When I decided to take a RTW trip, I made a lot of very common expense cuts to save for travel. I got rid of a couple budget black holes like my rapidly aging car and cable TV. I reduced unnecessary spending like going out for coffee or dinner on a frequent basis.
It still feels like I could be doing more, though. So my New Year’s Resolution for 2016 is to find more creative ways to boost my savings.
As we entered the fall months, my roommate and I decided to give our AC a break and rely only on fans and open windows in the hopes of saving a few dollars on electricity. We didn’t just save a few dollars. By only using AC when absolutely necessary, we cut our bill in half. Our energy costs will go up some as we march steadily into winter and have to turn the heat on, but Virginia weather can fluctuate a lot from day to day. Keeping a closer eye on my energy usage saves at least $10-20 extra dollars a month, maybe more.
Even though I’ve long since gotten rid of cable, Comcast continues to sneak in rate increases every few months, so I’m now paying an astronomical amount for significantly less. First thing after the chaos of the holidays is past, I’m calling in to cancel my service. Comcast may be pure evil, but they can bend over backwards to keep a customer from leaving. They’re also notoriously kinder to new customers than to existing ones, so if I’m not able to negotiate a lower internet bill, I’ll cancel my service and have my roommate open a new account for us in her name. Getting our hands on that new customer rate will save us each $20 a month.
I’ve been involved in the swing dance community for about eight years. The cover charges for regular social dances, lesson fees, and costs of traveling to other cities for special events seriously add up. One of the ways I chose to save money in 2015 was to go dancing a couple times a month instead of every week. I also stopped traveling for special events. Next year, however, I’m going to add a different tactic. People who volunteer to help run events get credits toward admission. If I start volunteering regularly, I could go back to attending weekly dances without spending $40-50 a month.
I’ve shopped and sold clothing at consignment stores for ages. Even before becoming interested in long-term travel, buying things at full retail price was a rarity for me. But since getting rid of my car, it takes me a lot longer to get from cleaning out my closet to collecting my share of the profits. I have piles of clothes waiting to be taken in, so in 2016 I’m going to be a lot more diligent about borrowing a vehicle to take clothes in and calling to check my account status.
For a long time now, I’ve been resistant to changing my grocery provider. I know it would help me save for travel. But I’m still really committed to buying local. It supports my hometown economy, it’s better for the environment, the benefits are manifold. As push comes to shove, I may split the difference next year. I can alternate orders from my preferred grocer with coupon-fueled trips to a larger supermarket. I could potentially save an extra $50 a month.
Another $100-150 in savings each month may not make a big difference. It could, however, give me a bigger cushion for splurging once in a while during the trip. And that’s well worth the effort.
Need more than an extra $100 a month? Check out some bigger ways I boosted my travel savings account.