Simple Savings

While the best savings advice is to simply direct money from each paycheck into your retirement and savings accounts, what about saving up money for fun stuff like travel?

After spending a year in Denmark after high school (Rotary Exchange program where I earned the program fee through community fundraisers), I continued to travel each summer in college. Friends would always ask me how I managed to travel while working just part-time in a low-wage job. My answer was that I simply made travel my financial priority. At the time my heart longed to travel so much that there was little to distract me from saving. Plus, I didn’t have kids to cloth or a house to fix up, but here are some fun and easy saving tips that I put into practice:

  • Be critical of your commute. It may cost you more than you think. In college I wrote my bike everywhere and didn’t own a car, this practically paid for my trips (if I would have been earning enough!) If you have two cars, think about how you could cut down to one. ZipCar is a great urban option for reducing your commuting bill.
  • Mind the bar tab. I don’t recommend not having a social life in the name of saving cash, but when you go out consider whether you really an extra drink. Saving $5-10 each time you go out adds up over time, over $500 in a year without that much effort. Plus, you might enjoy other things more than getting a buzz.
  • Save the change. When my Mom saved up for our first trip to Europe, she managed to save up enough for her and I to visit my Twin Sis in Finland after just a year of saving on a teacher salary. One of her best tricks was only pay in cash. Then each time she broke a $20 bill she would save all the change, dollars actually. It made her think twice before spending and the cash savings did add up.
  • Picture It. I just heard this idea recently, and I’m trying it myself. Print a photo of what you’re saving for and stash it in your wallet so you see it each time you’re ready to spend.

What simple ways do you save money?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

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