You’ve been dreaming about Italy since you watched The Lizzie McGuire movie, I don’t know, maybe ten years ago or so at this point? The real kicker is that you haven’t been. Yet.
As the case may be, you’re probably spending and saving in all the wrong places. I felt absolutely GUTTED every time I traced my transactions back. But it seems I found Chick-fil-a to be quite comforting when I couldn’t book a flight to Palawan (the proof is in my bank statement LOL.) Who needs the Philippines anyways when I could have fried chicken and waffle fries right now? Present me is both kind of cringing and kind of missing those sandwiches now that I think about it….
So here we are. You need to save AND you need a swift kick in the rear to keep you motivated. Well, I have compiled a list for you to mull over that will both bring you success and it wont drive you stir crazy with saving. Please do keep in mind that all of these are suggestions. I’ve found that these tips work for me personally and I am merely sharing how I prefer to cut corners with my dollar. When I make smarter decisions, these suggestions take me a long way since I am going to spend my money regardless. So buckle in, apprentice, and follow my strategic methods to spend and save your gravy.
- My philosophy is that one should never skimp on his/her coffee. It’s practically self-harm when you’re cramming for finals and still trying to make it to those horrid 8 am classes (I’m not traumatized, you are 😛 ) So if you have a Starbucks habit that can be turned into a Dunkin or gas station one, you are bound to save some pennies. If you intend to plan a trip, coffee money does make a difference, my fine friend. Let’s say your coffee average coffee is $2.70 (I take no credit for this number that I googled.) If you take the cheaper route, BOOM. You easily save at least 50 cents. Bonus: Actively set aside the $$$ you would have spent at that expensive cafe so you can watch it stack up over time. Coin jars are fun!
2. EBATES. Dude, why are you not using this yet? I know you shop online. Truth be told, I thought the website itself seemed a little hoax-y. The whole “Cash back” sell seemed overplayed, ridiculous and even unrealistic….until EBATES cut me my first check for $17.01 just from my online escapades at Amazon/Sephora. I’m not even kidding. Ebates didn’t ask me any of my financial information so I figured not much harm could be done! And once I signed up, proceeded with my online shopping as normal, my bank account got a little more plump and little more joyful when I deposited that check. Not to mention, they HAND you coupon codes for your shopping! Go on, try it. And while you’re at it you can go ahead and deposit that into your trip savings. #notsponsored
SELL THE THINGS
3. Take advantage of Facebook online yard sales or apps like Letgo that will allow you to make a transaction to sell the dress, those Xbox games, the bull. I know that I am especially guilty of hoarding items that are occasion-specific (Halloween costumes) which will serve me no further purpose. But I can assure you, someone is probably looking for it. Bookoo.com is another website you can resort to to sell your things. Just think: the more your items are broadcasted for sale, the more chances you have at picking up a couple extra bucks (and at a faster pace too). Once your transaction is made, take a proud moment for yourself and stick THAT in your travel fund!
Charge for your Services
4. So you’re a handy person huh? You’re the neighborhood car tune-up guy or the girl charging the seniors for Prom makeovers. Seriously! If you are the type of person that has a special talent or craft you can charge your services for, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Edit papers, tutor, give music lessons, make home decor. I also know a lot of people that are phenomenal woodworkers/craftsmen and make peennniieeesss selling their goods. I venture to say that most online yard sale sites allow you to advertise your special talents. Just keep in mind that if you want to continue reaping the rewards, don’t cut corners with those you are intending to continue doing business with.
Science is King
5. Participate in a college study. Sometimes science pays. Like this one time, my brother, Chance, made $50 just by participating in a health evaluation. They asked him questions about his lifestyle and diet, took a sample of his blood for study, and monitored his resting heart rate–then the goods came! Look in your local paper, contact science departments, but please take this at your own risk. Chance’s study was entirely harmless, which is why I think this is such a fantastic idea. If you are willing to sign that waiver, this might be a good idea for you to look into.
6. Warning: this next one is debatable and it MOSTLY applies to books and makeup. However, I’m going to throw it out there anyways. You must know by now that I am a makeup junkie. Textures and colors and pigments….oh boy. But with the makeup industry releasing new collections every other week, it’s super easy to feel pressured into buying more than necessary. Not too long ago, I signed up for a monthly makeup subscription called Boxycharm, which costs $21 a month to receive 5 full sized, mostly high-end products. So now since I have all of these fine items guaranteed to come in every month, I feel LESS inclined to spend ridiculous amounts of cash on full-priced products. And guess what? If there are products in my box I know I wont use, I sell them too. Or I stash them aside and give those full–sized products as gifts. It’s literally a TRIPLE PURPOSE BOX.
I wont neglect the alternative to this, which is not spending any of your hard earned dimes on makeup. At all. You can just totally ‘high school’ it and scrape the bottom of your foundation tube with a q-tip until you’ve used it for all its worth. Heck, this method works 21 times better. However, I feel the need to share my perspective regarding this because makeup IS a passion of mine and it might be yours too. Just be cautious with signing up for any subscription that locks you in against your better judgement. Watch YouTube reviews and do your research before you make another commitment.
Skip the School Food
7. Don’t not, I repeat, DO NOT eat at your school’s café! Pack your own lunch please! I’m just saying…you are already pouring good pennies into your college tuition and classes. While the food served might be good, often times meals are overpriced. Speaking from experience, I once purchased a meal plan worth $200. I ate lunch every day with my friends and since I charged it every day, my meal card had a balance of $0 before half the semester was over. Then it was home-packed sandwiches for me instead of chicken tenders. Imagine my disappointment. So 1) don’t disappoint yourself and start off with a balanced, packed lunch. And 2) this concept also applies with all the eating out you’re partaking in. Save those precious coins you work so hard for.
8. Okay so this next suggestion is another debatable one that requires a bit of your patience. ShopTagR is a website that will notify you when something you like at a store that they’ve partnered with goes on sale. Think about all of the money you could save if you only shopped sale items! Target, Amazon, Fashion Nova….you name it. All you have to do is download the browser and save items to your ShopTagR account. When the price gets reduced, you can get notified through your email or through their app. So that hiking gear you want from Dick’s Sporting Goods? Save it to your ShopTagR and wait for the satisfying sales to begin.
Special Occasion $$$
9. Those birthday and Christmas checks you get from loving family members? Yeah, don’t touch those. I mean, unless you have a car that needs an honest tune-up, or groceries, (or any necessity really.) Put all of that fine paper money into your travel savings and leave it be. Imagine thanking your auntie for helping you get to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland or to the Thousand Torii Gates in Kyoto. The key here is to visualize your travel goals and refuse not to be weakened by the immediate gratification of material things. (Cough, cough Angel)
10. Use everything: the very last bits of deodorant & toothpaste, the candle jar that can be re-purposed. Reuse the old T shirt or purchase lightly used clothes at a second hand store for necessary school shopping. You have leftovers? Guess who is eating last night’s chicken for lunch (Das you.) This ‘waste not’ policy is nothing I have invented but it will be most essential on your savings journey.
Well, it seems you have a few more hacks in your bag of tricks now. And you may even be off to Italy or literally any other destination sooner than you think. Once you set a clear goal with a solution to get there, that will prove to be a pivotal moment for you and the beginnings of your travels.