14 Ways I Save Money And Travel More: Part II

A while back I wrote about how I save money so I can afford to travel, and since y’all loved it, I’m back with ROUND 2!

I’m definitely not any kind of millionaire, and I don’t have a limitless incomes, so traveling has to be a very intentional priority for me. I don’t budget because I don’t like spending money (believe me, I love spending money) but because there are some things that are just more important to me. It goes like this:

My income + Saving on everything I buy = MORE $$ FOR PLANE TICKETS (yay!)

Disclaimer: My life is my own and these tips don’t/won’t necessarily work for everyone or every lifestyle…duh.

1. Rewards Programs 

Check out the reward programs for the things you already use. Have a credit or debit card? You probably have rewards or perks. If you go to the movies a lot, like I do, then you should check out their rewards programs as well. I also make sure to always get punch cards and things like that from smaller shops because the fact is, they usually don’t expire, and I’ve got a whole lot of free food/drinks for spending money I’d already be spending.

2. Mailing Lists 

So, call me old fashioned, but I actually use the U.S. mail system. This is how I get birthday specials, coupons for artsy sh*t and also how I keep up with the art world around Seattle. You’d probably be surprised how many mailing lists you’re missing out on, and what they’ll send you. (On another note, don’t forget to sign up for email lists)

3. Get High Off Learning

Can I just tell you how much I love taking free learning/educational courses? Not only does it give me a ton to talk about with people, but it also nourishes my mind when I’d probably be out doing something stupid because I’m “bored.” My favorite go-to is Khan Academy, but there are actually a ton out there. A quick Google search can usually find you a million and one to choose from.
*Fun fact: I got my last job because I self taught myself techniques from online courses.

4. No Alcohol Or Coffee

Here’s a fun fact: I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. There are a couple reasons for this, including (but not limited to) the fact that alcohol makes me pass out on the first sip and coffee puts me to sleep (#ADHD) but this also allows me to save a whole ton of money. If I do need to hang out in a coffee shop, or get some caffeine, I usually stick with tea. As for alcohol, I just lie and always say I’m the designated driver.

5. Car Sharing

I’m a huge advocate for public transportation, but I also use car sharing services like Car2Go and ReachNow. Both of these services allow me to use a vehicle when I’m in a hurry, or when I need to transport things like groceries. Overall, it takes such a huge load off my mind to know there’s an independent way for me to get around that’s WAY cheaper than Uber (Car2Go starts at $.35/minute).

6. I Have Roommates

I actually hate the idea of living alone, so this one’s easier for me. As we all know, Seattle’s a pretty expensive city. So to help with the cost, I live with three other awesome women in a house. Some people have issues with this, but as long as student loans rule the universe I think it’s a great way to save money while being able to afford city living. Especially when moving home to your parent’s basement isn’t an option.

7. Cook At Home Date Nights

I really love to cook, but I absolutely hate cooking for one. Seriously, I’ll eat a bowl of cereal for dinner, rather than cook myself a solo meal. That being said, date nights are a great time to step into the kitchen and get yo’ pizza on. The best part of cooking with someone you care about is that it’s inexpensive fun, there’s a tasty end result, and you get to make fun of them, you get to encourage the other person’s cooking efforts.

8. L-I-B-R-A-R-Y

I actually almost broke this rule recently, because I really wanted a book and almost cracked and bought it from Amazon. But then it came from the library, and I reminded myself why I keep things in my Amazon cart rather than allowing my impulsive self buy all the things. Books are my weakness, I’m not gonna lie.

9. Blow Money On Some Things

Here’s the deal. I don’t hoard money. I save money for things that I want (even if that’s for retirement, that’s still something I want…down the road). I do, however, have a list of things that are important to me (plane tickets, shoes, art supplies) so I have a rule: When those more expensive things are available at a great price, I throw down on them. This actually ends up saving me more money because when I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself, which means I’m more likely to save.

Don’t live a completely miserable life in order to save money. It’s about being smarter, not living in a blackhole of misery.

10. Stare At Your Finances

Grab a glass of grape juice ’cause shit’s about to get real (sorry mom). Every now and then you’re going to need to take a deep breathe and look over your finances. It’s not fun. Believe me, I know. But if you’re keeping careful track of what you’re spending I promise it will get less painful as time goes by. Some people recommend apps and spreadsheets for this, but honestly I just go through my bank statements. The truth will set you free.

