Travel Tips: Saving money for travel…and in between travels
We really don’t need as much money as we’ve been made to think!
So many ask me how I can afford my current life. But so many don’t realize how much less money I make and also LESS money I need to live.
Living a ‘traveling’ lifestyle to me means not only saving money to be able to travel, but really, just saving money to live simpler and easier to begin with. After I returned from 3 years of traveling, I was happy to change the way I did things and even more importantly, the way I think about things. Now, to me, saving money is making money.
Let’s face, it being a freelance writer and photographer will not make me rich. In fact, I earn about a third of what I used to when I worked as a TV producer for ABC in Chicago. So, now I’ve found ways to save money when I’m home and simply living life. Of course there are the regular ol’ “save money” tips like cook more at home and don’t buy a $5 Starbucks coffee everyday, here are some other tips that are hopefully new to you:
Health & Beauty:
FREE Haircuts – I’m a pretty low maintenance girl…at least in my outward appearance. I don’t maintain any expensive or time-consuming beauty regimens. I use simple drugstore cosmetics (hello Maybelline) and hair products. I don’t get caught up in the expensive salon shampoos, oils, gels, and creams. Many women pay $100+ on haircuts and styling every couple months. I do not. I don’t get my haircut that often, but when I do, I use SalonApprentice.com. It’s basically a website offering free or very cheap cuts/colors/styling from younger beauticians who have completed their training but are now getting practical, on-the-job training. You are helping them out by being a hair “model” for the day and you get a free cut! I love it. Plus, despite some worrying that it won’t be good, I think that the extra care they take, plus the fact that a manager is overseeing and approving the entire session, makes it often a better cut with more attention to detail than normal. The only caveat, they are mostly in big American cities.
Free Passport Photos – I wrote about ePassportPhoto.com recently as a great place to upload, size, and print out near-free passport photos. NO need to pay $15-20 at your local CVS or Walgreens for one tiny photo.
Dental Visits, Massages, etc. – I do have my own individual health insurance, but when it comes to getting my teeth cleaned, I simply visit Groupon.com and find a half off deal for cleaning and x-rays. Yes, that means that each time I go to a different dentist, but I really don’t mind. Plus I get to try out different ones and when I did have to return for more work, I went to my favorite of the bunch…who still gave me a discount for being a “Groupon customer!” I also use Groupon to find deals on half-price massages, something I do treat myself every few months. As someone who sits at her laptop for hours, these shoulders knead it (see what I did there?)!
Prescriptions: My healthcare plan no longer covers prescriptions, and gives me not very good discounts instead. I’ve since found and used Good RX to get better discounts. You simply go to their site and type in the drug you need and it spits out the prices and coupon codes at each of the most popular pharmacies.
Exercise: I no longer belong to a pricey health club. I either workout at home with weights and videos, go outside on runs and bike rides and when I want to join a class somewhere I find deals for first time free offers at gyms. My local Athleta store (owned by the same company as the Gap) offers weekly free yoga and pilates classes right in their store. Other stores like Lululemon do the same thing. Or I sometimes buy a Groupon or deal for a set of classes. Lastly, I’ve also used the gyms the Chicago Park District which cost something like $2 or $3 per visit.
Airbnb – I’ve written about Airbnb before as a great way to travel and stay with locals or in local apartments. I also personally use it to make money by renting out my own apartment when I’m away.
Click here to try it out and get $25 off your first rental!
Comcast Vacation Hold – Did you know that the sometimes greedy cable/internet companies do help you out by having a vacation hold service that allows you to keep your services but turn them off while you’re away and not using them. With my provider, Comcast, they just charge a small fee. Better than paying for phone, cable and Internet that no one is using!
Mobile Phone – I’ve also gone on and on about my NO mobile contract in past posts. I don’t have a contract and just do pay as you go. I have no data (just use wifi when available or I use my cool Karma Hotspot) and save hundreds of dollars on cell phone use each year (it only costs me about $100/year).
No Car – When I returned from my long term travels, I didn’t need or want a car anymore. Living in a city like Chicago means I really don’t need a car. I walk, bike or take public transportation. Therefore, I save a ton each year since I don’t have to pay for fuel, parking, car insurance, or costly maintenance and repairs that come with car ownership. Plus it’s good for me and the environment.
For more budgeting and travel tips be sure to check out my book on Amazon.com!
What did I miss? What cool ideas, sites, tips do you have to save money so we don’t have to worry so much about making money?? Please leave a comment below!! I’d love to hear from you.