We are frequently asked about how we are able to afford to travel frequently and to faraway places. Hopefully, this post can provide a guide of answers and helpful tips to get your next trip started!
1. $ave Those $tacks Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think. Traveling while you’re young is the best for various reasons - it gives you a different perspective on the world around you, opens your eyes to different cultures, ways of life, and landscapes, and best of all - it is the time when being selfish is emphasized as a positive thing. Some of us have stuck out living at home with our parents throughout college in order to save for trips rather than rent, and we’ve all worked our fair share of low-on-the-totem-pole jobs to save every penny we could for our next adventure. On your next birthday, ask for money (or transportation tickets) rather than tangible items. Sell things you don’t use anymore (clothes you haven’t worn in over a year, old electronics, etc). Pass on unnecessary purchases, and spend your hard earned dollars on an experience you’ll hold with you forever - unlike that Forever 21 dress that will wear and rip in six months. Travel is what we are all passionate about, and we each make the conscious decision to prioritize it over other things.
2. Take things one step at a time. It’s worth it to think ahead when planning a bigger trip. If saving up large amounts of money is difficult, think about each part of your trip in sections. Plane tickets tend to be one of the more expensive parts of adventures, so it may help to save up for the plane ticket, purchase it, and then begin saving for the next chunk of the trip. Some travel tour websites such as EF College Breakand Contiki offer various monthly payment plans that will work with your budget.
3. Know your budget. Doing your research is important when planning in order to be able to predict how much money you’ll be spending in total. Take into account airfare (websites we love: Kayak, STA Travel), lodging (see below), transportation during your stay (car rentals for 19-years-old and up in the USA is FOX Rent-A-Car), spending money for while you are there, and a little wiggle room in case there are any bumps in the road along the way. Expect the unexpected - it helps to bring a little more money than you think you will need, because you never know if you will get a flat tire, miss your train, or watch your shoes fall apart before your eyes (that last one totally happened to me on my first day in Amsterdam). Try to refrain from purchasing expensive souvenirs. We typically stick to collecting postcards, pins, or small inexpensive treasures in each city. Your most valuable souvenirs are your photographs and memories!
4. What we know about: AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATIONS - Typically, we prefer AirBNB when booking accommodations. AirBNB is a safe-to-use website that allows verified users to rent out their apartments, houses, shared rooms, and private rooms. The website is very user friendly, and allows you to enter your budget and what kind of lodging you would prefer. Additionally, AirBNB offers a unique experience by staying somewhere a local would live, rather than in a generic hotel room. Many AirBNB hosts leave guides to their city, tips, or friendly advice. It is worth it to read the full description of all AirBNB listings to make sure you are comfortable with all of the amenities offered. - In our personal experience, hostels are typically the most inexpensive way to explore Europe, though I am sure this is also the case in various other parts of the world. Websites such as HostelWorld and Hostel International make finding what you’re looking for easy to do. We stayed in many A&O hostels in Europe and all were clean and safe. - If you’re setting out for a road trip, camping is the cheapest option by far! *check out “Yosemite For Dummies” in Roadie Zine Issue 1, where we talk about our first experience camping in a national park. - Lastly, the most affordable thing to do is to couch surf. Staying with friends or family whenever you can is an amazing way to save money. However, Couch Surfing is a website similar to AirBNB that helps connect you with verified users who are welcome to people sleeping on their couches for little to no cost.
5. Don’t give up. Do it! Travel does not need to be luxurious. I almost prefer it not to be! Some of our best memories were spent sleeping in the dirt on a mountain for $5 each, or staying with locals. Being realistic about your budget, doing your research, and knowing what kind of experience you are looking for all go a long way. Now is the time to see the world with fresh young eyes and little responsibilities.
Soon to come for Roadie Zine Issue 2: “Apps to Prepare / Apps While You’re There,” a piece about iPhone apps for all of your adventures. Stay tuned!
Hello! I'm a new follower and I was reading your budgeting 101 guide and I'm learning so much but I'm working in a commission-only based job. Do you have any tips for money managing with fluctuating incomes?
I have exactly two tips for you:
Always over-budget your costs, so that you ensure your bills are covered before you spend all your “fun money” and end up with a lower paycheck the next week/month.
Don’t spend money you don’t have. Don’t buy something thinking “oh, I’ll have a big paycheck next time,” because no, you don’t fucking know that. Only spend what you know is in your bank account right now. Never put your faith in future funds.
As someone who has recently started University (yippee!), never before have I ever had to think over money so much in my life. I’m luckily blessed with the fact that I don’t consume large amounts of alcohol, which therefore means I am in a better position than most at the moment. However, I’m still feeling the need to cut back and save on things here and there, which is proving difficult in many areas. One of these areas is coffee and tea, and unfortunately other people on a budget or trying to save money will feel this strain just like me.
So here I am, writing a blog post on how to save money as a student, when you have an adoration towards hot beverages….especially since the cosy seasons of Autumn and Winter are creeping ever so close!
Which receipts should I keep? And I mean of any and all receipts one gets in life; my wallet can't close anymore because of all of the grocery store/CVS/library receipts as well as bigger things like bank deposit receipts I've shoved in there.
I’ll cover this more fully in the future (thanks for the suggestion), but unless you’re using them for budgeting, my rule is to throw out any receipt that becomes inconsequential once you leave the store. Like, no one is going to show up at your house demanding proof that you bought a cantaloupe two weeks ago. Once you’ve shown proof that you paid for it, it’s yours and no one cares. Unless you need to have some kind of proof for the future, you probably don’t need it.
If your library books are returned, you really don’t need those receipts. If your library sends you electronic courtesy reminders for due dates, then you really don’t need them.
