Buying material shit you don’t need will never give you as big of a high than seeing the world and creating lasting memories.
It feels a little weird to me to be writing a post about how to save money because 1) I’m not a financial advisor and 2) It seems pretty straight forward. I’m still going to post this because this is #1 question I get asked. It’s probably because I live in an expensive city (New York City), I still traveled, and I wasn’t a hermit the whole time. Like any life change such as a diet, make small steps first. These are the 5 main things I did to save money:
1) I made a plan: Once I made up my mind that I wanted to travel and potentially quit my job, I moved out of my one bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom with roommates. This was about a year and a half before my projected date (March 1, 2017). Living with roommates just makes sense when you live in an expensive city because more than likely, your rent will be cheaper and you can share the household costs like cable and electric.
I knew I wanted to travel at least 3 months in South East Asia so I needed to figure out how much that was going to cost. I also picked an area of the world where the cost of traveling was much cheaper than living in NY. I read a couple of blogs that suggested a $60/day budget which includes lodging, food, and transportation. Yes, you read that right. That’s $1800/month so I rounded up to $2000 which is very generous. I added $2,000 for airfare because I knew that a roundtrip ticket to Asia would cost about that much. So 3 months x $2,000 = $6,000 + $2,000 (airfare) = $8,000. I added $2,000 more as a buffer because you should always prepare for unforeseen costs. That’s $10,000 in total which is a lot of money to most people and it is! My rationale is that it’s about $3,333/month to see all of South East Asia plus Japan and Korea!! Also, if you plan ahead and give yourself time, you can do it!
Some caveats here: 1) You can do this trip much cheaper! I’m just telling you what my budget was. I’m not a traditional backpacker because I’m not 20 years old; I am a flashpacker. I learned this term while I was traveling. I like wine vs beer, I don’t party, I like staying at midrange hotels and sometimes splurging on a luxury resort. I fly vs taking trains or buses mostly to save time. However, I will take a train if that’s part of the experience. 2) I made 6 figures at my last job so I was able to save a lot. 3) It took me a full year to save the money I needed and 4) I don’t have a mortgage, debt, or car payments.
2) I said hellz to the no: I had to say no to so many fun nights out and I have the worst FOMO (fear of missing out). You try living in the most exciting city in the world and not be able to do any of it! My rule was to only allow myself to go out once a week. When I did go out, I wasn’t balling out either. I tried to get my friends to go somewhere with happy hours. I just had to keep reminding myself of my financial goal. A $100 dinner out was potentially 2 days of fun in Vietnam. So nope. I got really friendly with Netflix and home cooked meals. Also, this is a really hard thing to admit here because my friends and family read this thing but I had to say no to baby showers, bridal showers, weddings and other milestone celebrations. My thought was that I’m happy that you’ve reached this pivotal point in your life but I have too. I’m investing in my future. A lot of people won’t get this but if they are your true friends, they will and will love you anyways. On a side note, I’m going to post more about this very topic in the future.
3) I am Frugal AF: All of my close friends and family know that I’ve never been a huge shopper so curbing that habit wasn’t a problem for me. I’ve never been a coupon queen until I was on major saving mode. Anytime I needed something like paper towels or toothpaste, I would scour the internet for coupons. Other frugal do’s and dont’s: 1) Don’t buy coffee, ever heard of the latte factor? 2) Do always take the subway. I only took Ubers and taxis when it was late at night. 3) Don’t get manicures and pedicures. Yes ladies, DIY. 4) Do join the library. They have apps now! 5) Do cancel your gym membership. I started doing the Kayla workout. The app is $20/month which is cheaper than any gym in NYC.
4) I feng shui’d and sold old shit: I needed to get rid of some of my things because I was downsizing my life. I found selling my things on eBay and on Poshmark to be wildly freeing. Why not make money at the same time? This was the start of my minimalist lifestyle and I’ve never felt freer. There are tons of apps now where you can sell your stuff; it’s never been easier! If there is any way you can make extra money like taking on a 2nd job, you should do it. Remember it’s only temporary until you get what you want.
5) I opened a savings account: I opened a separate savings account that automatically deposited money from my checking account every month. I never missed it because I never saw it. When I got my bonus and any extra money I had, it would go directly into that savings account. This account was separate from my retirement fund and my main savings account; it existed solely for this trip.
I hope these tips help you in saving some extra cash to travel the world. Remember, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you rich xoxo.