I have officially been unemployed for over three months, during which time I’ve been traveling nonstop. Josh and I are definitely not rich, we didn’t take out loans, and we didn’t inherit money from anywhere. Being able to afford our travels came from small things we did to save money, that really added up. One of the things that truly makes me sad is when people say they just can’t afford to travel. We got tickets to Barcelona for about $300, for goodness sake! I heard somewhere once that everything is achievable if you make it a priority. If traveling isn’t a priority to you, of course you aren’t going to take the extra steps to save up. Making something a priority gives you a reason to work towards that goal.
Just as a disclaimer, we did receive most of our funds from my egg donation, but we still have most of those funds, and probably wouldn’t have needed them to fund this leg of our travels. That being said, here are several “easy” (if you want to make the effort) ways to fund your travels. Or for whatever you want, really.
- Sell the things you don’t need. You never realize how much unnecessary shit you have in your house until you start thinking about what you can get rid of. Since Josh and I were moving, we had a lot of stuff we didn’t need anymore. We used a variety of websites to get rid of most of it. If you have clothes that are still in good condition, check out Poshmark. I don’t even know how many items of clothing I sold there, but it was at least half of my wardrobe. It’s a great app where people like us can either sell their unused clothing, or buy clothes from other users. We used Craigslist for household items and when that didn’t work for some of our items, we turned to Facebook. That fancy new “Marketplace” was created like a month after we needed it, so I imagine it is so much easier selling stuff there now. If you own a car that you can sell (I couldn’t since I was financing it), then you are set!
- Download a money making app. If you have the patience and the free time to let your phone play ads and videos, try downloading an app that will pay you to do so. I personally use AppTrailers. It takes quite a bit of time to earn a substantial amount, but free money is free money. AppTrailers gives you points for every app trailer/video/promo you watch and it usually rolls from one to the next. So if you don’t mind letting your phone just sit there, you can earn quite a few points. Occasionally there is an ad you need to exit out of to move on, but it’s not like that’s difficult. I still use it when I know I won’t need my phone for a little while. In fact, I’m using it now. So if you let it play for a while and earn up enough points, you can request a PayPal payout, which shouldn’t take very long to process. You can also try FeaturePoints. This is an app that pays you to test other apps. Once you’ve downloaded the app, simply download one of the listed apps, spend 1-2 minutes looking at it, and earn points. You can choose whether to keep or delete the app you just looked at, after your points are awarded. Once you earn enough points, you can request a PayPal Payout. If you want to start out with 50 points, feel free to use my referral code: 78EAAC. Here’s a screenshot of one of my payouts, so you know its legit:
- Make money by filling out surveys. I’m sure you’ve heard of this scheme before. But it actually works if you, again, have the patience and make the time for it. Have a free ten minutes at work between duties? Rather than checking Facebook, take a quick survey. Don’t know how to entertain yourself during commercials? Take a quick survey. I made a couple hundred dollars using OnlyCashSurveys. You do have to take quite a few surveys to get a decent payout through PayPal, but its freaking almost FREE money. Don’t pretend you don’t like to talk about your opinions on different subjects, so why not do it by taking surveys and earning money?
- Don’t buy shit you don’t need. My junior year of college I decided to study abroad in Rome over the summer and I was able to afford it by being boring AF the second semester of that year. Ask any of my friends, I rarely went out and I didn’t spend money on anything fun. Because going to Rome was my priority. It sucked at times because I really wanted to enjoy myself, but I had to focus on the bigger picture. Josh and I also had to give up quite a bit to save for traveling this time. Before making this decision, we went out to eat multiple times a week and (more often than I’d like to admit) spent a couple hundred dollars at bars on the weekends. We really had to cut back, even though it was really hard. Honestly, Josh had to remind me, on more than one occasion, that we couldn’t go out to eat because we needed to save. We also both have problems with always wanting new things, with me its clothes and he always needs the newest Xbox games. We really had to control ourselves and not buy the things we really, really wanted. My main point here is that you shouldn’t waste money on shit you don’t actually need. If you can’t control yourself in this way, can you really say that traveling, or whatever you’re saving for, is a priority?
- The most obvious answer: saving. With every single paycheck, put away as much as you can afford to without taking away from the necessities and “comfortability expenses”. My suggestion is to figure out how much you spend on the necessities (rent, utilities, groceries, etc). Then set yourself a limit for how much you can spend each month on your “comfortability expenses” (a term I made up to describe money spent on keeping yourself happy and sane). If you NEED that monthly pedicure to help with your anxiety, or you NEED that weekly after-work beer to deal with your awful boss, or you NEED to take your kids to the movies because that’s your “family time” then don’t restrict yourself from that. This differs from point 4 on my list; all those things were unnecessary because they didn’t contribute to my well-being. So give up that latte, but keep the beer that keeps you able to walk in to work and deal with your boss every day. But back to the point. Figure out your expenses, necessities and comfortabilities, then put the rest into an account you won’t touch. If that seems too extreme, just set a certain amount that you feel comfortable putting away each month. I opted for the first option, just because I wanted to travel ASAP. The more money you put away each month, the more you’ll save up in a shorter amount of time.
And there you have it. The “easy” ways we saved up for our big move. I knew what I wanted and I knew these would get me there if I gave them the attention they needed. I hope that our success will help you realize that traveling or just making/saving money really is achievable. If you want it, you’re the only one that is stopping you.