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Fund Your Traveling By Making These 7 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Fund Your Traveling By Making These 7 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Have you ever been consumed by wanderlust? No one can blame you for having a strong desire to travel. After all, traveling offers several health benefits and can completely change your life for the better. Of course, while you may love the idea of going away somewhere, most of us just can’t afford it. Or can we?

If you want to travel bad enough, then saving the money for a memorable trip doesn’t need to be that difficult. While there are numerous ways you can save money while traveling, there are also plenty of easy ways you can save up cash ahead of your voyage.

Make these simple life changes, and you will soon build up enough of a fund to make that trip you’ve been dreaming of.

1. Keep track of your spending

This first thing you should do is take a note of all your spending and analyze it. If you’re not giving your expenditures much thought, then it can be far too easy to overspend. Besides taking note of all your bills and direct debits, you should also start noting down your daily spends.

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If you take the time closely look at your spending, you are guaranteed to find something that you are unnecessarily spending money on each month. You may not even realize you were wasting that money on a forgotten direct debit; you would be surprised how often this happens.

You can use apps such Dollarbird, Mint, Goodbudget and Level Money to make keeping track of your outgoings quick and straightforward. Divide your spending up by categories, create budgets, and get a good overview of where your money goes each month. This overview will help you to identify areas where you can save money.

2. Pay by cash

We get it, paying by card is so much more convenient. However, research confirms that people spend more money when they pay by card than when they do by cash.

When paying pay by cash, you can easily see how much you are spending and how much money you have left over. Get yourself organized and schedule withdrawals in advance to help you manage your spending.

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3. Swap meat for veggies

There are plenty of great reasons to become a vegetarian and saving money is one of them. In fact, cutting meat from your diet could end up saving you as much as $750 a year.

You don’t have to go completely without meat, but just swapping a few of your weekly meals for vegetarian options can make a big difference.

4. Eat before you shop

Have you ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach and ended up buying way more than you planned to? Not only can this be terrible for you diet, since you tend to reach for junk food, but it can also be bad news for your wallet.

Research has found that shopping when you’re hungry not only makes you buy more food, but it also promotes the acquisition of non-food objects. In a study published in the PNAS, researchers found that hungry shoppers spent as much as 60% more than others. Next time you plan on hitting the shops, make sure you have something to eat first.

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5. Drink homemade coffee

Those daily cups of coffee you buy from your local coffee shop? Bad news – it costs you about $1,100 a year. While you may not be ready to kick the caffeine habit altogether, you can save money by making your coffee at home.

Don’t worry; you can still make delicious coffee at home on a budget using freshly ground coffee and a French Press.

6. Have homemade meals

Just like swapping your morning cup of coffee for the homemade variety, eating breakfast at home and bringing your lunch to work can make a significant impact on your cash flow each month.

It may take some getting used to as you need to plan ahead, but you will get used to the routine. Plus, if you bring all of your own stuff into work every day, you can end up saving anywhere from $2,000 to $4,200 over a year’s time.

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7. Cut cable

Cable bills in America have been on the rise, with the average household spending $64.41 a month or about $768 a year. The thing is, there are many cheaper alternatives available these days that will provide you with enough entertainment options for the entire family. You can try a third-party service such as Netflix, which costs $9.99 a month, Amazon Prime at $99 a year or Hulu Plus, which costs $7.99 a month.

If you prefer to stick to television, but usually only watch the same few channels, you can still lower costs by buying a package of channels. Sling TV does a base package called “The Best of Live TV,” which is $20 a month and includes 19 of the most popular channels. Add-on packs are an extra $5 each per month, so you can tailor it to your family’s needs and still save money.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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