These suggestions of 50 ways to save $50 to travel is based in experience. I learned to travel frugally on a minimal budget because I had to if i wanted to have the experiences without incurring debt of any kind (ie: poor student life). Travel doesn’t have to be a luxury when it comes to your budget, really. Travel, especially in terms of flexibility of schedule is absolutely a privilege – there are times when i have struggled with not being able to make the most economic decisions because the rigors of 9-5 work made it impossible.

These days Travel is something we choose, as part of a life rich in experiences rather than objects. By we, I mean Team Rabe. If you aren’t clear on your true living expenses or want a tool that will help you optimize your financial life, check out ynab. It has helped us increase out net worth by over 40% in the last 12 months. It is amazing what happens when you have a true picture of your expenses and your priorities.

50 ways to save $50 and travel more

50 ways to save $50 & travel more

  1. Pay off all Credit Card balances. if you have more than one and you’re not sure where to start, check out undebt.it – a free tool to help you pay down your debt faster.
  2. Write a shopping list and stick to it. If it’s really important it will likely go on the list before you leave the house. Be firm with yourself and don’t stray from the list – you might find you get better at using a list the more you do it. Research has shown you will spend less by using a list – especially if you are susceptible to impulse buys.
  3. Carpool to work or negotiate telework 1 day a week. Bonus points: sign up with uber or lyft as a side hustle and get some time in before or after work.
  4. Cancel all magazine subscriptions – or at least turn off auto-renew and then see which ones you miss. It is amazing how easy it is to “renew” when you still have time left ending up in subscriptions for years into the future.
  5. Turn off the ads – use paperkarma for your snail mail and unroll for email. You can unsubscribe from each email individually but these are tools that will at least make it not appear separately in my email inbox! Less ads, less likelihood you will buy.
  6. Cut the cable – look at streaming services (there are services that include sports for those who simply MUST have those).
  7. Shop around for your prescriptions! Use a mail-order pharmacy for long term prescriptions; ask your doctor for “Generic;” and look at out for prescription savings cards.
  8. Use ATMs that don’t charge you fees – this might mean you need to plan ahead – or go with a bank that rebates the fees (like USAA).
  9. Join a warehouse club or better yet, join a warehouse co-op group.
  10. Visit museums and art galleries on free days. This is a great way to be a tourist in your own location!
  11. Cancel your landline, if you still have one.
  12. Call your cell phone company and ask for a better deal. This is especially great if you are out of contract!
  13. Price compare vehicle and home insurance. Use this information to ask for lower premiums for your current policies.
  14. Buy airline tickets in advance. The general wisdom is 4-6 weeks in advance. Some say you should travel on Saturdays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.
  15. Coupons. I find couponing for groceries not worth my time, but try it for yourself – it might work for you. I ALWAYS search for a coupon when purchasing online, especially at a new web store or retail store.
  16. Plug Tax leaks. Make sure your tax rate is correct. If you have an accountant, ask them for 3 things you could do to improve taxes for the next year’s filing.
  17. Use libraries. Borrowing movies, audiobooks, and books from your local library. You are likely already paying taxes for their services, so use them. Especially if it is a book you will read once, borrow it rather than buying it.
  18. Cancel that PMI. Do you have a mortgage + Private Mortgage insurance? If you have 20% equity in your home, you can cancel the PMI! This can save you thousands a year.
  19. Shop around for a more attractive credit card rate. Use balance transfers strategically and be mindful of not canceling your longest-held credit card. Do put credit cards away if you struggle with debt – just don’t add to the debt!
  20. Consider higher deductibles for property and auto insurance. Consider raising your deductibles to $1000 or more for property and at least $250 for auto insurance. Be careful raising the deductibles to level higher than you would be comfortable covering. (I’ve heard of people raising their deductibles to as high as $15,000 for their home which, literally, is a disaster waiting to happen.)
  21. Move away from high bank charges. Is your bank charging you a monthly fee of more than 1% of your monthly deposits? if the answer is yes, then move your account. There are many FDIC insured institutions (including credit unions and cooperatives) who do not charge crazy fees. Go with them. If you have a military affiliation, check out USAA or Navy Federal Credit Union.
  22. Use reusable cloths rather than paper towel. Not only are you acting in a small way to decrease your impact on the planet, but paper towels are expensive!
  23. Take your own lunch and snacks to work. Leftovers work great for this, buy your favorite snacks (including the decadent treats) at the supermarket and not in the vending machine. If you have a favorite drink or soda, buy a case and take a couple to work and put in the fridge. You still have your favorite things, it’s just cheaper!
  24. Do some of your own car maintenance. Forgo the car wash and the detailing, and do it yourself. If you have the skills, change your own oil. If you don’t, see if a local organization is running a car or bike maintenance course where you could learn.
  25. Use the quick oil change place rather than a full mechanic for an oil change. If you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself (that’s us) get your oil changes done at an oil change place in between services. Not only is this often quick – they often have a checklist of basic items (water and wiper fluid and indicators) they check.
  26. Sell some unused items. If you have a bunch of things, check out “everything but the house,” craigslist, facebook marketplace, or eBay. If you are a glutton for punishment, and/or live in a neighborhood not full of cheapskates, try a garage sale (you are better than me)!
