Saving for vacation often seems like a daunting task, and it can be. With everyday expenses—and there are plenty of those—vying for your dollar, setting aside money specifically for travel can seem impossible. However, a few simple life hacks can put money back in the piggy bank, allowing you to save for that next adventure.
Sell your old stuff
Do you have a designer leather jacket that you never wear? Perhaps there’s a box of old kids’ clothing lying around. With a little legwork, you can put a few extra bucks in your pocket by selling these items online. For non-clothing items, try Craigslist, eBay or even Facebook using the marketplace or neighborhood “yard sale” groups. Sell books, CDs and video games on Amazon through their individual seller program, or sell them to Decluttr. Type the product’s barcode into the field on Decluttr’s “start selling” page and the site will tell you exactly how much they’ll pay you for it. The company even pays for the shipping of your items; just download the free shipping label.
Many of us have heaping piles of old clothing that can be sold online. If you’re social media savvy, consider using PoshMark. Like Instagram for clothing, PoshMark uses photos to sell used clothing. If online selling isn’t for you, take your duds to a consignment shop where you split the proceeds with the store.
If you’re the kind of person that just wants to get rid of stuff and be done with it, then ThredUP is for you. ThredUP sends you a prepaid shipping bag. Simply put your unwanted items in the bag and send it back. They’ll offer you a few dollars for your unwanted stuff.
Be fashion- and wallet-forward
We all need to update our wardrobe every now and again, but let’s face it, clothing isn’t getting any cheaper. Instead of buying things in season, anticipate what you need for the next year and shop the end-of-season sales. Another way to save big is to participate in a community clothes swap. Swap or purchase gently used clothes from others in your neighborhood.
Alternatively, skip buying altogether and sign up for a clothing subscription such as Stitch Fix (or Gwynnie Bee if you’re looking for plus-size clothes). Clothing subscriptions are a great option for those who want to buy clothes frequently. Have a fancy event coming up with nothing to wear? Instead of buying something you’ll likely only wear once, opt to rent your next fancy get up from Rent the Runway.
Avoid eating out
Monday hits and suddenly the world spins at a million miles an hour. Cooking is the last thing on your mind. You’re not alone. According to Zagat’s The State of American Dining in 2016, Americans eat out around four times per week. Let’s say the average meal costs $15. That’s $60 a week or $3,120 a year. You can take an incredible overseas vacation with money like that!
A great way to save time and keep more money in your pocket is to use a slow cooker to prepare your meals. Not only does the slow cooker do the work for you while you’re busy, but its large capacity also means you can make plenty of leftovers for lunch or busy days. Just toss in your favorite flavors and let the cooker do all the work. For great recipe ideas check out New Leaf Wellness or 365 Days of Slow Cooking.
Cut the cord and ditch cable and satellite TV
According to Leichtman Research Group, the average cable TV bill reached an all-time high of $103. On the contrary, a good internet connection will run you about $50 a month. Instead of watching TV, read a book, go for a walk or meditate. Not only are these options much healthier for you, but they’re also free.
Many subscription services have options for a free 30-day trial, so try before you buy. Your monthly bill is still less than a cable subscription. And, don’t forget about Amazon Prime. Do you have an annual subscription already? If so, you have access to free movies, TV shows and music.
Treat your newfound savings like a bill
Now that you’re on your way to being a savings superstar, put that cash aside for your next vacation. Most banks and credit unions offer a service that allows for automatic transfers between checking and savings accounts. Similar to automatic bill pay, you simply have an auto-transfer to your savings account. Align the transfer with the day you get your paycheck. That way it’s done and paid for just like a bill. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty put away for that dream trip.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. A few simple savings habits quickly fatten up your savings account so you can take that special trip.