How to Easily Save Money to Travel More
Travel is expensive. There is no other way around it. You can find cheap flights, a good hotel price, make your own meals, but the costs add up. We’ve traveled on a shoestring budget and we’ve traveled very comfortably. At the end of the day we needed ways to save money so that we could travel more and further. I’ve put together the day-to-day ways to easily and efficiently save money for future trips.
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Here are 15 Ways to Passively Save Money for your Next Trip
This is an investment app. It helps you save money without thinking about it. This program allows you to round up each dollar you spend and puts it into an account for you. What does that mean? Well if you spend $5.72 on a coffee then it will round the transaction up to $6. The coffee shops will get the $5.72 and your account gets 28 cents. Acorns also allows you to schedule investments, so I have $5 a week going into my account as well as round ups. This is an incredibly easy way to save without actively doing anything. Use my referral link below to get $5 in your Acorns account and start saving today!
Get rebates as you shop. This app helps you get money in the places you already shop and for the items you already buy. Simply choose the offers that apply to you, shop, then upload your receipt and the funds are added to your “earnings.” Once you hit $20 in earnings, you can transfer the cash to your bank account. This program makes is incredibly easy to get money back for items you’re already buying!
3. Save on Gas - Shell Fuel Rewards:
This is a completely free program where you get $0.05 off per gallon. Simply register online, then enter your customer ID before you fill up. You can earn more by linking your credit card and eating at certain restaurants, shopping online through their site. You can also earn an extra 5 cents off per gallon for every $25 you spend inside the shell gas station!
It’s incredibly hard to shop at Target and not overspend. However, now you can simply order only the things you need, drive up and the items will be delivered to your car. I swear by drive up. I can place an order at my house and it’s typically ready before I can even get to the Target. Over the summer I used Target Drive-Up in every town we could when using the campervan. Order on the app, drive up, have my supplies put right into the camper! Download the APP HERE. Also – the Target REDCard is an amazing deal. You don’t need to apply for a new credit card, you can have the REDCard attached to the debit card you already use. That’s right, this is not another credit card! The Target REDCard gets you 5% off your entire purchase online or in stores every single time. It can be used with other discounts and coupons too!
Much like Ibotta, Rakuten (previously known as Ebates) gives you money back for shopping online at places you’re already shopping at. You simply sign up, install the browser widget, and shop! When Rakuten detects your shopping on one of their partner sites it will alert you and you can get your cash back for your purchase!
6. Credit Card Loyalty Programs
American Express Platinum Card: This is one of THE BEST credit cards you can have for travel. A few of the perks of the card: Reimbursement for one Global Entry application ($100) every 4 years, $15 UBER credit every month, Priority Lounge Access (meaning the clubs and lounges in the Airports), $200 Airline Fee Reimbursement per year, access to the American Express Concierge Service, and even Hilton Honors Gold Status. The $400 annual fee is steep, but if you use it’s benefits, it pays for itself over and over. Also – if you are Active Duty military, the annual fee is waived. Apply for the American Express Platinum Card HERE.
Chase IHG Rewards: We signed up for this card in early 2019 and have stayed 6 nights completely free and we still have 70,000 points remaining. I love this program because Hampton Inns are everywhere. We have been able to find last minute hotels in Houston, Saint Louis, Atlanta and Montgomery, Alabama. It’s perfect to have this option in a pinch.
Delta Reserve American Express: If you live where the airport is a Delta Hub or where Delta is the premier service, you need this card. You can earn miles with every purchase, FREE checked bags for every flights, FREE entry to the Delta Sky Lounges, Priority Boarding AND qualify for a Companion Pass each year (meaning you get a buy one ticket, get one free to anywhere in the CONUS). Again, this card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee, but if you are active duty military this fee is waived completely. Another great option is the Delta Gold Card which is only $95 a year, but you still get free checked bags, Priority Boarding, earn Skymiles with each purchase, and 20% off in-flight purchases!
RELATED POST: Why Airport Lounges are Worth the Money with Kids
7. Quit Cable:
I was a skeptic at first, however our cable/internet bill was pushing $175 per month. I called and found out if we only did internet, it would be $70 per month. So I decided to get the Amazon Fire Stick ($49 one time purchase) Netflix ($9-16 per month) and ATT Now ($40 per month) which gives us access to so many shows and the usual cable channels. Now we pay $120 per month instead of the $175 and we can download shows/movies and access our subscriptions anywhere we go.
8. Restaurant Loyalty Programs:
Restaurants such as Chick-Fi-La, Starbucks, Whataburger, and KrispyKreme all have apps that you can download and save money. Why do I love these? Well, I frequent Starbucks and Chick-Fi-La, so being able to earn free food and coffee on things I am buying anyway makes sense. This year we have had several CFL meals comped, I’ve gotten so many free coffees, cake pops, and breakfast sandwiches on our trips. It’s worth noting that these programs mean you are spending money to save money, they only work if you are already frequenting these places. So, find your favorite places to eat and see if they offer a rewards program.
