The most common response to my travels is some version of “I wish I could travel but I could never afford it.” And to that, I say, it’s not luck, its daily saving strategies. Sadly, I have spent many a wasted hour, blue in the face, trying to convince my skeptics that I don’t in fact have rich parents, outrageous credit card debt or a money tree hidden in my closet. In reality, it is small, but very important, day-to-day saving strategies that are allowing me to travel.
Eating in is by far, the most significant financial drainer for most people living in North America and Europe. By eating in you can save large amounts of money quicker than you think. My household of two spends $140 per week on groceries. And we aren’t sober, starving, top ramen eaters either. We enjoy fresh produce, meats, and wine comfortably. With this budget we on average spend $10 per day per person eating in, whereas one dinner out can on average cost you upwards of $30 per person. We have small, cheap breakfasts and lunches, and then enjoy a nice comfortable dinner. But what about social dinning with friends you ask? Try my strategy and invite your friends over for a potluck or take turns cooking for each other a couple times a month. Last week I made pasta, bread, salad and provided wine for 6 people for under $30. We all had a blast for the price of dinner for one at a restaurant.
Technology is amazing! Take advantage of it. We canceled our $95 cable bill and opted for Netflix at $8 per month. Yes it takes a little extra effort to find your show, but that’s $1,044 per year in savings. That’s a ticket to Europe or 2 round trip tickets to Central America! Boom! There you go.
Avoiding Your Temptation Zones
Knowing your temptation zone is also essential in saving that extra money that seems to magically disappear each month. For me, this is Target Superstore. This amazing, seemingly affordable place offers everything a person could want, but it’s a place that I enter for the cheap face wash, and walk out with the workout pants I just had to have, the yummy candy on sale, and all those other tempting items that are now weighing down my 4 bags I’m lugging to the car. Yes, my face wash is cheaper there, however, its not a savings if I can never go in for just that. So now, I get that same face wash for a 2 dollars more at the local pharmacy and I save myself the other $100 I would have unknowingly blown had I entered my temptation zone. For you this may be something similar or it may even be as simple as not allowing yourself the daily browse of amazon.com. By figuring out where your money is going you can work to eliminate that extra cost and save big bucks!
The Tricky Fashion Monster
The fashion industry is a tricky one. Marketing monsters seduce you with the newest items guaranteeing your fashion forwardness will bring you happiness, popularity, and maybe even appear skinner or more fit………. right? That’s what they want. Don’t give it to them! Shopping for men and women is a huge monthly cost and in a society that values appearance, we justify our shopping habits. So do your best to expose that monster and stick to classic pieces instead of temporary trends. By avoiding spending money on expensive trendy or brand name pieces (that will be out of style in a week anyways), you can start saving large amounts of money with out much effort.