs can be reduced, and which that can be cut completely. You might have to change some of your habits, and this can be difficult. But it is about priorities. Wouldn’t it be worth it changing some habits to be able to afford your dream vacation? Or just to be able to travel more often?
Some habits that can help you to save money is:
- bringing a packed lunch for work or school (instead of buying your lunch in the cafeteria). Then you know exactly what you’re eating, you can make healthier decisions, and you’re saving money.
- writing a grocery shopping list and only go food shopping once a week. I’m very good at the «writing a list» part, but not as good at sticking to only one day of shopping a week. Nevertheless, it will save you some money planning your grocery shopping so you don’t buy things you don’t need. And by the way: Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!
- leaving the car at home. Not everyone has the opportunity to do this, but if you do you will save money by using public transport, and even more if you ride a bike or walk. You don’t need to spend money on gas, and in addition to this you’re helping to save the environment. Try at least to leave the car a bit more often than you do now.
- drinking water and making the coffee at home. Are you one of those who buy a lot of soda and other drinks, you’ll absolutely notice it if you swap the soda for water. Try at least doing this in the weekdays. And making your coffee at home will also save you money if you usually buy it at Starbucks before work.
- checking your subscriptions. Are you actually using everything your subscribing to? And is it necessary subscribing to 5 different streaming services? You can easily save some money buy unsubscribing to some of your subscriptions, or look for cheaper ones. For example, I have recently changed my mobile subscription to a cheaper one (but with the same data each month), and I work out somewhere a lot cheaper than the other gyms around in my neighborhood. And I also have Spotify and Netflix. But again, it’s about priorities.
You have now gotten a few tips on habits that can help you save a little more money each month. But to be brief: Become aware of your costs and which of them that is necessary, unnecessary and can be reduced. Some of the cuts and reductions in monthly costs might only give you a little bit extra, but think about how all of these small amounts add up!
If you want more tips The Simple Dollar has made a list with 100 ways to save money. Some of the tips is already mentioned in this post, but you’ll hopefully find some new tips that suits you and your lifestyle.
2. Set up a savings account
When you’re saving money you need a place to keep them. Create an account that you use for what you’re saving up the money for. You can name it «Vacation» for example, or something else that symbolizes what your saving money for. Put money in the account every time you get paid. An idea is to set up regular deposits into your savings account. Then you’re saving money before you get a chance to use them.
How much money you should save depends on several things:
- How much you can afford to save – How much do you have left after food and bills are paid?
- What kind of vacation you’re saving for – Is it a weekend trip or a 2-3 week long trip? Is it expensive «to live» where you’re going? What are your plans?
- Are you saving the same amount every month or a certain percentage of your salary? Either you save the same amount no matter what, or the saving amount can vary if your salary is varying. Read more about it below.
3. Saving a certain amount every month
If you decide to save a certain amount every month it can be an idea, as I mentioned, to set up regular transfers. If the money transfers the day you get paid, you won’t notice as much that the money «disappears» from your account. All savings are good savings, but try to figure out exactly how much you need to save each month to afford the vacation you want. The monthly amount will depend on where you want to go, and when. Is it in a year from now, or is it only a couple of months away? If it’s in a year you won’t have to save as much each month, as if it’s in a couple of months.
4. Saving a certain percentage of your salary
In the tip above you save the same amount of money each month no matter how much you get paid, but if you follow this tip the amount may vary. Saving a certain percentage of your salary will give you higher savings the months you get paid well, but you will save less if you don’t get paid as much the next month. I have a fixed salary so I earn the same amount each month, so for me it won’t really make a difference. But what you can do if you have a fixed salary as well is to decide on how many percents you want/are able to save each month.
5. Look out for hotel and airline ticket deals – and compare prices
Try looking out for hotel and airline ticket deals and find out where you can get the best prices in general for your travel. It might be a bit time consuming, but you can absolutely be saving money by not jumping on the first offer you see.
Prices for airline tickets depends much on when you choose to travel. For example, flights are cheaper in weekdays, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you have the possibility to go in the middle of the week it can make your vacation cheaper. But then again, hotels are often more expensive in the weekdays because of all the businessmen traveling then. Therefore it’s important to compare prices, look at different times and days, and figure out what day that gives you the best price in total on both flights and hotel.
6. Become a member
Sign up for the membership programs offered by airlines and hotel chains. Here you often can gather points that you eventually can exchange for flights or hotel nights. In addition to this you often get great offers on flights and hotels.
Examples on airlines offering membership programs are SAS, Qatar Airways, KLM, and Emirates. In these programs you easily get points every time you fly with them (as long as you register it). With SAS you can also gather points every time you shop online by visiting online shops through SAS.no.
Examples on hotel chains and sites that offers membership programs are Hotels.com, Hilton, Holiday Inn, and Marriott.
I’m going to write more about the membership programs in a different post. But by becoming a member you can eventually save a lot of money, as long as you use them. Find the programs that are right for you, and remember to register flights and hotel stays.
7. Plan your vacation and set up a budget
Try planning as much of your vacation as possible to find out how much it will cost you (and how much you have to save up for it). Set up a budget on how much you want to spend on the vacation.
Some things to think about is:
- where you’re traveling. How much does the airline tickets cost to go where you’re going?
- when you’re going. If you go in «off-peak time» (out of season) it will be cheaper (and also fewer tourists). If you go in the public holidays you must be prepared for the prices to be increased. We went to the Seychelles in off-peak time, and that saved us some money and we didn’t have to share the islands with that many other tourists.
- how much you want to spend on hotel. Or you might want to rent a house or an apartment? High standard and great location will make it more expensive. If the public transportation is good and cheap you might not need a hotel with a perfect location. But then again you will spend more money on transport. What will be the cheapest alternative?
- are you going on a shopping vacation? Remember that you will spend a lot more money if the plan is to go shopping (depending on how much you want to shop for of course).
- is it generally expensive or cheap where you’re going? This is also an important factor to think about. If the vacation is in Europe the general prices might be high. In lot of Asian countries, for example Thailand and Bali, «living» is cheap, but the airline tickets might be more expensive. But in Asian countries you can often get hotels with a very good standard for a reasonable price, if this is important to you.
8. Be flexible
Something that affects the prices of airline tickets and hotels is seasons and holidays. Therefore the timing of the vacation will decide how much money you can save. If you can be flexible, be flexible. If you have a specific location you want to go to, be flexible about timing. If you have a specific time you have to go, be flexible about location. An idea is to read about when it’s a good time to visit the place you want to go to, or read about which places that’s suitable for the time you’re going.
9. What works for you?
The most important thing is to find a way of saving money that works for you. Find out what motivates you to save. What works for me is to have a separate savings account where I save as much as I can each month. I don’t have a specific amount or a percentage of my salary that I put in the account. But my goal is to save half of my income each month. I also write down how much I save each month. That is really motivating for me because I get to see that saving money pays off. But this might not work for you. Think about the tips I’ve given you in this post and if there is any of them you want to try out. Also find your motivation for saving money.
No matter what way of saving money works best for you, don’t wait, start saving today! The sooner you start, the more you can save.
If you have any other saving tips, you’re welcome to share them with me! 🙂