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This grocery service saves us at least $200 a month. When I physically walk into a grocery store, I spend more money. I often purchase many items I “forgot” I needed or get sucked into purchasing a sale I wasn’t intending to buy. This service allows you to fill your cart with any grocery item (including alcohol and perishables) then choose a pick up time (they are in one hour blocks). After that, just drive to Walmart and an attendant will walk your groceries out to your car. ProTip: This service is AMAZING for traveling. You can pre-order your groceries and then simply drive up to get them instead of wasting your exploring time in the store.
10. Military & Job Related Discounts:
Are you a teacher? A military member? A nurse? An EMT? An AARP Member? There are so many places that offer discounts to these professions. However, you have to ask. I have gotten many discounts, upgrades, free train tickets and many a free checked bag for being a veteran and military spouse. The two places we save each month: our Verizon bill (military discount) and we don’t pay the annual credit card fees because they are waived for Active Duty military. However, I wouldn’t have gotten anything if I hadn’t asked. These small savings each day can add up to be HUGE.
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11. Dollar Shave Club:
We LOVE Dollar Shave Club. Razors can be so expensive. We pay $10/month for 4 really good razor heads to be delivered. We don’t ever have to think about it. My husband has very sensitive skin and he swears by these razors. Ever since we started with DSC we haven’t looked back. Dollar Shave Club also comes with the option to purchase shave cream, lotion and other products as well. We personally love the wipes. With our code you will get Razor Cartridges (4 pk), Razor Handle (1 ct) & Shave Butter Travel (3 oz) for only $5!! Get started today!!
12. Target’s Cartwheel Program (Soon to be Target Circle):
This free loyalty program allows you to scan the items in your card to get deeper discounts. The deals are always changing, so you may be able to get 5-50% off the items already in your cart. Cartwheel offers are in addition to the 5% savings you automatically get by using your REDCard. If you shop at Target, you need to be using Cartwheel. There is nothing to apply for, it’s a simple loyalty program. Just download the Target App and get started!
13. Online Coupons:
About once a week I skim coupons.com to see if there are any offers on items I was planning to buy anyway. While I don’t always find something, I have found diaper coupons and other manufacture coupons that I have been able to use alongside the store coupons. Yes! This means if Publix is offering $2 off diapers in their weekly ad and I find a $3 off manufacturer coupon, I can use both for $5 off! Coupons are an easy way to keep money in your wallet!
That’s right. Gift cards. While technically you aren’t saving money, you are able to use your gift cards instead of your bank account. For Christmas and birthdays, we always ask for airline, restaurant, hotel or Airbnb gift cards. We know we want to travel more and this gives us the freedom to decide where/when we want to go! So, ask grandma to skip the sweater and grab the gift card. You can see all kinds of Giftcards for Travel HERE.
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15. Have your money moved automatically.
This is hard for many people, but its a very easy and passive way to save money. Set up a separate savings account specifically for travel (or whatever you are saving for). Every single time you get paid, have a set amount moved over automatically. Whether it’s $25 a paycheck or $200 a paycheck, this money will start adding up. Imagine: if you had $100 per month taken out of your paycheck up front, you’d have $1200 at the end of 12 months. If you only do $50, you’d still have $600. Both of these amounts are enough for international plane tickets, a weeks worth of hotel OR a weekend at a swanky spa. Whatever kind of travel you love, this little change can make a huge impact on your travel life.
A few important questions to ask yourself as you create your personal savings plan:
Determine how much money do you make versus how much your monthly (and annual) bills/expenses are — the left over amount is what you have left to save or spend.
Do you want to actively or passively save money?
How much money do you want to save permanently? (think retirement)
How much money do you want to save for ____________ life event?
How much do you need to put away each week or month to reach that amount?
How much time do you have until you’ll need the money?
Saving money doesn’t need to be hard. It doesn’t have to be restrictive and control your life. The most important thing you can do is determine what will realistically work for you. For me, I have a set amount in my savings account that I am unwilling to ever go under. I consider it my emergency fund, so unless I get into a predicament, that money will always be there. I also prioritize my kid’s college/life fund. Together (my husband and I) have a set amount that goes into that account each year. Money goes there before any other fun expenses. The main way I am able to continue to travel is that I have several passive incomes. I do random side hustles that bring in extra cash and I am able to cover my little and some times our large travel expenses that way. Each person and each family is different. You can start small with the suggestions above and expand from there! Regardless, it’s time to start saving money!
However you start saving, the time to start is now. Don’t wait!
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