The most frequent question I've been asked is how I manage to pay for all my traveling. It's an obvious assumption I don't get paid to travel, so what could it be? Secrets are secrets for a reason, but I'm willing to part with some ways you can save money everyday to help you keep your money where it belongs- in the bank, so you can use it to make your travel dreams come true.
Our generation has grown up with an existential crisis, believing we need "more" from life, "more" than what we believe our mediocre life of work and weekend drinking scenes has to offer. We believe the only thing that can save us from leading this uninteresting life, is one of travel. For what's a life that isn't worth boasting on Instagram with impeccable clothing and a stunning view, or checking in on Facebook? And hence we set out, in order to lead a better life, or appear to lead a better one. Still- who doesn't want to travel abroad?
If you're still with me, I'll cut my depressing rant short (this blog is supposed to inspire, hello!) and get down to business. Saving money to travel is a long-time commitment. Taking a holiday once a year and truly investing in travel are entirely different things. If you're ready to cut your daily living expenses and Friday night chilling budget to commit to a trip far away, here are some things to help:
Create a different savings account for your travel:
We keep thinking we'll save some bucks at the end of the month, but has that ever happened? Living paycheck to paycheck never helps anyone, specially not when you have a trip to fund! Put a portion of your salary (however little) on automatic transfer to your travel fund to ensure you don't spend it.
Track your expenses:
This may be the most off-putting sentence ever, but it's true. Tracking your expenses for a month will give you an idea of where most of your money is going? Is it the food delivery or the chilling scenes? The online shopping or the alcohol? You don't have to struggle with it manually each time. There are a bunch of apps available to do the job for you. "Spending" is the app I use. Another great one is Toshl Finance. It's syncs all your accounts- savings, budget, credit cards: pretty much everything, to track the way you blow up your salary.
Carpool and Uber Pool:
Office transport might sound passé, but there are other things you could consider to save all the money you spend on work commute every day. Carpool it half way, or a portion of the way if you can. Even if that's not a viable option every day, you'll be able to work something out on some days. I just leave my car in the office parking some evenings and just hitch a ride with friends. You could also consider Uber Pool (specially in the morning and for short distances). You know what they say- keep those pennies in check and the pounds will take care of themselves!
Check your iTunes subscription:
You might be paying for apps you no longer use. It's easy to enter your credit card details and never bother removing them. Go through your app subscriptions for paid apps to check if you're being charged for any apps you don't often use or no longer need. This should apply to other places you've entered your credit card details as well- a LinkedIn premium account or Netflix subscription.
Keep the online shopping in check:
This one is a problem not only because it's so easy to purchase, but also because it gives us something to look forward to when we get back home from a heavy day at work. The happiness associated with receiving gifts or parcels is the feeling that triggers continuous purchase online. Often, we purchase things we don't need just because we see them online and they seem like a good idea at the time. Sleep it over before you make the purchase.
Try it before you buy it:
Asking yourself if you really need it will always give you one answer- YES! But don't blindly purchase things thinking you can exchange them whenever you like. Many times we don't end up exchanging items, or don't like anything the store has in the 1 month duration we have to exchange the item. We end up with things we don't need or nothing at all. Save yourself the hassle and don't be lazy in the first go!
Sell the stuff you don't need:
Before you start thinking, "Tacky!" just consider how much stuff you've got inside your room that you never plan to use? It's probably going to sit there gathering dust till you move to a different house, or decide to mercilessly get rid of all your crap some day. Why not use that to fund your travel? Sell the stuff you don't need on OLX, it's actually quite simple now, with the app. You can also sell the clothes you no longer need with an app called Elanic. It's only available in Bangalore at the moment, but we can't wait for it to finally arrive everywhere else too!
Carry food from home:
I can't obsess on the importance of this one! Not only will this save your fitness goals from being shot to hell, but will also help you munch throughout the day. Pack a few tiny boxes with nuts, fresh veggies (with hummus), fruit and lunch from home. This will help you save money on the innumerable lunches you purchase at the canteen or end up order from Salad Days. Being healthier actually pays in this case!
Sell images online:
If you're interested in photography and own a decent camera, you can make some extra bucks online. The money might be slow to come in, but it's all in the numbers. All you need is an eye for angles, to be able to identify a good shot when you see one, and some basic photo editing skills (no, Instagram doesn't count). Sign up on Shutterstock and get paid per download!
Use up your loyalty points:
Not talking about flight loyalty points here, but other loyalty points you might have accrued over different apps. This could be Crown It points, travel app wallet points, or any other free trials and gift cards you have floating around the place. Don't wait for the app to shut down, or for the offer to expire.
This blog was originally published on Stumbling Around Delhi.