Dreaming about travel is a cinch… And if you get creative, it can be (almost) as easy to save up for that dream vacation, too! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you start filling up your piggy bank.
1. First step: Create a budget.
OK, it’s the second step: first one is figuring out where you want to go and a ballpark of what it’s going to cost. Secondly: create a spreadsheet and start writing down everything you make and every cent that goes out. Track it for a couple of months and you’ll get a clear picture of where you can redirect your funds and where you can save.
2. Cut back expenses.
After looking at your expenses, start snipping and saving: subscriptions you don’t use, cable bills you can cut (stream on the Internet—it’s totally worth it), limit going out, make coffee at home, ask yourself twice before you buy something new… you get the drift.
3. Automation is your friend.
There are a couple of ways you can save without really feeling any pinches at all. Some bank accounts automatically deposit a percentage of every debit transaction you make into a savings account—a little bit at a time adds up to a lot over time! In addition, you can designate a portion from each paycheck to be automatically deposited into a savings account. Easy!
4. Invest in a travel fund.
If you use automation, you might want to put that money into a fund you can’t easily withdraw from. Take a look at investment apps: nowadays there are several of them on tap that can help grow your money faster than an average savings account. Check out Acorns: it rounds up your credit and debit purchases to the nearest dollar and sends the cash to an investment account. Which you can add to with other deposits, too, by the way.
5. Use your rewards.
Do you keep track of your reward points? Make sure you keep tabs on the credit cards that earn you points that can turn into dollars for travel. Use them, but don’t abuse them: make sure you can pay off your balances before you start charging the world.
6. Sell, sell, sell.
Go through your closets, under your bed, and your outdoor storage: whatever you’re not using or doesn’t bring you joy, sell. Ebay or Craigslist are good, and apps like OfferUp are even easier to use.