Disclamer: This article does contain affiliate links.
Okay, so let’s clear the elephant in the room. I hear comments and questions regarding how I travel so much, how I am lucky, how they want my job, etc. all the time. The truth is, it is hard work. Whether it’s planning, looking for a deal, saving money, or working my butt off (yes, I work still wherever I travel), nothing comes easy.
Thankfully, I can work from wherever I have my laptop and WiFi, so there is no need to check into an office. In addition, since my son’s school is year-round, it has 3 breaks of almost 3 weeks, about 7 weeks in the summer, several long weekend holidays. So, flexibility works, especially when it comes to snagging cheap fares. Here are some of my money-saving tips that allows me to travel more and save while traveling.
- Don’t buy unnecessary things. I can’t tell you the last time I went to the mall. I’ve never bought designer clothes, only own 3 pairs of shoes, and probably only had a mani/pedi two times in my life. In fact, most of the clothes I own are actually from the grocery store near my house, which are always 70-80% off. Leggings for $10? Score! Of course, this isn’t for everyone, and you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while, but it comes to a point when you can question if you really want that Louis Vuitton bag or a roundtrip ticket to Cancún.
- Budget your eating expenses. While calculating my monthly costs, food was always one of the top ways I spent money. After trying several meal delivery services, we fell in love with Home Chef. The best part is that we stretch the meals that usually feed 2 people to feed 3 by adding a side of veggies, rice, etc. The food is delicious (we’ve been using them for over a year, so that should say something) and it’s quick and easy to make. If you want to give it a try, you can save $30 by clicking HERE.
- Money-back programs. Not only do I have cash back on my credit and debit cards, but I use Ebates when I do any shopping (or booking trips) online. For instance, if I book a trip on Orbitz, I use Ebates to search and click their link to the site and proceed with my purchase. The percentages change, but currently, you receive 7% cash back with Orbitz, 6% with Groupon, etc., which can add up to a big check, depending on how much you shop online. If you want to try out Ebates, click HERE and spend at least $25 and you’ll get an extra $10 back (until 3/31/2018)!
- Groupon. I have a secret obsession with Groupon and have been using it since 2010 when it was just a baby. From concert tickets to attractions on vacation, I check there first. If I am interested in a tour on a trip, it is likely on there. Jeep tours in Sedona, Land-water tours in Seattle, Yacht tours in San Diego…I’ve booked them all. I even book my airport parking on there. It also helps to get that little bit of cash back when I use it with Ebates too. If you haven’t jumped on the Groupon bandwagon yet, click HERE and start saving today!
- Sparing the change. What do you do with the coins that fall to the bottom of your purse? If this were 5 years ago, I’d probably be able to swing my purse and knock out someone trying to mug me with the amount that just stayed at the bottom of my bag. Nowadays, most everyone uses cards, so spare change isn’t just “there” anymore. However, with Acorns, you link your bank cards and for each purchase you make and it rounds up to the nearest dollar. That change is then added into your managed investment account (you don’t have to know about investments to do it). Plus, you don’t even notice the money being taken out until you see the growth in your Acorns account. Within 3.5 months, I have enough spare change invested + investment gains that I could buy 2 roundtrip tickets to Iceland. Of course, I’ll save it, but it is a great emergency fund (or retirement fund). If you are ready to start investing your spare change, click HERE.
- Search for the best deal. I cannot stress enough to sign up for alerts for flights. Set your home airport + locations near you and locations you want to go. Booking Buddy, Google Flights, Travel Pirates, and more are great for notifying you of a cheap fare. Bonus if you can book during the week. Remember to clear your cookies to see refreshed deals – travel sites are known to raise prices if you repeatedly search the same flight. Thanks to a recent Travel Pirates alert, I was able to book 3 roundtrip, non-stop tickets from Los Angeles to Iceland for only $650 TOTAL!
- While on vacation, opt for a place with a kitchen. I’ve been using VRBO to book my accommodations since 2007 and have never had any issues. Most recently, I booked a beach house that allowed dogs, had 1 bedroom and bath, plus a sofa bed, a kitchen, side yard, parking, cable, WiFi, walking distance from town and was a block and a half from the beach in San Diego. Total cost? $70/night. The kitchen allowed us to shop for groceries and not eat out as much, we barely used the car since we were close to everything, and didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg boarding the dogs. To book your next trip on VRBO, click HERE.
- Find fun, FREE activities to do while you are on vacation. Do your research beforehand and ask for recommendations from family/friends or in Facebook travel groups. During our last trip, one of the highlights were seeing sea animals and collecting shells during the low tides then relaxing on the beach. Cost? FREE!
While there are more tricks to saving money to travel more, these tips should lead you on your way.
Do you have anymore budget-friendly travel tips?