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The Real Reasons You Can't Afford to Travel

by Claire Martin Jan 18, 2017

Becca’s in Barbados? Chad is in Boston? Do you find yourself wondering how seemingly all of your friends are able to pay for that fancy vacay and you can’t even afford a flight to see your grandparents? No, they don’t have some secret trust-fund or sugar daddy – they’re probably just more money-fluent and better at saving than you are. Don’t fret though! Here is the ugly truth of why all of your friends are out exploring the world and you’re stuck at home staring at pictures of sandy beaches and foreign delicacies. Read on to find out why you’re broke and what you can do to save up for your next trip to appease that wanderlust!

1. You have a ________ addiction.

Insert word here. Maybe it’s coffee. Or shoes? Or even the not so glamorous cigarettes, etc. These habits add up to a lot more than you think they do. If you spend an average of even a measly $3 a day on your ‘addiction’ – and let’s be honest I’m sure you’re really spending a lot more than that (new Hunter rain boots anyone?!) – that’s a grand total of $1,095 a year, which is easily enough to pay for that flight to Europe you’ve been day dreaming of. Yes, sometimes it’s important to live a little and treat yourself, but if you’re not careful, these little addictions can quickly spiral out of control.

2. You care too much about appearances.

Whether that’s the appearance of your house, car, or even yourself. It’s of course important to put effort into appearances, but it’s also easy to get swept away. Do you really need that weekly pedicure or could you paint your nails at home yourself? Are those new curtains absolutely necessary? Could you maybe stretch the time in between trips to the hair salon a bit more and make less trips in general? All of these questions are important to ask yourself. Are you doing it because you truly want to or because you care too much what other people think? Try looking at what’s absolutely necessary and remember to skip the boredom-buys!

3. You buy other people too many gifts.

This is a hard one. We all love to give gifts as well as receive them, but it seems like there’s always someone’s birthday, baby shower, wedding, or party around the corner. It can feel rude to decline the invitation or even (gasp!) show up without a gift, which society frowns upon. The truth is, if you really want to take that girls trip to Cabo, you may have to pass on some of these invitations. A good idea is to be choosier about which events you attend and only join in on the ones you really, really want to go to. Other options are going in on a gift with someone else to cut costs or even making a handmade gift! You can also make up for missed events by sending mail from abroad! Trust me, postcards equal mega brownie points – everyone loves getting a cute card and being remembered. Any missed events will quickly be forgotten.

4. You have too many subscriptions.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Hulu, Chegg (if you’re a student), that gym you never actually go to, Spotify, Cosmo, you local newspaper, and every other other monthly subscription/membership you have is slowly draining your piggy bank. Even if you just have the basics – let’s say Netflix, Spotify, and a gym membership – you’re still looking at $50+ a month, AKA $600 a year. That’s some serious cash. Go through your current subscriptions and see which you can eliminate or get for cheaper. Maybe you could also share one Spotify account with your roommate or sister? Another good tip is to to swap services. For example, ditching the $50 a month cable plan for the much cheaper Hulu. If you really want to eat that macaroon in front of the Eiffel Tower, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices and be more money-savvy.

5. You eat out way too often.

“I don’t have any food at home.” “I don’t have any time to cook anything.” “All my co-workers are grabbing lunch and I don’t want to sit at work alone.” There’s unlimited excuses for this one. The fact of the matter is that eating out at restaurants is horrendously more expensive than cooking at home. The only way to get around this is to put in the time and effort. It will take some forethought and proper planning, but if you get in the habit of meal-prepping once or twice a week and keeping food in stock at the house, you’ll save a ton of money. We’re not saying to become a recluse, but maybe limit your meals out to two or three times a week as a treat. Another thought is to have dinner at home and just having a drink when you go out with the gals instead of that pricey $12 sushi roll that won’t fill you up anyways. You’ll probably even cut down your waste line in addition to saving some money so it’s really a win-win!

Traveling is costly, we all know that. But if you follow these tips and really analyze what you spend your money on, you might just find you’ve got plenty of spare cash to pay for the trip of your dreams. Try writing down everything you spend money on for one week so you have a better idea of where your dollars are going. Now get out there start saving – and planning!

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