I grew up in a super frugal environment.
My parents had no money and all my clothes were “hand me downs” from my brother.
If you can believe it, I was 6 years old when I had my first piece of gum. I didn’t even know what gum was until then.
All my parent’s money (the little they had) went to important things like the mortgage, car insurance, food, and utilities.
We ate simple foods and lived simple lives.
Not a single penny was ever wasted.
I got a job washing dishes when I turned 13. I made $5.90 an hour and only worked on the weekends. I didn’t like it because I always went home with food all over me and smelled horrible from being in the kitchen all day.
And I was the only dishwasher working during my schedule. It was a lot of hard work.
I saved almost ALL of the money I made. I can thank my parents for that.
Now, I can’t confirm that is 100% true, but let’s just say I never met a single person who worked as much as I had, let alone save virtually every penny they earned.
I remember sitting in the cafeteria going hungry, because I didn’t want to spend $3.50 for a sandwich. The most memorable thing I skipped out on was a school ski trip that many of my friends went to. I just felt it was better to save the money instead (even though my parents were going to pay for it.)
So let’s just say, I had completely adopted my parent’s frugal mindset.
Looking back though, I wouldn’t have been as frugal as I was. So I hope you don’t think I’m some crazed obsessed money saver.
I went on to graduate University FULLY DEBT FREE. My parents helped me with paying off school debt, but they were just being good parents. I had saved enough money to pay it off myself (one of my proudest achievements), but they still helped me anyway.
So what’s this all got to do with you?
I’d like to think I’m a bit of an expert at saving money (and that’s probably putting it lightly).
In fact, while I was in University, I managed to save $1000 per month, working part-time!
Isn’t that something, hey?
I know “not having enough money to travel” is the biggest reason why people don’t travel more, so I want to help you solve this problem.
Im going to tell you EXACTLY how I did that right now.
Here’s some basic economics which you already understand, but I want to say it anyway because people get so tied up in debt and life shenanigans that they don’t really see what’s going on.
I created an environment where money coming in was greater than money going out.
Simple, yet so hard to replicate.
There are many ways to get to this magical level of money saving. I’m going to share with you what I did and you can copy whatever makes sense for you, too.
The following list are HIGH YIELD money saving tips. Meaning, they will give you the best return on the time and effort you spend to save money. I used all of these and it helped me save over $1,000 every month.
You’ve heard about “goal setting” a million times already. Well, here is the millionth and 1 time. You need to tell your mind what you want so it will keep you on track. If you have a vague idea of how much money you want to save, you’ll make vague money decisions. You’ll spend money when you really don’t need to. It’s just how human brains work.
Goal setting isn’t hard. Here’s how easy it is:
If you need $10,000 for your Europe trip that’s happening in 10 months, you need to save $1,000 per month. THIS is a CONCRETE number and goal your brain will understand. From here, you can make smart decisions on what to do with your money in ambiguous situations (like, should I go out tonight or should I stay in and save money scenarios).
I learned this when I was waiting tables during University. I naturally had a lot of “change” at the end of the day, and I would just throw all of it into a very large beer stein until it got so big I had to roll up all the coins. The amount of money I saved doing this is INSANE! I’d save several hundred dollars in just a few weeks.
After I stopped waitering, I STILL used the change jar. Every time I paid for anything with cash, I’d pocket the extra change and throw all of it into the money jar when I got home. If you use a lot a of cash, your jar will fill up REALLY quickly. You are basically putting a dollar or two in it every time.
This strategy works well because it’s a “brainless” way to save money. No thinking, no extra work, no planning, NOTHING. And the amount of money you can accumulate is HUGE!
I really recommend you start a money jar. Something nice about it is, if you live with other people, let them all know it’s your travel money jar. You may find other people dropping their loose change into your jar (Because they want to support you and don’t care for their $0.50!)
You will NOT save much money (if any at all) making minimum wage (or close to it). They numbers don’t add up favourable for you. I know if you could get a job that pays more, you would….. and that better paying jobs don’t grow on trees. I completely get that.
So here’s a suggestion:
I think one of the best jobs for people who want to travel is any industry that receives “tips”. I think being a restaurant server or bartender is one of the best jobs you can get with zero education (and somewhat high paying).
Let’s say you make $10 an hour, plus $10 an hour in tips. That’s $20 an hour total, compared to a minimum wage job making what, $10-$12 dollars an hour?
You can practically double the amount of money you make in these industries.
If you have a salaried job making $40,000 a year or so, and it’s not generating enough income, then consider a part time job that earns “tips.”
These service industry jobs aren’t for everyone, but neither was dishwashing for me. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do to make life work.
I don’t mean cut your social life and forget about all your friends.
But you want to stop (or at least dramatically reduce) the amount of times you go out. When I was younger and used to hit the clubs a lot, I’d naturally feel inclined to buy a round of drinks for my friends. After all, they do it for me – I don’t want to be “that friend” who doesn’t reciprocate, right?
So I’d turn to the bartender and be like, 5 rounds of Grey Goose please…. and a minute later, the bartender leans over and says “that will be $36”. I dig into my wallet and give him $40.
And that’s typical within the first 30 minutes of my night. It’s such a money killer.
On a good night, I’d spend less than $100. It’s just how it works when you go out to bars and clubs with friends who like to drink.
Guess what? I STOPPED DOING THAT. And now I have hundreds of dollars MORE each month.
