The most common excuse that I find to be prevalent when one is considering travel is not having enough money. I too felt like this at one time, and to be honest I have my moments even now where that negative thought permeates my mind. The truth is, no matter your income, there are several things you can do to save extra money and budget your way across the globe. I am currently a graduate student, meaning I don't have a full time job (AKA I don't make a lot of money) so trust me when I say I have seen financial struggle. Here is my only tip for how I make it abroad and keep the adventurous lifestyle that I love.
1. STOP SPENDING MONEY (okay that's impossible but let me explain)
I'm serious. Seems like an impossible thing to do, while it also seems too hard to do. Of course there are expenses that you should never avoid (rent, credit card payments, bills) but think about all of the other completely useless things you spend your money on. You have to get real with yourself. Try going a week without eating out. If you are a young women chances are you have plenty of clothes, accessories, jewelry and don't "need" anything else. As a lover of fashion I always found it hard, but in the few months leading up to a big trip you can bet that my will power is succeeding when I refuse to purchase something unless it is vitally important that I need it. These are some things that I live by. P.S. I am incredibly frugal, sorry if some seem extreme.
A) I pack my lunch every single day for work.
B)I brew my coffee at home and take it with me. Coffee shops upcharge an insane amount.
C)I buy store band (it is exactly the same as name brand, don't be dumb).
D) I read books already in my collection no matter how much I want to read a newly released novel.
E) I frequently clean my closet out and sell clothing I don't wear.
F) I make sacrifices when going out to the bars (water only, ahem!).
G) I fix old clothes instead of tossing them. My mother taught me how to hand sew when I was little, you should learn too! I have replaced countless buttons and fixed rips in some of my favorite cheap pieces, extending their life.
H) Don't fall for the trend hype. No you do not need a new Kate Spade purse because its the cool thing right now (you have plenty of bags, or sell one to buy the purse if you want it that bad.) There are so many things I want to buy in the name of fashion that I simply resist the urge not to because well, I don't need it.
I) Don't fall for the brand hype. If you're dedicating yourself to working up a sweat every day why do you have to wear 90 dollar lululemon leggings??? Is there a real reason for spending an asinine amount of money on something when you can get the same thing at Walmart and sweat in that instead? No. No there isn't. Just stop with the high end brands. If someone said you could go to Paris or you could buy 7 work out outfits what would you choose? Come on.
J) Don't buy a beauty/skincare product unless you run out and need it. I learned this lesson the hard way when I used to love makeup and skincare. I still do, but I only have what I actually use and don't just take up space with products in my bathroom anymore. Purge!
K) If you don't use it, sell it, get rid of it. That bike you bought and haven't rode in 2 years. Hello craigslist.
L) Don't have a gym membership. Its an unnecessary monthly expense that is never worth it. Run outdoors, work out at home, youtube a yoga sesh. You get the idea.
M) Don't fall for the trendy healthy superfood juices that cost more than what you make an hour. Eating healthy is easy, and inexpensive. Don't make it more complicated by overpaying for food you could have prepared at home.
N) Drink only water. Its cheap, its free a lot of places, and it keeps you healthy. That soda or juice you buy every morning is a waste of 3 dollars. I take a refillable water bottle with me wherever I go.
O) Don't get behind on payments. I have a credit card that I put everything on to get the cash back, and I pay it down to zero every week. If you can't pay your credit card bill in full that means you're buying things you can't afford.
P) Spend your time dong free things, they are just entertaining! You would be surprised how many free things there are to do in your city. Hiking, site seeing, picnics in parks. You get the idea.
Q) Don't upgrade your phone unless its free and/or yours entirely breaks. I keep my iphone no matter what update comes out because honestly, do you NEED it? No. If you can call and text to keep in touch you will survive. Always did blow my mind people waiting in line for the newest iphone. Like where are your priorities! HA.
R) When you do shop. Thrift. Its an awesome feeling when you have made an great outfit based on vintage finds. I have purchased appliances that are brand new, cups, plates and decorations. People don't always get rid of junk. People donate nice things too.
S) Rewards points, use them. I get gas at Kroger with my fuel points, and as I mention before I get free money on my credit card just for using it and keeping the balance paid down to zero. Reap the benefits!
T) Be a smart and adventurous travel booker. Try hostels with great reviews, don't spend money on hotels. Do your own tour, don't book a guide. Travel cheap and smart. Google "nomadic matt" for help.
U) The dollar store is your best friend. They have name brands, and dollar body wash. You can get a lot of what you need at a much lower price. Be smart!
V) Don't be a mooch, but allow others to do things for you. If your parents what to help you out, let them. If someone pays for your dinner, let them. Be kind, and always remember that they helped you reach your goal.
W) Don't spend money on small things that will add up. Magazines, gum, cheap sunglasses. Just downsize overall. Hardly swipe that card or reach for that wallet unless its really necessary.
X) Bring your own snacks to the movies. Sounds stupid but you already spend too much on that ticket.
Y) Share rides to avoid wasting gas. I never liked being in a car alone anyway.
Z)Work, and work hard.With part time work that means you can pick up shifts when people ask. I always say yes, Even if I am tired, or would love a free weekend for once. I want it badly to be able to finance my adventures rather than have free time.
You have to be dedicated, and you have to be a minimalist. You have to challenge yourself to live with what you need and not with what you want.
I hope this post is useful for you. No excuses! Get outside your comfort zone and explore!
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