Ask anyone about their life goals or bucket lists, and travel is invariably at the top of the list. Everyone wants to see more of God’s creation—to have new experiences and broaden their horizons. Inspiration makes these dreams come true for so many with our cruises to far-flung ports, Holy Land tours and travel experiences featuring leading Christian teachers and musicians.
But travel can be expensive. We believe the experience is well worth the cost, but the question remains: how do you pay for it?
Many look at a lump sum of cash as being too formidable to attain. However, small changes can make a big impact, and taking a close look at your monthly spending can reveal some startling trends. Almost everyone can find several things to cut. And saving just $150 each month, over the course of a year, adds up to $1800! That’s enough to see you sailing up the Alaskan coastline or dipping your toes in the Mediterranean Sea. So, here are five simple ways to trim your budget’s waistline—maybe without even feeling the pinch.
Brown Bag It ($30 a month)
Do you dine out at lunch during the workweek? Depending on where you eat, that single meal could set you back $7.50 each time. Over the course of a month, eating out just one day a week totals $30! Resist the urge to splurge, and your piggy bank will be heavier already.
Curb the Coffee ($30 a month)
Everyone has different coffee habits, from $1.50 cups of regular joe to fancier $5 lattes. Let’s say you spend an average of $3 every time you buy coffee. Ten trips to Starbucks adds up to another $30 every month. Could you do without it for a year? Make your own coffee at home, or enjoy the free coffee provided at your office. It may not be as indulgent or delicious as coffee-shop offerings, but that’s where you weigh what’s most important: a temporary cup of coffee or a travel experience you’ll remember forever?
Cut the Cable ($30 to $100 a month)
Cable or satellite TV is becoming more and more expensive…and less and less necessary. With a membership to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime (typically $8 to $10 a month), you can watch an almost unlimited amount of television programming online. You might have to wait a few months to watch current seasons, but you’ll save big. Better yet, cut out TV altogether and spend more time with family—playing a game or going to the park.
Shop. Cook. Save. ($30 to $80 a month)
Every weekend, plan your meals for the next seven days. Shop all at once, using coupons and shopping weekly sale items. Don’t buy impulsively—only what you need for that week. The coupons will save cash on every trip to the grocery store. We all know dining in is far cheaper than dining out, but an added bonus is that preparing foods in bulk means you’ll have leftovers for your brown-bag lunch the next day (see how convenient that is?).
Exercise Out-of-Doors ($30 to $60 a month)
Let’s face it: All of us join gyms with the intent of being more active and improving our health. But many corporate gyms operate on a business model that assumes most people won’t actually go after joining. We’re not suggesting you stop exercising, but if you belong to a gym that you hardly ever use, you’re just throwing money out the window. Get moving on your own outside of a gym environment. Go for neighborhood walks in the evening. Swim laps in a friend’s pool. Do crunches in your living room. There are plenty of options.
By following the five money-saving tips above, you can stash away at least $150 a month, and maybe more. All it takes is some discipline and planning. Do it for a full year and you’ll be well on your way toward being able to afford a refreshing, spiritually-renewing travel experience.
What money-saving tips have worked for you?