For you, you may not spend much money at bars or night clubs, but you probably have activities that drain your money… like expensive concerts or going to movies every weekend.
Like “going out,” you don’t have to completely cut these things from your life, but you’ll want to dramatically reduce them.
You may be surprised to find your life is JUST AS GOOD when you DON’T go see Justin Timberlake live.
Instead, find things to do at home or at a friends house. Playing board games or just hanging out with some home made martini’s and Netflix is a lot of fun and super inexpensive.
Spend your free time learning a new language, starting a blog, or planning your backpacking trip to Thailand. These things cost little to nothing and keeps money in your bank.
I love food more than anyone I know. I truly do.
I used to think eating frugal meant eating un-delicious foods and never enjoying food again.
I was wrong.
When I used to work out a lot and be all gung-ho about nutrition, I learned how to eat healthy. A problem most people have with eating healthy is the lack of tasty foods. I agree. I’d rather eat McDonalds fries than Broccoli.
But I’ll be honest and tell you something else I learned. If you eat healthy vegetables most of the week and McDonalds once or twice a week, you won’t miss McDonalds nearly as much as you think you will. Bottom line: You’ll save money and get healthier.
You can apply this same philosophy to eating frugal.
Frugal eating means eating lower cost foods and foods that keep you fuller.
Here’s an example of frugal eating:
Instead of making seafood chowder, make chicken noodle soup. Ingredients for chicken noodle soup has got to cost about 1/4 less than seafood soup.
Instead of making sushi for dinner, just make stir fry rice. Veggies and a bit of meat will cost significantly less than sushi paper, wasabi, avocados, salmon & tuna… you get the idea.
Staying in to eat is the way to go! And along with that, eat less expensive foods for most of your meals.
I virtually stopped going out to restaurants now a days. I only go for birthdays and other special occasions. All that saved money goes straight to my bank account.
Do you really need the new Game Of Thrones book? You could probably borrow it from the library, right?
Do you need 6 pairs of TOMS? I know they come in so many colours and styles, and accessorizing is fun… but you don’t NEED 6 pairs.
You don’t need to buy 4 new tops because they’re $10 off when you buy 4. As much as you may hate to admit it, you have enough clothes.
Of all the ways people waste money, buying things they don’t necessarily need is probably the biggest culprit.
For me personally, I have super expensive tastes. I buy $400 headphones, $2500 Macbook, I have a $2000 iMac, high end hockey equipment, and some very expensive clothes (especially Diesel jeans).
But I buy stuff I GET A LOT OF VALUE from. I wear my jeans 200+ times. I use my computers every day. I use my hockey equipment until I can’t stand the smell anymore.
That’s how you want to spend your money. By all means buy expensive things, but just be sure the value you get from them is worth the cost.
And only buy something if you really need it.
Here’s something SUPER important. And it’s so ironic, too. When you basically STOP buying stuff (I did that for a year awhile back), you’ll notice that YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE IS THE SAME!
Because (if you’re a normal person) material shit doesn’t matter. It only gives you that fun “high” for a little while once you get it, and then it’s gone.
Try it. Try not buying a single material item (unless there’s a valid reason you need it) for 2 months. You’ll realize too that you have all the shit you need already. And once you can do it for 2 months, you can do it for a year.
If you take this challenge, the money you save will be enough to take you anywhere you want in the world for a few weeks.
Look at it this way: Instead of having a few more pairs of shoes and nice tops, you’ll have a free trip to create memories that will last a lifetime. After all, nobody takes their Michael Kors bag with them to the grave…. but they certainly take their cherished memories.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you value more: Material things or life changing experiences.
I seriously hope you take on my challenge.
If you’re lucky enough to have great parents, go back home. Or stay home if you already live at home.
I don’t know what the deal is with everyone needing to move out and be independent. You can be independent living at home.
Considering your parents let you stay at home rent free, then you’re saving $500 – $1,000+ a month. Yep, that’s A LOT of money. Just doing this one thing will EASILY cover the costs of any trip you take.
I know, I know, even if you have loving parents, living at home probably isn’t ideal. Parents can be annoying, you don’t get your privacy, they don’t understand you, and you have to share the bathroom. I get that it can suck. But you can live at home for half the year, and take the other half to backpack Eastern Europe, or Asia, or South America.
How cool is that?
Living at home has single handedly saved me enough money to travel multiple times a year, for FREE. I do pay rent (It’s a small amount) to help my parents because they have given me so much. Still saving more money than being on my own, and that’s the bottom line.
Sometimes you just gotta put up with kicking it with the parents. It’s worth it. Not to mention, you have your “home base” to always come back to from your travels. It’s much easier than renting a place, leaving, and then finding another place to rent.
There are a lot of people searching the internet for information on how to save money fast.
You don’t need 50 tricks to do it. You need to find out what works (I’ve given you 7 HUGE money saving tips), and then you need to consistently apply them. Take them seriously. They money you save will be enormous.
I know some of you may have a lot of debt piled up, too. You’re living pay check to pay check, and just barely paying your bills at the end of the month. That doesn’t change a thing here. The 7 ways to save money tips I shared with you doesn’t change. You can apply them whether you’re rich or poor.
Step 1: Take any of the ways to save money above and use whatever makes the most sense for you. Set a goal and stick to it.
Step 2: Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. Do you have any money saving experiences to share with me?