Top Ten Ways to Save Money for Travel

by Jessica on June 20, 2011

Summer is upon us and everyone is making vacation plans while keeping an eye on the budget.  The internet is full of ideas about how to save money on your vacation and we use those tricks when we are traveling.   But for us, the money saving begins way before the tickets are purchased and the hotels are booked.    For our family, traveling is a high priority and daily budget choices make that priority a possibility.    Here are some of the ways that we save money every day so that we can use those savings for travel.

1. Get out of debt.   If you haven’t caught onto the Dave Ramsey phenomenon, drop everything right now and get thee to the library.  Check out his Total Money Makeover for a step by step method to get out and stay out of debt.  If you find that you have more month than money, this will be life changing.

2. Downsize. Last year we found ourselves living in a home that we could afford, but with not enough left over at the end of the month to travel like we wanted.  So, even though our family size was increasing, we decreased our square footage and our house payment.    Sure, the kids gave up their own bedroom and we gave up a ton of storage space, but we gained more disposable income.  When I feel like grumbling about the smaller space I remember that my kids are never going to sit around and say “remember that huge walk in closet we had.”

3. Use things up.  We live in a throwaway society, so it is easy to buy into the mindset that we need the latest and greatest.   From cars to clothing, things last a lot longer than advertisers would like you to believe.   Both of our cars are over ten years old and we have clothing in our closet older than that.  As long as it’s still functional, we will keep using it.  Likely, even after an item has reached the end, we will pick up the pieces and try to salvage a few more uses.

4. Use what you have. Confession time: I live in the 21st century and I use a hand operated can opener.  Of course, I could get an electric one for not much money, but the hand crank works just fine.  Over time this mentality saves me tons of money.  Not a ton of fun when I want a new pair of strappy shoes, but still a money saver.

5. Do your own repairs.  Mow your own grass.  Change your own oil.  Paint your own walls.  Sew your own curtains.  You get the picture.   You would be surprised what you can learn to do with the right initiative.  With absolutely no prior training (and only a few minor mishaps), the Mister and I have laid tile floor, built an addition on our house, and replaced the headliner in our van. Admittedly, self repair comes with a certain set of frustrations.  I like to combat these frustrations by finishing every project with a trip to Travelocity to see what plane tickets my hard work can buy me.

6. Buy used.  We never buy something new until we have checked out the used options first.   Craigslist and Ebay are great places to look for used items at a fraction of the cost.  We especially find that we can save money by purchasing secondhand clothing and toys.   I recently hit the clothing jackpot by shopping in a consignment store in a very well to do neighborhood.  Nothing makes you feel better than rocking a $200 designer outfit that you got for $20.
7. Don’t eat out. Simple and easy.  Eating out is a huge budget buster.  When we do eat out, we save money by looking for Kids Eat Free nights or by sharing a main course and drinking water.

8. Use your resources.  We do like to spend money on entertainment, but whenever possible we take advantage of free entertainment.  Check out books and movies from the library instead of buying or renting.  Take advantage of summer reading programs that offer free tickets to amusement parks.  Scour the paper for fun and free community events.

9. Initiate a no spend week.  The rules are simple.  For seven full days, no money is spent.  Obviously, this does not include bills, but everything else is on a spending freeze.  It’s amazing how much money goes out the family budget 3-4 dollars at a time.    The no spend week stops you from driving through 7-11 and grabbing a big gulp and forces you to get up and make a lunch before work.    You will think twice about how to conserve fuel while running errands and use your creativity when making meals.   At the end of the week, the savings will astound you.

10.Use your talents to make extra cash.  Could you tutor reading over the summer?  Do you have great computer skills?  Find a way turn these skills into a side job.  Every little bit goes a long way towards you vacation goals.

Check out the other Top Ten Lists at Oh Amanda


Malisa Price June 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I liked your post, Jessica. Especially the part about using up what you have. I use a hand operated can opener too!

oh amanda June 21, 2011 at 7:23 am

I love this: “When I feel like grumbling about the smaller space I remember that my kids are never going to sit around and say “remember that huge walk in closet we had.””

They will remember vacations, not the closet. Excellent thing to remember!

Thanks for linking up!

Betsy (Eco-novice) June 21, 2011 at 10:55 am

This is also such a great list of ways to just save money in general (for any goal) AND leave a smaller footprint. Living in a smaller home seems like it would be the greatest sacrifice — my husband likes to remind me that he and his 2 siblings grew up in a 2 bedroom apartment in East LA (their parents later moved up to a 3 bedroom, 1 bath very modest home in LA). I hope to someday live somewhere where I feel comfortable with my kids practically living outside only very loosely supervised year-round — then I would feel like we could have a very small home.

The Messy Mom June 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I am a big Dave Ramsey fan, and definitely a big fan of #6.

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