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I’m at that age where some people I know are gearing up to graduate university, some have graduated (like myself) and are beginning their careers (not like myself), and some are already settled down and married with multiple children. It’s a weird time. But for a lot of people, it’s not an impossible time to travel like they think it is.
I get it, we all have priorities–bills to pay, student loan payments coming due, and so on. I moved out of my parents house in June 2018 and two months later my dreaded student loans came due, and suddenly I was smacked in the face with real world problems. I wasn’t in my safe little bubble anymore-I had been thrust out into the world for everyone to see and judge. I was sat down and told that I shouldn’t be spending my money on frivolous things like travel and that I needed to prioritize and make sacrifices. Nope, don’t like it, not one bit. Sure, life may be about making sacrifices and being an adult, but who says you can’t have fun and adventure at the same time? I’ve learned so much over the years to make my love for travel and exploration possible, especially when it boils down to saving up my hard earned money.
Quick, Easy, and Painless
Most people nowadays use plastic over cash-whether it’s a debit card or credit card, most of us have at least one of each and dinners or outings with friends are often filled with words like “I’ll Venmo you!” “What’s your Ca$hApp?” and “Can you split the check for us?” Personally, I live off of my debit card and the only time I ever carry cash is when I’m getting tattooed. By far the EASIEST way to begin saving your money is by using your bank’s mobile app to transfer money into your savings. I’ve utilized three different strategies-1) Rounding my purchases up to the nearest $1/$5/$10 (depending on the cost) and putting the excess into my savings; 2) Putting the same amount of money I spend on purchases into my savings account, as if I’m buying it twice; and 3) Simply transferring $X into my savings every day, whether it be $5, $10, or even $20. There’s an app called Acorns that is similar to my first strategy, but I’ve never felt the need to personally use it as I’m constantly monitoring my accounts! Mobile banking apps have made controlling money flow so easy and seeing where all of your money goes really puts it into perspective.
If you have issues with budgeting, the app Mint which you can link to all of your accounts-debit, savings, credit, student loans, etc. and can manually enter certain bills like rent and whatnot. The app was created by Intuit, so it’s safe and you don’t have to worry about your information being stolen. It analyzes your spending habits and formulates automatic budgets for a myriad of different categories (which you can change and edit to suit your personal needs). Not only does it send you reminders when you’re approaching your budget and when it surpasses it, but it also sends notifications for suspicious activities going on in your accounts, like large sums of money going in or out. I swear by it, and it’s definitely helped hone in on sticking to my budget-without much work on my end! It couldn’t get much easier.
Not so Quick and Maybe Not so Easy
I get it, most of us love our caffeine and our beloved Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Tim Hortons coffee to keep us moving through the day like a normal person, and not the sleep-deprived zombie that so many feel like on the inside. What’s not so beloved about this is spending SO. MUCH. MONEY. Coffees are usually at least $2 per cup for the cheapest kind with no additions. Buy yourself a grinder and French press or cold brew jug, find your favorite pound of coffee beans (DRIFTAWAY is mine!), and MAKE YOUR OWN! If you like flavored syrups, Jordan’s Skinny Syrups are delicious and pretty health conscious (and not too expensive on amazon).
This goes pretty hand in hand with DIY coffee, but meal prepping is a GAME CHANGER! It’s not something you have to do for every day or every meal, but it definitely helps in terms of saving your hard earned cash. If you’re buying lunch every day at work, it’s probably costing you an average of $10-$15 a day-$50-$75 per WEEK! Cutting that down to 1-2 days a week will allow you to throw that cash in your travel savings jar (which adds up very quickly)! Meal prepping not only saves money on eating out, but also saves time since you’re usually cooking a bulk of your food in one go, and don’t have to worry about whipping up a whole meal after work–simply throw some in a bowl and pop it in the microwave! There are millions of great and easy meal prep recipes suitable for any lifestyle and diet.