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How to Save Money for Travel?

I am so grateful that we can travel as much as we do. Right now I’m in SF on an emergency trip to visit a girlfriend of mine. Thankfully, she is okay, and I get to spend time with her while she recovers. I realize this trip was only possible because of 1. our flexible schedule and 2. money, and I am grateful for both.

We all have the things that we prioritize and love to spend money on. Those things for us are travel, food, and camera gear. Right now we don’t have a stable income and have to be extra smart about how we save and spend our money. After all, we want to continue to travel and explore the world!

This week I wanted to highlight how grateful I am to have the privilege to travel and below I wanted to share how we manage our finances to make it work.

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1. Budgeting:

The first step to saving money is knowing how you spend it in the first place. We’ve been using for a while to set budgets and track our spending.

2. Couponing

By now, most people have heard of Extreme Couponing. Although I did it for a time, it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of space for storage. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it on a smaller scale. You can also follow any of the extreme couponers and grab the deals that catch your eye. Freestufffinder is a great one for avid Instagrammers.

Groupon and Living Social are also great for deals on dates. It’s still important for us to go on dates, but that can get quite expensive. Since we’ve been doing 52 dates this year, we’ve had to come up with inexpensive ways to do that. We’ve been looking at the Las Vegas weekly for interesting, free events also.

3. Rebate Apps

Rebates can be a pain, but there have been a few apps popping up that make claiming rebates as easy as taking a photo of the receipt on your phone.

  • Ebates – it pays you cash back every time you shop online. Sign up and start at the ebates site before doing your shopping.
  • Shopmium – Buy, Scan Product & Scan Receipt. Get payments via Paypal or Bank Transfer. As a bonus, get a FREE Lindt Chocolate bar offer when you use this code: GFGACCQM! We got ours. :)
  • Ibotta – Buy, Unlock Rebates (easy to do!), & Scan Receipt. Paypal or Venmo. Organized by stores and includes certain movie theaters too! As a bonus, after you redeem your first rebate, you’ll get an additional $2 with this link.
  • Checkout51 – Buy & Scan Receipt. Checks are sent to you.

4. Minimalism

We don’t buy much day-to-day. In order to spend more on travel and food, sometimes we have to sacrifice in other areas. For us, that means not buying clothes, beauty products, and gadgets/video games regularly. We have a $50 limit a month for those things.

We are also less focused on nesting, and more focused on collecting experiences. We’ve been doing fun minimalistic projects like 100 days of less and now Project 333 is in the works. Next, we need to work on meal planning!

5. Be a one car household

I know not everyone can do this, but if you have a flexible work schedule or if you live in a city with good public transportation, I highly suggest paring down to one car. At first, it can be challenging and can seem like an inconvenience to schedule who gets to use the car, but eventually, you get used to it. It’s not so bad. You end up saving so much on car maintenance, insurance, and registration.

Travel makes you richer quote | Inspirational Travel Quote | For 5 Simple Ways to Save Money and Travel More Post.Pin

Sometimes I like to splurge and I find it annoying how frugal Jacob is, but it’s times like this that make me realize that keeping money in our pockets is a good thing. Ultimately it helps us have money to spend on what’s more important to me.

Have you tried these? What are some money saving tips you’ve learned?

This is my gratitude practice for week 35. 17 more weeks to go! Click the banner below to see my previous gratitude posts

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. I always try to look up coupons before making purchases online but beyond that I’m not overly organized. Have you tried ebates? I just started, and it is a nice way to get money back on stuff I’m buying anyway.

    1. esther julee

      I am not organized either, so jacob is usually the one doing the couponing. I’ve signed up, but haven’t tried it yet!

  2. toni d.

    We don’t really have couponing here in NZ, but we do have sites like grabone where you can buy deals to get things cheaper, like, $20 for a $50 voucher at a cafe. How do rebates work?

    1. esther julee

      Rebates are about getting money back after you buy a product.. So you have to pay the full price up front. Then you send in your rebate to whoever is providing the rebate along with the proof of purchase and maybe the barcode on the product itself.. It’s usually a really annoying process that I don’t like to deal with it. But recently the phone apps have been making it easy to redeem them! :) I think grabone is probably similar to groupon or livingsocial, and we have those things too… I use them, but you can also get money back or save in other ways as well! :D

  3. Hsiao-Ting

    Good ideas! We use and I use to coupon but not as much as I use to in Boston. David and I don’t go on dates so i guess that saves us some money there :p haha

    1. esther julee

      find other ways to save money!! You need to go on a date! :P and none of this double / triple date stuff.. just you two!

      1. Hsiao-Ting

        yea we should make more time for each other …

  4. LaRaeRae

    Can you talk a little more about couponing? It’s always been too much of a hassle for me, and I feel like I would end up buying things I didn’t need. Did you actually save money?

    1. esther julee

      It is really time consuming to do extreme couponing and sometimes requires self control to buy things that you don’t need even if they are free or dirt cheap. But I would say it saved us a lot when I did it for a few months and ended up stockpiling enough household products, shampoo pasta, etc to last us a few years. Right now we don’t pay for any of that.

      My husband does it now.. but only the really easy stuff where you can print coupons online & that maybe takes him up to 10 mins a week. You can find the deals he does here: If you’re interested in extreme couponing I would check out, but extreme couponing is extremely time consuming. I’ve stopped doing that. It’s pretty fun at first to experiment with. :) There’s a lot of stuff you can get for free with coupons or really cheap.

      1. LaRaeRae

        Thanks for the links! I always get so overwhelmed when I even consider couponing — I can barely find the time for grocery shopping and cooking as it is! I’ll keep an eye on your husband’s blog and take a peek at the other one — maybe I’ll just stock up like you did :)

        1. esther julee

          yeah.. that’s the worst part of cooking for me.. it’s not just on hands cooking time.. it’s the whole process starting with grocery shopping. :P let me know how it goes!

  5. Shannon Kennedy

    These are great tips! I’ve downloaded mint and I’m looking forward to trying it out. I haven’t done as much “saving money” as I have been “getting it back.” I’ve been going through a few of my things and in an effort to minimize, I have donated and sold a lot of what I don’t necessarily need. Books/clothes/collectibles can amass quickly and I have personally managed to collect quite a few of each over the years. I’ve been trying to save a bit of travel money by eliminating things that aren’t as important to me as they once were so that I can invest in more important things (like travel).

    1. esther julee

      Thanks Shannon! You’ll have to tell me how you like mint. It’s the same for me. I cannot believe how much stuff gets collected in our house every year.. i’m constantly having to keep myself in check and also constantly having to purge. We can’t always have everything, so we gotta prioritize! :)

  6. Erika

    Yay! These are great tips! Also, it’s weird how you can kind of adjust once you make it a habit. Becoming a grad student was really hard for me at first — I didn’t think I lived any sort of “big” lifestyle or anything, but when you don’t have money, you start to realize how much you spent on going out for a meal here and there, or picking up a book, or a fun drink. I think lack of money can make you feel limited. However, once you adjust, you start to prioritize and see more room for things. And I realized that if I wanted to travel, I would have to begin to make it a priority! (And also manage my expectations. Maybe no trips to Europe now, but I can do local travel)! :)

    1. esther julee

      Thanks Erika. I agree.. but it also works the other way around for me! Once I get a taste of being pampered, sometimes I start having higher expectations. I guess the key is always managing expectations.. and always being grateful for what we have presently. :)

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