A Dozen Lifestyle Changes That Will Fund Your Travel Book
1. Learn to cook at home! Learn your favorite grocery store’s weekly sales and cut out some damn coupons! And eat simpler which is generally healthier and cheaper such as turkey and chicken over red meat and water instead of beer or sodas.
2. Host a BYOB wine night with your girlfriends or a low-stakes poker night with your boys! Now you have a weekly ritual at your home where you’re in control of your spending and won’t go stir crazy!
3. Cook for your girlfriend or boyfriend instead of taking them out to eat!
4. Put a small set sum out of your weekly income into a savings account specifically for travel funds! I take $50 out of my tips a week, set it aside, and it adds up!
5. Living alone is a luxury but isn’t realistic for those who want to travel far and often. There’s nothing wrong with living at home or with roommates!
6. Find things to do or places to eat out through deals on Groupon!
7. Cancel your gym membership and run or bike in your neighborhood or workout in your local recreation center. I lucked out and was given a series of old workout equipment from a friend of a friend who was completely upgrading his gym. Prior to that I worked out in my neighborhood recreation center and ran in my neighborhood for free.
8. Skim On Your Utility Bill: Turn off your A/C and turn on your fan, take quick showers instead of baths, hand wash your dishes, put on shorter cycles for your washer and dryer and put in bigger loads, don’t leave lights or other electronics on, get rid of your home phone no one even uses those nowadays!
9. Invest in entertainment apps like Netflix or Hulu over expensive monthly cable or satellite bills. $9 a month versus upwards of $70 depending on your provider and package.
10. Rent a Redbox versus going out to the movie theatre.
11. When you do go out eventually, stay under a spending limit and stick to happy hour and other specials.
12. Do your damndest to kick bad spending habits! If you are an impulse shopper then do whatever it takes to avoid outlets and malls -yes, I am guilty of this.
I worked a variety of jobs prior to pursuing writing and traveling: as a grocery and produce clerk at Publix, a professional mixed martial arts fighter (still competing), a college student, an editor, a bouncer, and a mental health technician.
Currently my main source of income comes from barbacking in Downtown Orlando where I make anywhere from $500 to upwards of $800 a week working only three graveyard shifts. Hence, I can either work an additional job and keep working myself to death out of habit or live a little more frugally and do the things that make me happy such as rescuing and fostering dogs, which through some lucky connections and smart bargain shopping I take care of my furry companions for a below average fee.
Here’s my current and past rescues:
Income vs. Monthly Bills vs. Cost To Travel:
On average I’ll earn $2600 monthly. I know my rent is $500, my utility bills (electric, internet, etc) are a maximum of $200, and my necessities like gas and groceries will be upwards of $400. Leaving me with $1500 to divide between savings, travel, frivolous spending and unplanned emergencies like replacing a flat, an unexpected vet bill, or repairing a broken window – yes all these have happened.
A 4-hour road trip in my Hyundai Sonata costs a varying $15-$25 in gas depending on traffic and gas prices at the time. While my plane ticket purchases I limit to a cost of $150. Count this with a cheap hostel which will typically cost $20-$30 a night.
Average Monthly Income: $2600
Highest Sum of Bills: $1100
Estimated Sum of Daily Costs for 4 nights and 5 days: $500
It’s that simple sometimes.
Here are three places I’m set to visit because of these budgeting tips and three places I’m hoping to visit before the end of 2016:
New Orleans: March 27-31st. Why would you not want to check out NOLA? Any serious whiskey drinker has to stroll down Bourbon Street sooner or later! Beyond this the New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park and the National World War II Museum is on my immediate itinerary.
Nashville: April 24th-28th. Johnny Cash Museum. Need I say more? Country Music Hall of Fame! That is all.
Pittsburgh: May 15th-May 19th. Duquesne Incline, PNC Park, and Heinz Field dammit!
Indianapolis: I have a soft spot for flyover states. My father’s hometown is just under a two hour drive from the capital of Indiana in a small farm town called Wabash, Indiana. I visited nearly every summer in my youth and would love to see it in my 20’s.
United Kingdom: A necessary adventure for every serious traveler, a great starter into Europe because you won’t have to constantly be learning new currencies and fighting through language barriers. Budget airlines like Norwegian can make the trip much cheaper if lack of security and comfort is a measure you’re willing to take.
Singapore: My grandparent’s reside in this island country south of Malaysia. The Republic of Singapore is often compared to New York in the U.S. and even has its own Universal Studios! Residents here are required to learn a second language in grade school and as a result more often than not speak clear, fluent English. Also, the exchange rate is in our favor 😉