5 tips to save money for travel
Don’t be lazy, be prepared to learn, be prepared to get your hands dirty.
If you can, DO: Every time I have a project to do from the honey do list I look at the cost of materials and the labor cost. If the labor cost is disproportional to the material cost I do the job myself. I take the money I should have spent on someone else and I put it aside for travel expenses. For instance… If the pipes are clogged it will cost me 300 or so dollars to have Roto Rooter drop by and fix the problem. OR I can pickup a book or watch some youtube videos to save myself 250 plus dollars. I take the hour or two and add it up as time I will be spending with my family in some exotic location. It helps me to visualize the place I wish to be while I’m covered in drain hair and mold. The “if you can, do” attitude applies to fixing the cars and bicycles and walls and building furniture and really whatever I come across. You would be absolutely amazed with your abilities if you ever gave yourself the opportunity.
I have learned a lifetime of skills simply because I wanted to use that money for something else and I was willing to trade that time now for time with my family in say London or Paris or Rome. I’m not saying do EVERYTHING yourself. But you should at least give it a go with some research and learn what your limits are. As a bonus you will learn the terminology and basics of various professions. The terminology alone will pay dividends. The terminology for any profession is half the battle. It allows you talk to the professionals on a professional level. This aids them and you. For starters you can point them in the right direction, saving you diagnostic costs and time. Secondly, you’ll know what you are talking about so the people you hire know that you have an idea of what you are talking about. This tremendously reduces the chance of them screwing you. Just think about how the knowledge will save a ton of money and hassle even if you don’t do the work yourself.
A penny saved is a penny earned: Another thing you can do is look into purchasing the materials for the job yourself. For instance, a mechanics shop will charge a premium for the parts and the labor. If you show up with the part they won’t get their 30% premium out of you for the part. Savings add up. Every penny is just that much closer to a nice trip.
The easy stuff that’s really labor intensive like painting your house you should really do yourself if you are capable. Don’t pay someone to do something out of laziness. If you’re not capable or there is an opportunity cost issue then sure pay someone. But don’t blow the cash because you would rather watch TV.
Find the little savings: We have a sprinkler system. I adjust it for the seasons and turn it off when it rains. This saves us $50 or so dollars a month. Guess where that money goes. Make sure to do the regular maintenance on your equipment. Rotate your tires. They will last 25%-40% longer depending on how you drive. Changing your oil for 40 bucks in your garage on a Saturday every 6 months will save you thousands in repairs and half the price of an oil change from the local dealer. Keep up with home maintenance and when you see a problem don’t let it fester. Fix it before it becomes a much larger problem. That squealing when you brake is probably just brake pads but if you leave it until you hear a grind it becomes a $500-dollar problem or more depending on the make and model of the car.
Whenever I’m feeling particularly lazy or afraid of tackling a job I think of what I would tell my children if they were in that situation and I make sure not to be a hypocrite. This is harder than one might imagine. Honestly, I don’t always win that argument against my inner blerch but I certainly win it more than I lose it and that’s something I can be proud of. Speaking of things to be proud of, there’s a sense of pride in doing small projects yourself. I find leading by example to be a phenomenal way to teach the kids not to be afraid to try things themselves. It’s empowering in a way. When my children give me a “wow daddy, you did that?!” I feel like superman. Even something simple like fixing their stopped up drain. As an added bonus my son is old enough now that he is learning to help me around the house and he will gain a lifetime of problem solving knowledge to help in the future.
Don’t buy crap: Don’t waste your money on garbage. The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is gone. If I have done it once, I have done it a thousand times. I have bought the “cheaper” alternative and regretted it later, generally about the time I’m tossing, whatever it was, in the old circular file. Buy quality once and it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Don’t buy stuff for the sake of stuff. We are all guilty of this, and retailers know it. Why do you think the line at the grocery store is stacked with “impulse buys” like magazines and chocolate and hand sanitizer?
Failing to plan is planning to fail: Have a plan to save the money. No seriously, the money isn’t going to magically appear in your account next. Make a plan to save the money. Then execute and stick tot hat plan. Take these extra little tips for what they are worth on top of your normal savings and put them into an interest bearing account. Stick to your savings plan. Don’t spend the money on 5 dollar coffees everyday and 40 dollar pizzas and then complain that you don’t have the money. You can say that you prioritize your money differently but don’t say you don ‘t have the money. Unless of course you really don’t and it isn’t because you prioritized the Starbucks over the things you REALLY want.
I’m going to climb off my soapbox now… I say that because I know I’m being preachy and I have many levels of failure at all these things myself but at least I never give up and I keep on plugging away. The moral of the story here is that you have to “give to get”. If you are like me you aren’t independently wealthy and at some point you will have to make some tough choices on what to give up to get where you want to be. Consider this some new years motivation to keep your eye on the prize!