“OMG; How do you travel so much?” “You are so lucky, I wish I was able to travel the way you do.” “Where do you get all this money to travel…?”
These are the three questions I get asked all the time and the answer is simple; I choose where my money goes.
Okay, before you start rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself “I have bills to pay”… hear me out. Every year I take a few days to look over my expenses so I can have an idea of where my money goes. Here are some of my expenses for the 2016 year:
- Starbucks (Not including my Visa’s) – More than $600
- Fast Food (Not including one of my Visa’s) – More than $6400
- Uber – $350 (in 4 months and I still purchased Metro-passes each month for $148.00)
- Books – More than $850
Do you see a problem?
In one year I had spent over $8400 on unnecessary items; I let my “wants” take over big time.
Now your money may not be going to food and books like mine did, but you could be spending just as much, if not more, on fast fashion, concerts, alcohol, etc when that could be used to plan your next big trip.
Using online programs/apps like Mint, take a look at your expenses from last year then follow these 5 steps to help you save money!
- MEAL PREP – It is so easy to spend between $15- $20 a day on food. Instead, prepare your meals on the Sunday so you can grab your meals throughout the week and instead of making your daily Starbucks run, prepare a cup of coffee at home and bring it with you.
- FIND MONEY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES/ WAYS OF SPENDING TIME – A night out to the movies can quickly add up to $30 after you purchase an adult ticket + popcorn. Instead, have a movie night at home and invite a bunch of friends over. Not only will you be saving, you’ll be helping your friends save also. You can also look up free events in your area, you’ll be surprised by what your hometown offers.
- CAR POOL or RIDE A BIKE – Each year the price for transportation increases. As of now Toronto charges $148/month for an unlimited bus pass and although this option is better cost wise than owning a car, you are still spending about $1776 a year to get around. If you love the outdoors and own a bike, put that $1776 into a savings account and bike to work instead! Or, if you have those nights where you need to go out, try to carpool instead of taking a taxi/uber.
- NEEDS v.s WANTS – The next time you are shopping and you see that pretty pink top that you know you’ll only wear once but “NEED” to have it because it’s on sale for only $45.99, ask yourself, are you really saving money or are you actually losing money. If you feel yourself easily giving in and splurging way to much, step away from the item, think about its value and only then make a decision.
- PAY YOURSELF FIRST– I know this step is a bit different from the rest but it is probably the most important. I was lucky to learn this at an early age from some of my favourite mentors (including Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, etc). The moment you receive any source of income, pay yourself. Whether it is 10% or 20% that is automatically deducted from a paycheque or a monthly savings of $100, put something away, preferably in an account where it cannot be seen. Think of it like a telephone bill, once it’s paid, it no longer exists. Check back in a couple years and you’ll be shocked at what a little money added overtime can do.
So…the next time you say to yourself “I want to take that trip”, do it! Make a budget, plan smart, and rearrange where your money is being spent. I could not tell you how those meals worth $6400 tasted (I’m sure they were good), but I definitely could tell you how my trip to Egypt was, or how getting lost in Venice, Italy was one of the best experiences of my life!
Choose to experience life, take risks, learn from the world around you, and maybe grab just ONE Starbucks drink along the way!
Follow Desiree’s adventures here.