Last year I took off four weeks and traveled to over 13 countries and I didn’t have to pull from my savings to do it. Most people ask me how I am able to travel so much, so I thought I’d share some of my money-saving secrets. These are just some of my tactics that are easy and cover the basics. In another post, I’ll share how I actually save money on flights and hotels.
The Basic, Dirty Truth:
I have a good job and I work a lot of hours. Unfortunately, I was not born into money nor do I have a sugar daddy. I went to cosmetology school and I’ve been in my career for over ten years. There is no secret here. The more I work, the more I get paid.
If you want to travel, you’re going to have to be smart about the career path you take. Traveling can require a flexible schedule and the ability to make more money if need be.
Although, I don’t see this as an excuse for someone who has a smaller salary. If you are wondering how you can do it on a small salary, then the rule number one is to LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS.
It can be called sacrifice or opportunity. It all depends on how you choose to look at it.
I have the opportunity to save money by NOT drinking Starbucks everyday. That’s an average cost of $5.50 a day multiplied by 30 days = $165 savings a month or $1980 a year). Just FYI Starbuck is a luxury, not a necessity.
Eating out is a luxury.
Apple Music, Netflix, and Hulu are luxuries.
Nail & hair appointments are a luxury.
The newest iPhone XYZ is a luxury.
If it is not a necessity, then check your priorities.
Do you see where this is going?
Stick with your iPhone 6 and put money away for traveling!
Now that I have held the ‘coming to Jesus and Dave Ramsey meeting’, let’s dive into real ways to save and make some money.
Grocery Shop Smarter.
I shop at Walmart most of the time, but I do love Publix bOGOs (BOGO: Buy one, get one free). Shop at Publix when they offer 10$ off a $50 Shell gas card. Follow me here: If you look in Publix ads you can get $10 off of a pre-paid Shell gas card. You must spend $50 in grocery items to get the pre-paid card, but you just add it to your order, and then the cashier will take $10 off. It’s too easy to spend $50 at Publix and you get $50 worth of gas for $40, just for buying it ahead of time!
Combine the gas card with a Shell card (free) for more savings. Just for swiping the Shell card before you pump gas, you can get 5 cents off a gallon, no contingencies. Also, check with your credit card company. I get 3% back from Bank of America on gas purchases, so in total I save $10 at Shell, combined with .05 off a gallon, and I get 3% back on my credit card.
If you are into extreme couponing, try coupons.com. You don’t have to be an extreme personality to use this site, but it can save you a few bucks on certain items. I have even used it to get free bananas, potatoes, and apples! Just purchase them and then they reimburse money back into PayPal.
Own Credit Cards, but Don’t Let Them Own You:
If you can manage your spending, you can use credit cards to your advantage. I have four cards that I use regularly.
- Bank of America Cash Rewards because I get 3% on groceries and cash rewards on some stores.
- I use a Delta American Express because I travel so much and I needed a card that didn’t charge international fees.
Sign up here for your delta card and get up to 50,00o bonus miles (if you spend $1,000 in 3 months).
**Signing up under a referral got me almost three free flights and I still have 36,000 miles. Yes, it’s $100 a year for the card, BUT if you travel 4+ times a year, then your bags are paid for!
- I use an Express card because I buy most of my clothes from their store and I get exclusive deals when I use it. I usually end up with $15 in rewards every month!
- The last card I use to my advantage is a Bank of America Business Travel Card that I use for my business purchases. I let points accumulate over the year and I use the points to book flights, hotels, and gift cards. The last time I redeemed points, I managed a $250 gift card for Best Buy.
As long as you can manage your money and pay off your credit cards every month, then credit cards will end up paying you in points, cash, or flights.
This is an easy way to make a percentage back on your online shopping purchases. I use several different sites to make cash back on my online shopping.
Ebates: Use this app or Browser attachment to collect anywhere from 3%-25% back on shopping you normally do. I have made over $500 back from purchases using this app. There are no qualms. Just click the store you want to shop at, keep that browser open until checkout (meaning don’t X out) and the cash back goes into your Ebates account. Every three months they send you a check. For signing up, you get a $10 gift card to a store of your choice. It’s not only free to sign up, but they also pay you. Refer friends and when they sign up and spend $25 on a purchase, you will earn $25 in your Ebates account. Download Ebates now!
