How I Afford Traveling

I put off writing this post because:

  1. I think every person who has traveled ever has written it
  2. My advice really isn’t that groundbreaking

But I’m going to tell you anyway. I probably go on a trip every two months, usually only two big/expensive trips a year and a bunch of little trips scattered in between. To many, it seems like I travel a lot. To me, it’s never enough. But I do get asked a lot how I afford to travel.

The kind of trips I take play a big part in affordability. We use Groupon to book our big and out of country trips. The hotel and flight are usually bundled with some other perk and the savings are amazing. We only do these trips once, maybe twice a year, and it’s always during winter. Last year we went to Iceland and this year we went to Portugal. If we do another big trip it will only be because I’m tagging along on one of my boyfriend’s work trips.

I don’t do a lot on the weekends that will cost me money. I know some people enjoy going to the bar with their friends on the weekends, but that’s not exactly my idea of a great time which is where I save money. Instead of dropping $50 on drinks every weekend, that money is saved and put into tiny weekend trips every month or every other month. Traveling is what I enjoy so I choose to stay in most times. The only fun activity I ever really splurge on are concert tickets.

I have a cash back card. I get 1% back on purchases and 1% back when I pay. I take the money I earn from that and use it as spending cash when I’m actually on my trip.

I have two savings accounts. I put money away every month. One savings account is for the future – for a new car, new home, in case of extreme emergencies. The other savings account is for trips, things I want to buy in the future, and extra cash for my checking account which I use to pay my rent, bills, etc.

How I can afford to travel isn’t all that glamorous. I don’t make a lot of money, I don’t have a fancy book of budgeting, I don’t have a top secret website that scores me the best deals. I prioritize what I want to spend money on in my life and then I plan to get the best price – but it works for me so maybe it will work for you too!

How I Budget

I’m not really a finance person at all, but when I first moved into my parents house I realized I had to save and fast to be able to move out on my own.

I’m not a budgeting expert, but I do use a budget sheet to help me mind my finances. I track my bank account starting point, what I get in each paycheck, and what I pay for bills each month. Those things I have to pay regularly so I track it to know what amount I know I have to have each month.

Then I track my extra expenses for a few months just to get a good idea of what I’m spending on gas, shopping, trips, gifts, and going out to eat. This way I can see where I need to take a step back. I estimate what I’ll spend at the beginning of each month so I can actually budget for it, but then I track what I actually spent to keep it in mind for next month.

Lastly, I end each sheet with the ending balance and decide how much I can put into savings. I make short and long-term life goals that have to do with saving, working out, etc.

I print this sheet out every month and write on it because to me writing on it helps me remember. I keep it in my planner for those of you who are also crazy about scheduling. I posted my budget sheet on my Instagram so I thought I’d make it available here for download – it’s only a jpg so it can’t be typed on, but you print it out and write on it or use it as a jumping off point to make your own sheet on word! Let me know in the comments if you budget.

Download the budget sheet here!