11. Pay MORE For Student Loans

Here’s a fun fact: By paying more on student loans you’re actually paying less on your loans. Your mind is blown, I know. I usually pay an extra 25% on each of my loan payments because as “little” as that sounds, it actually really adds up over the 10 year span of time. See if you can pull a little more money in that direction. If you end up with a chunk of change from some random life, that’s also a great time to make sure it goes toward paying off, rather than partying.

12. Buy Refurbished Electronics…On Holidays

I love Black Friday. Not because I go stand in lines at 3am, but because that’s the time when I purchase my electronics—it’s when I bought my action camera, DSLR, and tablet. Why? Because it makes sense.

If you’re research the electronics you want to purchase, then you know exactly what you’re in the market for, right? Now all you have to do is find the online shop with the biggest sale. Also, whenever you can, try to buy refurbished!

13. Buy Essentials When They’re On Sale, Not When You Need Them

Again, this does not mean hoarding like a squirrel. But there are some things that you’re going to use, because it’s a part of your daily routine. For instance, yesterday I bought makeup removal wipes in bulk. Am I going to use 100 makeup wipes in the next week? No. But I do use them on a daily basis, so I know that if I buy them when they’re $3/pack, instead of $8/pack, I’m ultimately saving money. Have a mental or physical list of the things that you continually use (for me it’s usually toiletries, cleaning and bathroom supplies) can save you a whole lot down the line.

14. Download App Alerts 

A lot of the time people think I’m texting when I’m checking my phone, but usually I’m looking at some kind of alert. No, not from Snapchat (because I hate it…story for another time). I sign up for a few different store apps that send me special promotional deals and alerts when there are coupons or cheap prices for things. This is anything from art supplies to plane tickets to groceries. If there’s somewhere you shop a lot—download the app!

What about you guys? What are your favorite ways to save money? Leave yours in the comment section below! 

Doing Seattle Summer Right: 5 Ways To Rock With A Limited Budget

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Coming back home to Seattle has been pretty amazing, but the reality of moving back (or really, moving in general) is that it costs a lot of money. And, even though I am working, having to fit moving costs and living expenses etc. in definitely drains the “fun budget.” That being said, I’ve actually had such a busy social life since I’ve been back – the secret being that I haven’t spent $1 on any of my amusements. How have I done it!? Well a little bit of luck, a whole lot of crazy and some fun tricks I’m going to let you in on! Grab a notepad or iPhone or whatever it is kids are using these days, because some of these things I didn’t even know about before moving away. Ready? Okay, let’s go:

1. Volunteer: One of my favorite things to do is to volunteer at events. Not only do you generally get back stage access/get to meet the artists (how I met Mary Lambert!), but you also get to give back to your community! It’s a win-win, right!? I volunteer at the Fremont Abbey a lot and I absolutely love supporting such an amazing community of artists and musicians. Whether it’s working with the bar, the glam task of stacking chairs, or being a volunteer painter/artist during a show, there are always so many ways to help out! Oh! And volunteering = free entry to any show at the abbey.

2. Know your community: Along the same lines, there are some awesome community events in Seattle that are free. During the summer there are free outdoor movies in most neighborhoods, Shakespeare in the park, free museum days and all kinds of festivals with little to no cost. Don’t think that not having a huge budget means you have to sit in a corner all summer!

3. Check your assets: You might not even know what you have access to, but you might have freebies already! I’ve just taken to reading any and everything that comes into my hands and guess what!? I found some awesome events/passes through my local library and my bank (weird, right). If you bank with Bank of America, for instance, you can get a free pass to the Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and many others in cities other than Seattle.

4. Get to know people: We have a saying in our classroom that “It’s better to make friends than enemies. Because you never know what you’re missing out on with most people.” People in Seattle have some of the most eccentric tastes you could probably find and making friends is an awesome way of finding out about awesome things going on around Seattle that are fun, low budget and may be something you’ve never done before! This is how I’ve ended up at the semi final Women’s World Cup game, concerts and COMING SOON: hikes that are going to kick my ass (Paris has left me so out of shape it’s an actual tragedy). Don’t burn bridges – build them! (Another favorite is to join up with a Meetup group!)

5. Keep your eyes open: I do a lot of awesome things that are last minute and random and awesome, and the reason for that is because I love looking around reading signs, picking up fliers and going to things that might not be on my normal agenda. For example, I love going to pre-screenings of movies. And companies love me going to pre-screenings of movies. I’ve seen some great documentaries and movies (the last one being Inside Out) for absolutely free just because I picked up a flier that was “admit one” for a pre-screening. There are several spaces you can find tickets, but a good starting place is with Universal pictures, which does a lot of pre-screenings that you can sign up for notifications for (and usually you can bring a friend!).

Do you guys have any money saving tips for summer????