Couponcabin: This site is even better than Ebates. It’s a little less user-friendly but I have earned more on my purchases than on Ebates. When you sign up, you get a member’s only deal and every 90 days you get exclusive deals. I was able to get $50 back on a $50 or more purchase from Vans.com. Once you have used Coupon Cabin several times, you move up in rank, and you can earn more money. I LOVE THIS SITE. It also connects coupons from the stores to the account so you can double up. Pro tip: open on your computer browser for better deals.
Raise: I use Raise to buy discounted gift cards. To cut down on work expenses, I’ll buy a $100 Sally Gift card for $75. You can actually go to this site through Coupon Cabin, and earn cash back when you buy a gift card. Then, when you use that gift card, you can use CouponCabin again, so it’s like saving two times! Raise is awesome and the cards are guaranteed, so don’t worry, you won’t get scammed.
Shopkick: When you walk into major retailers like Walmart, Publix, Target, or Kohl’s, just open up Shopkick and you’ll get automated ‘kicks.’ Build these up, and you can get gift cards for free! You can scan items and upload receipts to earn more kicks, but I always forget about this app. I did manage to get a $10 TJ Maxx gift card last year. The cool thing is if you don’t earn your kicks from that store, you can pick which store you want a gift card from.
Ibotta: This is the most time consuming app but I have managed to get almost $100 back last year in groceries. Open the Ibotta app and search for the retailer, such as Walmart. Compare your receipt to see if you purchased any of the qualifying items under Walmart’s list, then scan the item’s barcode and take a photo of the receipt. A lot of times you can get .50 back just for uploading a receipt. I have gotten up to several dollars back on certain purchases.
Review & Get Free Products:
Influenster: Influenster sends free products in exchange for a review of those products and a social media post. Just sign up, follow their prompts, and in a few short weeks, you can get a ‘survey.’ Do the survey then they send a full-size product for you to review. I have managed to get Kat Von D makeup, Origins products, Ole Henrikson, Algenist products, and even a bottle of PF Changs soy sauce to review! All of these products were sold at higher end stores, averaging $30 or more, and I actually really loved them!
Buying & Selling Online:
I use different sites to buy and sell stuff all of the time! I hate clutter and I finally found ways to buy and sell that are easy and effective.
PoshMark: I use Poshmark to buy and sell clothing. All you have to do is post pictures, describe the clothing, and then put a price on it. Poshmark takes 20% but they also have the shipping easily covered. You just print out the label, put it on a box, and ship out within three days.
Mercari: On this site, you can sell just about anything. It works similar to Poshmark, but the site only takes 10%. I have sold over 20o items and made a few thousand dollars just from selling things around the house.
Facebook Marketplace: FB is a great place to sell big items like furniture or tools. It can be a pain dealing with meeting up with people, but just make sure your firm in price and meeting.
Etsy: If you are artsy crafty, sell your items on Etsy! I haven’t tried this but I have heard it’s a great place to start.
Ebay: Ebay is the most complicated and the highest fee for selling items. However, there will be more traffic because it’s a bigger site. I would use Ebay as a last minute resort.
Second Hand Shopping:
I love nice stuff, but I really love nice stuff when I get a great deal!
Plato’s Closet: I do most of my shopping at Plato’s Closet because it’s super cheap clothes and I can find brand name items. I have bought countless Lululemon items, Adidas Shoes, and a Michael Kors purses. I also sell my clothes back to Plato’s Closet, which I recommend if you aren’t interested in online selling.
Rococo, Pensacola: This is a local consignment boutique which carries more designer items. I recommend this store for formal dresses and also for higher end consignment items. If I am traveling to another city, I will check their second-hand options because everywhere will offer something different!
These are just a few things I have put into practice to save money so I can travel more. If you want more information, feel free to shoot me a message. I’d gladly explain how it all works!