Sheila I want to know, for us more "low cost" cosplayers, cosplaying is very expensive. How do you pay for all your beautiful costumes? And do you have a place to buy low cost costume pieces? Love you Sheila!
I would actually consider myself a low cost cosplayer too!
Not one of my costumes has ever cost more than 150$ in materials, including wigs and contacts. (These are the bigger costumes like Hawke & Fenris or Karliah)
I’m a cosplayer on a budget almost all of the time. They key is cutting costs where you can. Any part of the costume I can get at the Goodwill/thrift store I will. Shoes, pants, skirts, jackets, belts – I try and get everything I can at the thrift shop first before heading to the fabric store.
Because not only is it cheaper to buy and alter clothes into cosplay, its easier too. Unless I want super accurate fabric (which I can usually find at the thrift store anyway) or its a garment that needs its own pattern, I try not to spend tons of money on expensive rolls of fabric.
That being said, you can find AMAZING deals at the garment district here in LA.
Re purposing objects from home into props and notions is also a great way to save money. And shopping smart for accessories like gloves and stockings on ebay is also key.
“It’s kind of like being on a diet that’s too drastic… Cut out too many food groups, and you’ll feel so deprived that you’ll end up bingeing on bagels, ice cream, and chocolate cake — and find yourself in a worse place than when you started.”
look, finally something other than instagram pictures
Oh hi guys. I said this a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been pretty quiet here and now part of me thinks it’s partially me feeling out of place. I read about you all kicking ass, and I’ve just been kind of meh lately. I guess I don’t have much to say or at least I don’t feel like I do.
I thought I found my wagon, but then I burned it in a fire. Time to get back to some consistency. Story of my life?
In other news, CrossFit Games on the beach = 1 million inappropriate comments with my main Bs. Basically it boils down to all of us wishing the entire weekend could happen in swim shorts. And lots of leery emojis. Don’t forget those.
Celeste is gone, and I am sad.
Our workout tonight is called “Ze Grip” and consists of way too many toes to bar, cleans and deadlifts. This is going to hurt.
I ate breakfast at home and made coffee for myself. THIS IS A BIG DEAL. Sad.
(Let’s ignore the fact that my breakfast was half a leftover sandwich Celeste left in my fridge.)
So, my first month of limiting my personal spending is going … not that well. Next month I’m going to focus on actually budgeting my money and not just spending willy nilly. July was me going out for lunch and getting coffee too much. GOOD JOB, AL.
I finished “City of Thieves” the other day, and it was great.
I'm 25 and my husband is 32. Our biggest adulting fail is not keeping a written ledger of our spending and when automatic payments deduct from our account. So I'd like to drop some sick advice (even if you dropped it already.): KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CASH. An unnacounted bottle of soda one day can cause an overdraft charge another when your unexpected Hulu payment causes a 'your card is declined' ambush in the grocery checkout lane.
I’m trying to figure out how Hulu is an expected payment. It’s a monthly charge that happens the same time each month. That’s a planned expense.
And y’all, this is what budgeting IS. It’s keeping track of your money so you don’t use it all up before your next paycheck on something really fucking dumb. If you put these recurring charges on your calendar and/or use the brilliant online banking sites, you can see how much of your money is already claimed, even if it’s not yet spent. Then you can play with what’s left—or not.
www.bigwords.com is amazing. I used to recommend it to my students when I was an admissions counselor, but this is the first time I’ve used it myself. You plug in the books you need for your classes and it finds the cheapest possible combination from various textbooks sales/rental sites. To give you an example, my 4 books for this semester would have cost me ~$500 at my university bookstore. I paid $65 to rent them. No shipping charge from any of the websites. This also compares to the $93 it would have cost to rent them all from chegg.com.
I have a week until classes start so hopefully this is timely enough to save someone some cash! (I know when I was in undergrad I didn’t buy my books until after classes started to make sure I needed them).
A budget is a plan for your future income and expenditures that you can use as a guideline for spending and saving. Although many Americans already use a budget to plan their spending, the majority of Americans also routinely spend more than they can afford. The key to spending within your means is to know your expenses and to spend less than you make. A good monthly budget can help ensure you pay your bills on time, have funds to cover unexpected emergencies, and reach your financial goals.
Most of the information you need is already at your fingertips. To create or rework your budget, follow the simple steps outlined below to get a clear picture of your monthly finances. You can also use our free online budgeting calculators below to budget for certain specific purchases or events.
1. Add Up Your Income To set a monthly budget, you first need to determine how much income you have. Using the worksheet at the bottom of this page, write a dollar figure next to each relevant income source. Make sure you include all sources of income such as salaries, interest, pension and any other income–including a spouse’s income if you’re married.
If you get a salary, be sure to use your take-home pay rather than your gross pay. Taxes are usually taken out automatically, but if they’re not, remember to include them as another expense. If you receive money from somewhere not listed, enter the source along with the amount under “other income.”
2. Estimate Expenses The best way to do this is to keep track of how much you spend for one month. The worksheet below divides spending into fixed and flexible expenses. Fixed expenses are those that generally do not change from month to month, such as rent and insurance payments. Flexible expenses are those that do change from month to month, such as food or entertainment. If some of your expenses for one or more categories change significantly each month, take a three-month average for your total.
3. Figure Out The Difference Once you’ve totaled up your monthly income and your monthly expenses, subtract the expense total from the income total to get the difference. A positive number indicates that you’re spending less than you earn–congratulations. A negative number indicates that your expenses are greater than your income. This means you will need to trim your expenses in order to begin living within your means.
Well done–you’ve created a budget. The next step is to track your budget over time to make sure you’re sticking to it. If you find you aren’t able to follow your budget successfully, it may mean that your plan isn’t flexible enough. It can take revisiting your budget a few times to find the balance that works for you..