  27. Maybe you should rent it. If you will only need a piece of equipment or item for a short time or defined time, consider renting or borrowing. If you aren’t sure what makes better financial sense, do a cost breakdown = cost/uses = cost per use.
  28. Book an Energy Audit. Have an energy audit done on your home (you may not even need to be the owner, just the electrical bill payer). Many electrical companies offer these for free.
  29. Pay Yourself First. Invest at least $1 a day. The sooner you start the quicker you will be making more than $50 a day (let alone a month)!
  30. Blind taste test – get together with friends and bring staple items and masking labels test each. It will likely amaze you how hard it is to tell the premium from the generic. Okay, I get it, sometimes there is a huge quality difference! Someone in our house (no names) is pretty particular about the toilet paper brand. The rest of the household has capitulated to the reality that sometimes brand does matter. ps: don’t blind taste test toilet paper! Just know which is which quality-wise and own it!
  31. Review checks and bills for errors. This doubly goes for medical and hospital bills – it is amazing how often these are billed incorrectly.
  32. Consider public transport over driving/parking. Some employers even reimburse public transport costs – so check with HR about this!
  33. Cut your eating out budget by 50%. So many people could save the money they need from travel by cutting their eating out budget by 25% but aim high!
  34. Meal Plan. Truly, this saves money – you only buy what you need. We even found that we spent less money on food by using GreenChef than even by meal planning ourselves!
  35. **Free** is not a dirty word. Parades, fairs, festivals, exhibitions, celebrations, and fiestas are often full of amazing free entertainment. Get together with some friends, a blanket, and a picnic basket and have a great afternoon or evening out!
  36. Exercise outside the four walls of a gym. Public lands (national parks, trails, public exercise circuits) are a great way to get exercise in without the expense of a gym membership. If you really need a gym, look for a local Y, or if military go on base – those base gyms are often underutilized.
  37. Expand your planning horizon. It is often a challenge to plan beyond this week, but the further out you can get your planning horizon the cheaper things often are. (sometimes it is worth checking refund policies if there is a chance you will have to change plans). We try to work on a 90-day planning horizon (doesn’t always work but we try).
  38. The stock market is a better bet than the lottery. Truly. (But that doesn’t imply day trading.)
  39. Collect your spare change. Whether you use a piggy bank or an old golden syrup can (my receptacle of choice) collect that spare change. Some credit unions have coin machines that are cheaper (3% fee) than Coinstar (10% fee). We swear by this – we just found $140 worth of coins collected over the course of 3 years. Crazy!
  40. Comparison shop online. Honey is a tool that can help you do this (not sponsored, not affiliate). I usually search 3-5 sites for specialist items, like trail shoes, before purchasing.
  41. Skip the service contracts and extended warranties. Not only is the manufacturer’s warranty often sufficient, check to see if your credit card extends the warranty (they often do).
  42. Swap convenience foods for Fruit and Veg Co-ops. It is absolutely often more expensive to cook fruit, vegetables, and meat at home in the US, however, many communities offer fruit and vegetable coops that really do save you money and enable healthier eating. We have enjoyed Bountiful Baskets at times (they went through some changes in suppliers) and recommend you check out local farm co-ops.
  43. Skip the car rental insurance at the rental agency. Your auto insurance and/or your credit card may already cover you for this at a higher level than the rental car insurance would. Do your research.
  44. Put your next pay raise toward your travel fund. This could absolutely get you to your next trip much faster. Make this transfer automatic!
  45. Try a No spend month. A few bloggers and writers have written about their experiences of doing this (and we are thinking about it for later this year). The LifeHacker folks have written about how to prepare for a no spend month. Perhaps try working up to this and start with a no spend week.
  46. Side hustle – 2nd or 3rd job. A friend recently shared a letter she received from her newspaper delivery woman. A woman who delivered newspapers for 9 years at dawn to help put herself through her degree and teaching certification as a mother of three. Now that is perseverance. For side hustles, try Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School for ideas and information.
  47. Learn to cook with cheaper cuts of meat or types of fish. Okay, so those of you who have lived on a limited budget already know this. Stewing meats, the discount freezer and the discount bin in the produce section are amazing places to get the sustenance you need while saving a stack of dollar bills. I am glad I haven’t lost these habits. A pound of green beans for .89c in the discount section was part of a meal that fed four people recently. I still remember the joy of discovering smoked salmon off-cuts were 2 pounds for a pound when I lived in Scotland. Much cheaper than the 10 or 12 pounds for the perfectly intact fillets.
  48. Decrease your base costs. If you can find ways to decrease your base costs, then your cash flow will improve as a natural corollary. It is for this reason that we are paying our car off quicker than the loan requires because we know this will free up money for traveling in Europe. Look to decrease any subscriptions, monthly or quarterly fees you don’t absolutely need.
  49. Change out your lightbulbs. If you still have incandescent bulbs, consider replacing them with Energy Star rated LED bulbs, which use at least 75% less energy and can save $71 annually!
  50. You need a Budget. No seriously, I think this piece of software has helped us save at least $50 a month for the last couple of years. Once you are clear on what you are spending and you can track your true and actual expenses, it becomes much easier to make decisions in light of the clarity of your goals. Get two months free trial.

These suggestions of 50 ways to save $50 to travel are just the beginning! Life isn’t always easy – we’ve been there too. We’d love to hear how you are making it work!

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