You have probably been told that a great way to save money is to stop buying a daily coffee, or cancel your Spotify subscription, or something along the lines of giving up small luxuries. And while that’s nice advice on how to save a little cash, it’s a bit condescending to hear that you could afford your dream life if only you didn’t buy avocados. If you clicked on this post, you probably already follow all of that basic advice out there and are looking for some more insight on how to substantially save money to go abroad.
We have written extensively about ways to fundraise, but you’re probably going to have to pay for the bulk of your travels on your own. To be as straightforward as possible, making and saving money is hard. There is no “get rich quick” and funding your travels takes more than buying generic over name brand groceries. Let’s dive into unique ways to save and make money in 2019.
A few things about money management:
Now on to the advice.
Minimalism isn’t just a trend, it’s a great way to be sustainable and save a significant amount of money. You can do it in small or big ways, whatever works for you. There’s a huge community of minimalists out there, so you’ll have plenty of resources. And when someone asks why you don’t buy paper towels or shaving cream, you can just say you’re a minimalist. Plus, it will prepare you for how life might be while abroad. You’ll be surprised by how many things you can live without.
Need some motivation? There are great apps that make saving feel like a game. Some of the most popular ones are Mint, Wally, and the subtly named, “You Need a Budget.” Everyone has their preferences, so do a bit of research and figure out which is right for you. If you prefer to keep it simple, just jot down everything you spend in your notes app to help keep track.
It’s more popular than ever to get a credit card because of the flyer miles. You can feel good that every time you DO buy something, it will also support that flight to Bangkok, or wherever it is you want to go. Look into which one is right for you.
On the other hand, skip credit cards altogether and use the Envelope System. Greenheart Travelers have used this method to save $20,000 in two years! You can read more how it on their blog, but the basics are that you set aside your budget for the month in cash, and you break up that cash into envelopes based on categories, like food or transportation. Once the cash is gone, that’s it. It’s is great for people who tend to go a little crazy with debit or credit cards because the method doesn’t let you overspend.
This is something that will give you a boost of cash inflow, ideally without taking up too much of your time. Are you an artist? Upload your work on Society6. Great with kids? Sign up for Care.com. Know basic technology? Tutor those who are not as hip. Identify a skill you already have and learn how to make money from it.
Love fashion but can’t swing new threads? Opt for secondhand clothes at thrift stores and resell stops (there are a lot of great ones online). Not only is this a money-saver, it’s a whole sustainable movement that rejects fast fashion. That thing that is trendy right now will not be in 5 months, so you’re better off without it anyway.
Find solutions to money guzzling activities without losing the part that actually makes you happy. For example, most money-saving lists will tell you to stop eating at restaurants (and they are right), BUT if you are someone who values meals with friends, this may tank your social life. Instead, host a potluck, eat ahead of time, set your budget for the night, or ask to eat at a budget-friendly place. The point is that you are not putting yourself in the position where you feel isolated, because then it is hard to remember why you are saving up in the first place.
No one is obligated to give you money to go abroad, but if you do set up a GoFundMe, Kickstarter or whatever, learn the protocol for how to say thank you. Most people who give money want to know where it is going, so make sure to explain your program and what you will be doing in detail. It is also nice to allow them to feel like they are a part of your adventures, so provide them some sort of documentation, like a monthly email blast, blog, or videos. And postcards or handwritten notes go a long way! We’ve written more about this subject here.
The Bottom Line
There is no easy way to get a lot of money really quickly. You will have to make sacrifices, make an effort, and make-do without. It’s hard when the payoff doesn’t happen right away, but when you finally hit that goal, the reward feels that much better.