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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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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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