How to Save Money for Family Travel

Saving money, even for travel, is hard.

This is my best advice:
You need to have a budget during your non-travel time (I mean, when you are not spending money travelling).
Like, written down, and maintained, and stuck to most of the time, budget.

I really believe that anyone can have money to travel.
IF they make it a priority.

It’s not sexy, or fun, or even easy.
It’s gross really.
But it will get your ass on a plane to somewhere amazing.

The cold hard truth its that the money is not going to magically appear in your hands.
Unless you have the money to travel right now, you’ll need to make changes to what you are spending on right now.
And free up some money that you can save for travel.

Since travelling the world is your number 1 priority, everything else has to become less of one.
Luckily, it IS achievable.

Here’s how we do it:

Figure Out Where All Your Money Goes

This isn’t a future plan, or optimistic take, or your goal state.
It is an exercise in getting data, and recording it.
Just black and white.
No judgement.

The goal is to account for every cent you earn and spend in a month.
Especially spend.

There are a lot of  ‘budgeting’ apps out there that connect directly to your accounts so that you don’t have to do this manually (and can’t lie to yourself).
I like mvelopes because I can easily see where I’m spending, in real time, compared to where I want to be spending.

This process is actually super enlightening.
I was so surprised.
Turns out I’m terrible at estimating how much of my earnings I’m spending.

Okay, step two:

Figure Out Where You Can Stop Spending Money

So, if you are spending more than you are earning every month, you need to get that sorted first.
But the method is the same.

You simply find categories where you can stop spending, or stop spending as much, make a plan of how much you CAN spend, and commit to doing that.

Some places you might be able to cut:

-Cable TV
-Home phone
-Books (use the library y’all)
-Eating out, including coffee (this saves us about $500/month.  I know.  Crazy!)
-So many damn kids toys
-Keeping up with the Jones’
-Recurring payments (i.e. cancel your gym, Plenty of Fish, whatever else you’re into subscriptions)
-New furniture
-Home Improvements
-Essentially, just stop buying shit
Oh, and start meal planning.

Your future self will thank you.

This is easier on paper than it is in real life.
And it’s really hard on paper.
You need to get to shake up the balance, look at hard numbers, and decide how important travel is to you.

A strategy I use is:
Is this thing (whatever it is), more important to me then this travel thing?
For example, is this new couch more important to me than like a week somewhere cool?
Usually the answer is no.
It’s still sad (I’ve been wanting that couch for a long time), but I truly do want to travel more.
(Also, I would feel really stupid cancelling a trip, while sitting on a new couch)

Anyway, whatever money you don’t spend, you save in your travel jar (or whatever).

How much travel money do you need to plan to save?
It depends what your travel budget is.

Now the super hard part:

Actually spend less

Your lifestyle likely has to change.
(But that’s okay, you are a world traveller now.  You have different priorities than most other people.)

There will need to be sacrifices.
Sometimes, your day to day comfort, your weekly routines, and even your traditions, will need to be sacrificed…or changed.
And you need to be okay with that.

We take it right off the top of our earnings every month, and have learned to live with what is leftover.

I can’t lie.
At first, it was fucking hard.
But living with a little less gets normal fast.
And honestly, I don’t even really remember all the things we have sacrificed.
I do remember epic trips though…

Good Luck.

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