The Small Things: 9 Little Ways to Sock Away Travel Money

Spending Diet update! You can track how my own savings are progressing here.

In last month’s money update I wrote about major life changes you could make to save money. While incredibly effective, I know those aren’t always the easiest things to implement, so today I wanted to go in the opposite direction and round up some small things you can do to help build your travel fund.

None of the things I’ve listed below are huge sacrifices, but over time they can add up to be fairly significant sources of money:

  • Stop Buying Food- Not all food obviously (you still need to live) but you can save a bundle in the long run by brown bagging your lunches and cutting back on coffee breaks. That $3 Starbucks latte every morning is going to run you over $1000 a year.
  • Start Stockpiling Change– Any time I get change back from a purchase I pour it directly into my large glass change jar.
    Once it’s full I head on over to coin-star and convert it back into lovely dollars. It’s inspiring to watch the jar fill up and I know from experience that once my jar is full it’s probably holding at least $100.

    money in jar
    Creative Commons License photo credit: sciondriver
  • Stop paying for entertainment- There’s this really amazing place called the library, where you can borrow all the books and movies you want for free! It’s kind of amazing when you think about it.
  • Buy Generic– Now is not the time to be all snobby. It is the SAME STUFF, I swear. Save yourself the $2 and pick up the store brand shampoo, Advil, Tostitos, whatever.
  • Quit impulse buying– this has saved me a bundle. I used to spend a lot of money online (clothes) shopping. When I started my Spending Diet the very first thing I did was impose a 24-hour waiting period between putting anything in my online cart and pressing buy. The difference is incredible- I very rarely buy anything online these days. And I don’t really feel any worse off for it.
  • Quit the Gym– You’re leaving soon hopefully anyways, so now is as good a time as ever to start learning to live without your gym. Easy for me to say, as I’m only vaguely familiar with the idea of a workout room, but I DO know that those memberships are expensive.  Make the sacrifice and start working out at home or jogging.
  • Become a Little Lamer– Last month we determined that the biggest money suck for twenty-somethings is nightlife. If you can find free things to do or start staying home even one weekend night month you can save yourself a bundle. One suggestion for ruining your social life? Start a blog! I’m writing this on a Saturday night right now.
  • Sell stuff– I’m going to be talking about this in more detail in future columns, but it’s always a good time to start looking around your house and thinking about what’s expendable. I guarantee you probably have some junk that you could pass along to another grateful owner in exchange for a few bucks.
  • Push yourself with a Savings Challenge these little things add up over time, but sometimes you need a surge to keep you going. If you are feeling ambitious you might try Ramit Sethi’s “Save $1000 in 30 Days” challenge, which includes a lot of great tips for how to squeeze every last cent. Or the Untemplater 30-Day “No Spend” Challenge.

In addition to padding your bank account, I think that doing these things has a positive psychological component. Just like World War Two home front efforts, making these small daily sacrifices reminds you that you’re working towards something bigger. Every day you put away a little change and bring yourself a little bit closer to reaching your travel goals.

For lots of money saving tips check out:

Dumb Little Man


What small things do you do to save money?

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65 thoughts on “The Small Things: 9 Little Ways to Sock Away Travel Money”

  1. My library also has magazines (about 100) and cds of music of several types.

    On the change thing– Shop around. My grocerie store and my credit union both use a machine that cost 10%. One of the banks in the area doesn’t charge anything for sorting and countinig your change if you have an account with them. So I opened a small account just to get my change counted. Then I started depositing it to that account and with in a year had over $1,000.00 in the account which started with only $25.00. But I didn’t stop there. I didn’t like haveing money only making half a percent; So I invested the money in a REIT that was paying 18%.

  2. Everyone talked about saving money. They STRESS over this and STRESS over that. When you drink and if you do this, you do a lot more of it when you’re drinking. This thing has so many triggers to make you want it. No matter where you go they’re not cheap. How about quiting CIGAERETTES or tobacco? I used to pay $4.50 a pack in Columbus Ohio, moved to Honolulu Hawaii 6 weeks ago, cigarettes here in Hawaii are anywhere from $8 a pack to $14 a pack. I took the money from a pack a day and put in a jar then added the occasional extra pack and in 6 weeks ive saved $460. I based it on the store across the street where they are $10 a pack. Also I can breathe better, smell stuff better,my clothes are smelling better, food taste different. So im saving money and getting healthier and can do more than I used to. I just had to watch what I ate because the first 2 weeks I started to gain weight. Now that I can run 10 miles on the treadmill in the free gym at where i live or if I really want to sweat, run 10 miles on the beach here in Waikiki, the area in Honolulu that I live now. What helped quit smoking too was that Hawaii offers free help to anyone who wants to quit. hey provide the gum or the patch for free, plus a counsoler.

  3. Honestly I am doing all of the above, and it doesn’t make much of a difference, if the savings is being attacked by substantial cuts in income, a massive debt load, or a combination of both. As it stands I barely eat much of anything, and I’m a college student working as close to full time as my boss allows.

    1. I’m sorry, with the economy right now things are just really tough out there aren’t they. Hopefully things will get better and eventually you will be able to start a travel fund!

  4. i never give change, breaking a dollar helps save. I make my own coffee in the morning and take it in the car with me. I watch movies with netflix, I shop at tj max and marshalls, i try and use coupons

  5. Yes, yes, and yes! On the “be lamer” note… I find that when you cut back on going out, your alcohol tolerance ends up plummeting. Where it would take me 5-6 beers to feel giggly in college, now it takes only 2-3… which leads to additional savings. 🙂

  6. Great tips there. I think that I’m wasting my money on Saturday nights as well. I consider myself being reasonable spender overall. I’m always looking for a better deal and all. But if you are outside and drinking that will be expensive and there is really nothing you can do about it. So yeah, thanks for pointing that out. More blogging, less nights out, roger that.

  7. Budget. Everyone is in a different situation, but budgeting and planning will enable almost anyone to travel. It may take a few months or a few years to reach your goals, but if you are careful and methodical you will get there. I once planned a trip for three years! Three years of scrimping and saving in order to take

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