Think that a trip around the world is out of your budget? We are here to tell you that it is not impossible. The Top Ten Ways to Save Money for Your RTW Trip series will focus on the best ways to save money to enable someone from any budget level to achieve the RTW dream. It is Our Goal to enable each and every one of you to travel the world as much as your heart desires. These simple tips can be followed by every traveler to save money while preparing for an RTW trip and will enable almost anyone to realize the RTW dream. For a list of all of the articles in this series, click here.
We know that some people with the travel bug will go to extraordinary lengths to save money, like eating ramen noodles every day for six months. Not every traveler is willing to sacrifice that much though and we think that with a few smart choices, travelers can meet their savings goals while still enjoying a full life. We chose not to drastically alter our lifestyle in order to save for our RTW dream, but there are a few luxury items that we targeted in order to save money.
We women are divine creatures that like to pamper ourselves in very different ways. Pampering makes us feel good by raising our self-esteem, making us look sexy for our partner, or just by giving us a sense of change that we desperately look for. Unfortunately, changing your appearance and pampering yourself isn’t cheap. If your dream is to travel to the most jaw dropping places and conquer the world, you have to learn how to balance your looks vs. your budget.
Before we made the decision to go on our RTW trip, I used to go to the salon to get my hair done. My highlights plus color treatment could easily cost a total of $150 every 5-7 weeks. Wait a second… that’s $1,250 per year that I could be putting into our RTW fund. I asked myself what I would do a few weeks into our trip once I needed some “hair maintenance.” There were two options: to go back to my natural hair color or to find a salon every six weeks while traveling to get my hair done. Not only would I be spending money I could instead set aside and use on something unforgettable, like a catamaran day trip to an awesome beach, but I would also be sacrificing 3-4 hours of my time instead of enjoying paradise.
Like every woman, I wasn’t going to entrust my precious hair to a stranger. Even though I was somewhat sad when I chose not to do my hair anymore at a professional salon, I started to get goose bumps just from the thought of trying to explain every six weeks to someone different, who likely doesn’t speak English, what I like to have done with my hair. Indeed, I think my head will end up looking like a circus clown. Once you have decided to travel, the time and money that you spent trying to maintain your current appearance will mean nothing compared with the experiences you will have every day traveling the world. If you are currently spending tons of money on your hair, I recommend that you switch to something simple but yet beautiful that will allow you to travel in style and without any worries.
I remember my first sticker shock on my first visit to an American nail salon in Chicago. I regretted to spend a combined total of $50.00 for a decent mani-pedi. Back in Colombia, I would spend $15 for both. If you are planning to visit Colombia, I recommend that you go to a salon to get pampered from head to toe. You will not regret it. I enjoy looking my best and because it was so cheap for me to get pampered in Colombia, it became a habit for me to go every few weeks. When I decided to travel, I was again shocked to realize just how these luxury habits quickly add up. Nail treatments every two weeks can easily reach $100 dollars per month, or $1,200 per year.
Ladies: I’m not going to tell you that you should never get your nails done ever again. I know there are specials occasions that require you to look your best; but for just a bit of extra effort, you can achieve the same look on your own. During the past year, I have bought 5 different shades of high quality nail polish ($6 each) that allow me to look like I just had a professional mani-pedi. The difference is that when I’m done doing it, I feel amazing; not only physically but mentally. Each time, I feel like I have rewarded myself with $50 dollars that I can put towards my dreams. I have rewarded myself and my husband with the memories that we will make out of those $50 I just saved for our trip. If you don’t know how to do your nails, I suggest you look it up on a YouTube tutorial before making any attempts at painting your nails or ask for help to your bff or partner.
Are you part of the 150 million American daily coffee drinkers? Did you know that the average American consumes 3 cups of coffee per day? According to the Consumerist data, the average worker spends up to $20 a week on coffee and over $1,000 dollars per year JUST on coffee! I too was shocked when I read this on an article published by the Time Magazine. Assuming you and your husband/wife are coffee drinkers, finding a way to make your coffee consumption significantly cheaper while you save money for your RTW is a must. The first step is for you to realize how much money you and your family are spending on coffee on a weekly/monthly basis. Once you figure it out, your goal should be to at least cut that amount in half and put the other half into your RTW fund. You will quickly realize that your cravings for coffee will decrease once you realize how much money you can quickly save without really giving up the habit. Think of it as a high interest savings account.
Justin and I like to put in practice the following 6 tips:
- Buy a simple drip coffee machine that you can quickly set up the night before or in the morning. We use premium supermarket brands we have tried and like, or go through our beloved stock pile of coffee my family brings over every time they come back from where the best coffee in the world grows: Colombia.
- Reuse the coffee grounds of your first pot by doing a mixing of 50% new grounds in with 50% of the former pot. Make sure to mix them well and I guarantee you will not notice the difference.
- If you drink coffee just because your body needs the caffeine to be functional on one of those dreaded Monday mornings, and if you can live without the smell and taste of coffee, substitute the caffeine in your coffee for a natural caffeine pill that you can find at most natural products retailers.
- We don’t own a Keurig coffee maker, but we’ve heard that you can reuse your K-cups by buying a set of MyCaps that allow you to seal an already used K cup so that you can make coffee over and over again by putting your own coffee grounds into the cups. That’s what I call being smart!
- If you work at an office or if your workplace break room provides you coffee at no cost (it should be illegal if they don’tJ), then maybe it’s time for you to suggest that they buy a new coffee machine or switch the kind of coffee they currently use. You don’t lose anything, so just ask! You will be surprised. If your workplace has the kind of coffee you like, then resist the urge in the morning to stop by your beloved Starbucks before you get to the office, stick to your budget goals, and think of the amazing local Vietnamese and Colombian coffee you can drink instead in a few months, once you have saved enough money to go on your own RTW trip.
- If your office ignores your request to provide a coffee maker in the break room, buy a cheap drip coffee machine and keep it at your desk instead. Justin has a coffee maker at his desk for those 2’oclock coffee cravings. Not only does it save money compared with a Starbucks run, but you will make lots of new friends in the office, guaranteed. Often times, grateful coworkers will even subsidize your coffee habit to thank you.
If you want to experience the trip of a lifetime, making small sacrifices in your daily habits can add up over time and eventually make your wildest dreams come true. Remember that every single penny, nickel, and dime you save is the difference between the quality of the travel equipment you will buy, the bed you will sleep in, the food you will eat, and the adventures you will have. With these three changes to our habits, Justin and I saved $3,000 over the course of one year. That is enough to fund an entire month of our RTW dream!
Are there any other luxurious items that popped into your mind while reading tip #5? I will love to hear other tips since we are still saving ourselves.
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