Updated on June 12, 2010
10 Ways to Save at Home to Fund more Travels
While traveling, I am always trying to save money. Not that I mean I am always cutting corners and staying at the cheapest possible places, although hostels are generally much cheaper than hotels, but I don’t want money to get really tight at the end of my trip and not be able to enjoy those last few days.
I tend to do the same thing while at home though, I am somehow subconsciously always trying to save a little bit. So, I have compiled a list of things that I do myself to save, and things that I really should do more of as well. This list is also mostly tailored towards college students, since I am one.
1. Go back home. Regardless of it you plan on staying there or not, I think going home when you first get back from traveling is one of the best things you can do. First, your family should be really happy to see you and to see you immediately after you got back. Secondly, rent is probably free there as well as food. Lastly, home tends to be a great place to regroup yourself after getting back from traveling as well as allow for some relaxation.
2. Cook with your family and friends at home instead of going out to eat. This is one activity that I really enjoy because it’s fun to figure out how to make something with someone and it can actually make a dinner that had the potential to be really awkward less so because you instantly have something to talk about while cooking. Cooking together is one of the best ways to get to know your friends and family.
3. Instead of buying books, go to the library. I do love shopping around Barnes & Noble, but for the most part, I cannot afford their prices. So, I like to go to the library or onto amazon.com instead. While I have had problems finding books in the library that I wanted, I have never had a problem with finding it on Amazon, so I strongly suggest going to one of these sources instead of buying a new book.
4. Buy textbooks online as well. Most campus book stores have outrageous prices in comparison to what you can find online. I like to to through amazon.com, half.com and valorebooks.com (5% off code: 101017). I can almost always find any book that I need from these sources and they are much, much cheaper than what I would buy at the campus bookstore. The international versions of textbooks also tend to be much cheaper and you can only find these online. The only word of caution is that you need to begin looking for books around 2 weeks before classes, this way they have time to be shipped to you.
5. Bike or walk instead of drive. This may be one of the hardest ones to do, but after you have been traveling you are probably more used to alternative forms of transportation and no longer feel the need to drive everywhere. I have noticed that I don’t always think of driving first now that I am home after I didn’t drive for 2 months in Uruguay.
6. Condense your trips. This one has always been somewhat obvious to me, but I realized that it is not to everyone because my family definitely does not condense their trips. I like to make one trip out and go to the grocery store, Target, Staples, wherever, the only point is, I like to do it in one trip instead of constantly driving back to my house each time. I also like to ask everyone around if they need something or want to come before I go so that someone is not making a trip out right after I get back.
7. Instead of buying a new gym membership, see if you can do your workouts at home. This does not work for everybody, especially those who like to life weights, but if you want to go running it is just as easy to do this at home. I have found that the majority of exercises I like to do I can easily do at my house and don’t need to go to the gym to do them.
8. If you really need to go to the gym or to a pool, see if you can go for free. Most pools have a free open swim time even if it may be early in the morning, although this helps get me up before noon. Also, many high schools have a time when you can go lift weights for free and past students are generally allowed to use the facilities.
9. Buy fresh food. Sand and I have noticed that normally our grocery bills are not too expensive, so I was really confused when I would go grocery shopping with my mom and the bill would seem outrageous! Soon though, I realized that the difference was the food that we were buying. Sand and I tend to buy fresh groceries while my mom prefers the prepackaged foods, which are really not that healthy for you. In general, the more processed a food is, the more expensive it will be. So even in purchasing fresh foods, if you tend to go for the locally grown varieties you will probably get a better deal than those apples shipped all the way from New Zealand.
10. This is one that I like to go by everyday: Before you buy something, ask yourself if you REALLY need it. If the item is something you would use once and throw out or maybe not use at all, then you probably do not need to buy it. Ask yourself if you have something already that can substitute for what you are thinking of buying. There is no reason to replace an item that you already have just for one very similar.
I hope that these tips can help you to save some money while at home so that you can then enjoy spending it while traveling! (Although I guess you could save for something other than traveling as well.)