Making adventure possible requires planning ahead and saving money, which in theory is simple enough: spend less and more stays in the bank.
Putting this into practice and actually reducing spending can prove a bit more difficult, but every dollar that you can save is a dollar that you can put towards your adventure.
Not only will reducing spending now help you save more for your adventure, but it will help you spend less on your adventure.
We’ve found that most people maintain similar spending habits and lifestyle habits when traveling as they do when living in a single place. For example, if you enjoy a cup of Starbucks everyday or eat out a few times a week, you’re likely to maintain that habit when you leave home and head out on your adventure.
By scaling back your daily and monthly expenses, you are more likely to spend less while you are traveling on your adventure because you have become accustomed to a more minimal lifestyle without expensive habits.
With this in mind, here are a few tips that will help you reduce overall expenses and save more cash for your next adventure.
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Dine out less
Your favorite restaurant and fast food joints will put a quick dent in your savings.
Often a single meal at a nice restaurant could equal your entire grocery bill for a week.
Cooking meals at home saves money, so this is a great way to keep some extra cash in your pocket.
If you don’t know how to cook your own meals, start learning before you leave on your adventure.
If you stink at cooking now, you’re still going to stink at cooking when you travel.
Find some simple, go-to recipes that make up a short list of healthy and tasty options that you can cook both at home and on your trip.
Downsize your living expenses or space
The roof over your head is usually the largest expense you have and reducing it saves plenty of money.
If you want to keep your current place but have some extra space, consider renting out a room to someone else.
If you’re not attached to your current home, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment. Since you are planning to leave on an adventure, don’t get tied into any long term lease contracts. Go month to month on the lease, get a roommate, and keep those monthly rent costs low.
Moving in with relatives might make you cry inside, but it can be a cheap option for keeping a roof over your head while you prepare for your adventure.
Get around cheaper
Although gas prices are lower than past years, cars are still a very expensive habit to keep.
Gas, insurance, upkeep, monthly payments, parking – it adds up quick.
If you can make public transportation work for you, then you might consider selling your car to avoid the related expenses and depreciation.
If a car is a necessity, find a way to drive less or start carpooling to reduce costs.
You can always break out your walking shoes or bicycle as well to save daily travel related costs.
Reduce utility bills
Changing your A/C and heating settings by a couple degrees can have a big impact on your bill.
Electricity is the same – turn off lights when you aren’t around and unplug unused devices and you’ll be giving away less money each month to the electric company each month.
Cell phone voice and data plans can be expensive as well. If you have an employer and use your phone for work, you might look into getting some employer subsidies to reduce monthly phone bill. If you pay your own bill, you might look for a cheaper plan or moving to some new technology like wi-fi mobile services from Republic Wireless.
If you have a long timeline until your adventure, you might even look into some improved insulation or weatherization of your house to reduce energy costs. Just make sure that any money you spend on reducing bills has a positive return on the investment.
Save your change
Every penny counts!
Instead of spending change, bring it home with you, put it in a jar, and deposit the contents monthly.
Some banks provide savings options that add pennies or dollars to a savings account with every debit card purchase you make. These can be a great way to make saving automatic.
Apps like SavedPlus and Acorns do similar things for credit cards, so see if those apps would work for you.
Cut the cable
Those nifty cable packages that give you a gazillion channels are a money pit, not to mention cable is becoming a dinosaur.
Cut out the expensive cable or satellite operator and opt for online services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others that will give you access to your favorite shows.
Do free things
Walks in the park, urban hikes, free art shows, street fairs – spend time having fun without spending your money.
For events that you have to pay for, make it cheaper through sites like Groupon or by going when they reduce admissions cost.
Shop less and shop smarter
Make a list before you head to the grocery store and stick to it.
Avoid window shopping or impulse purchases.
Shopping is fun, but you should focus on the gear you need for your adventure and buy that. Don’t buy a bunch of stuff that you’re going to have to pay to store or sell at a discount before you travel.
Make sure to look for good prices at local stores and online at places like REI.com (my favorite)
You won’t need a ton of stuff when you’re tackling the great outdoors, and chances are you’ll enjoy not having many things weighing you down when you get back.
Try selling your stuff to friends and family, through eBay, craigslist, yard sales, or whatever else works.
Not only will this put some cash in your pocket, but it will also help you when it’s time to leave because you won’t have to deal with as much stuff to store or discard when leaving.
Be smart with the money you save
Don’t just stick your money under the mattress – make it work for you.
If saving for the short term, like less than a three years, get high a savings account, money market, or some other savings vehicle that has low risk and pays some interest on your money, as this will help your hard-earned savings continue to grow.
If you have a longer time horizon, consider riskier investments like mutual funds.
Just don’t put the money in such a high risk scenario, like single stocks, that you could blow it all. You don’t want your adventure travel dreams dashed when the market makes a major downturn or the company you’re betting on tanks.
If your adventure takes you overseas, open a checking account that won’t charge you ATM fees and even rebates the fees ATMs might charge you while traveling.