Ahhh, money. The topic alone can make us cringe and I may make severe detour to begin this post and say, we (collectively) need to work on our money mindset.
We tend to have money stories that we carry with us throughout our lives that we don't recognize until we're crying in the middle of Rome after falling victim to a tiny little scam that put you out 3 euro (just me?)
All this to say, I encourage you to delve into your savings plan with an open heart and abundant mindset. Yes, you will be making changes to the way you spend money. You'll become more aware of the state of your finances. And ultimately you'll take all this hard saved and earned dough and spend on some fabulous, unforgettable experiences.
When you let the money go, the key is to know it will come back. Why? Money is just doing its job. Money is a resource to afford you the things you desire most in this life. How privileged we are to know we can always have more. We have the skills and the experience and the background that we can exchange for more money at ANY time.
Now that that is out of the way...
How to Save Money for Travel
With everything I teach about in regards to career breaks and remote work, the key is to begin with awareness. Sometimes this is hard because awareness is not really something we're taught. But awareness of our feelings, our desires, our intentions, our finances; these are the building blocks of how we'll be able to accomplish what we actually want, in this case, moolah to go see the world.
Once you've gained awareness on your current financial circumstances, it is time to make small changes that can make a huge difference in your financial goals.
Gaining Financial Awareness
What do I mean by being aware of your financial situation. Maybe you have a decent idea of your annual income before taxes. But how much do you take home each month? Do you have other sources of monthly income? What is the total. And furthermore, where are you spending your money? Are you spending everything that comes in? Do you have a savings account? Do you contribute to your 401K? Do you have debt that needs paying off?
Ok, enough with the questions but I could go on. Gaining financial awareness means knowing exactly what comes in and a fairly accurate estimate of where it goes out each month. Knowing this information is imperative in the decision making process of how you can make small adjustments.
So how do you go about this? Gather all your banking passwords, have everything ready to log in to all of your accounts and check the current status. You're also going to want to list all of your sources of income and all of your monthly expenses. I personally like using the Mint App as it keeps everything all in one place so I don't need to go on a password scavenger hunt each time I'm checking on things.
If you need help with this, I've created a totally free workbook that walks you through the steps, plus it focuses on saving your first $1000 (who wouldn't want to do that?!?!)
(or just scroll down to the end of the post to enter your deets)
Saving Money for a Trip is Comprised of Spending Less and Earning More
It is very easy for all the rich finance gurus to tell you to stop going out to eat or to only do free activities, but that isn't realistic. The thing is we want to save money while STILL enjoying our lives. There are a lot of ways to spend less and plenty of ways to earn more without completely diminishing our current lifestyles (I include some ideas in the workbook!)
Imagine you're going out for dinner and drinks with your friends. Think about the draw of that activity. You want to spend time with your friends! You want to have a great time! Likely your goal isn't to eat the most expensive thing on the menu and have more cocktails than anyone else. Regardless of what you order at this dinner out, you can still meet the main objective of enjoying quality time with your friends. You could have an appetizer instead of a main dish. You could have beers instead of cocktails.
Now if you guys go to dinner multiple times per week, you could take it a step further to amplify your savings efforts and invite everyone over for a potluck! That would result in drastic savings on the evening.
The idea is to make small, intentional changes that can potentially have a big impact over time. Oftentimes we spend money without thinking (lack of awareness), so just being focused on saving (with a big, exciting travel goal to look forward to) is enough to start moving the dial in a positive direction!
After you see where you money goes each month, there is an opportunity to assess what is truly necessary and what you can reduce, eliminate, or find an alternative for.
I always recommend starting small and proving to yourself this is possible for you. Action breeds confidence and confidence breeds results!
If you have a monthly savings goal (like the $1000 I am suggesting!), another way to achieve it is to bring in a little more cash flow each month.
I want you to BELIEVE that there is money all around us. We just need to BELIEVE we can access it when we want. Look in your closet. Do you have clothes, shoes, sports equipment, etc that haven't seen the light of day in over a year? That is money. Those are things people want and will pay for. You simply need to put the offer out there.
Have you ever said that you are bored? Boredom is prime time to be money making. Start a side hustle, pick up a side gig, turn your hobby into a profit. The possibilities are endless (especially online in this digital age).
The Key to Saving Money Fast
This is the must-do step to save money quickly. You need to pay your travel fund first! What? This sounds ludacris. What about my bills? I hear you, but this is what you'll do.
Either open a new bank account or go about this the old fashioned way with an envelope and cash. The idea is once money enters the travel fund it is untouchable until you are about to travel. Once the money goes in, it does not exist for bills or drinks or clothes or concerts. Keep it out of sight.
Now each time you get paid, you will set aside an amount to your travel fund account. You get to choose how much. If you are new to the saving game, start with $5, $10, $100, something that feels comfortable and manageable. An amount you won't miss. You'll go along with your normal life and chances are you'll automatically adapt to having $10 less available to you. You won't even think about the changes you'd need to make. It happens naturally. Cool right?
Now, the next time you get paid, set aside more. Challenge yourself to be intentional with your savings this go around. Notice where you spent the most money in the previous pay period. Was it all necessary? Did you actually need to spend $200 on Amazon or you did it because it was Prime Day?
If you make a habit of paying your travel fund first, even if it isn't a lot of money, it will automatically grow. And the better you get at managing your finances, the more you can pay your travel fund and the faster it will grow.
I know I have some competitors reading this! Isn't this the ultimate competition? What a challenge! See how fast you can grow that travel fund! Make it a game! Enlist your friends.
And in the spirit of a challenge, I'll be hosting a live challenge over on TikTok for 30 days beginning in August with the goal of guiding you to $1000 in savings for travel by the time it is all said and done (results aren't guaranteed and are dependent upon your commitment and belief that you CAN do it). So follow me over there: @thetravelshifters (and if you're reading this after August, fear not, you can still do the challenge)
My free workbook will help keep you organized and on track through the 30 day challenge so be sure to download your copy today.
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