Where do you get money to travel? My damn self!

travel meme

Look there have definitely been times when my bank account has given me that response, but traveling requires creating a money goal and sticking to it. I can’t afford to travel on a last minute whim UNLESS I have already been setting money aside as a general traveling money goal. Because traveling has become a thing I enjoy in my late twenties, I always include a travel line in my monthly budget (or as I call it wealth management because the word budget makes me thing of money in a negative way).

I’ve written before about the wonders of using a spreadsheet and other visuals to keep track of your expenses and money goals so I would recommend you check that post out! For me traveling is a category I take into account every month when I plan out my wealth management. This does not mean that I am traveling each month, and it also does not mean that I am setting aside the same amount each month.

The point of budgeting is to be flexible based on the needs you are facingwhich for me means that sometimes I may not put much aside into my travel money goal because I have other priorities for that month. However, there is always something no matter how small that I have in that goal because it is something that I enjoy doing.

In addition to actively creating a money traveling goal, I recognize that my ability to travel is a privilege as well. I know that I do not live paycheck to paycheck. I used to, and during those days traveling was definitely not on my radar because I wasn’t sure how to do it. I am financially stable, even though sometimes I don’t feel like it. I also acknowledge that the only responsibilities I have are to myself and my two dogs, which means that I essentially only have to financially take care of myself (housing, etc.). I am certain that if I had children, my approach to saving for traveling would change and that is a challenge I may someday have to figure out.

Budgeting is about learning how to prioritize whatever is in your life at the moment.

I’m planning on writing a future post about executive functioning and budgeting, as it is hard to budget if we don’t first work on our executive functioning skills. Prioritizing is an executive functioning skill.

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Egypt (dream trip since I was a child). I didn’t decide on this trip until early March, and I was supposed to take the trip in mid May. I had some money already in my general traveling goal. As I mentioned before, I actively work on this goal each month because it is a priority I have made for myself. However, the amount I had already been setting aside wouldn’t be enough.  I essentially had two months to work on this money goal before the trip. I saved up the following toward that money goal:

March – $480
April – $545
+Amount I already had in my general traveling goal – $515
Total in this money goal – $1,540

That meant that $1,540 was my working budget for all of my Egypt expenses. This takes into account flights, lodging, travel size items and spending money while in Egypt.

How did I get this money?

  • Proactively setting money aside each month for travel, even if I didn’t know any specifics yet.
  • Cutting back on expenses during the months of March and April by doing small things, such as:
    • “Hay comida en casa” which translates to eating at home
    • Buying groceries the week of needing them. This helped me in terms of not tossing out as much that ends up spoiling because I somehow forget I won’t eat everything right away.
    • Driving less, which meant I wasn’t spending as much on gas.
    • Going out less.
    • Buying only things I really needed — no splurge purchases!

A key thing to take into account is to also be flexible even when you have your money goal set. In my case, I had to dip into my travel money goal amount for a work trip I had in late April. While some of the basics were covered by my job for this work trip, I had to cover a few other expenses myself with the possibility of not getting reimbursed for these expenses as I work for a non-profit. This meant my initial $1,540 went down, but that was OK because I re-calculated what I had to work with toward Egypt.

As with anything, if something is a priority that you want to save for, then you create a money goal and work towards it! Traveling is a priority for me, but as life comes and goes, that may change and I may find myself creating a money goal for something else that becomes important to me as a person.

If you want more tips on how to be cost effective when planning a trip, read my other post: Be Money Smart When You Travel. In the future, I plan on having specific posts that break down what trips to different places cost. Oftentimes I am googling like a madwoman trying to figure out how much money to save or take with me to certain destinations, so I figured I can’t be the only one that wishes more people would outline their expenses when they went on trips. I’m trying to look out for anyone who wants to be money smart when traveling!

What are some things you prioritize as money goals? Share below!


New Year, New Money Goals *uncensored*

This dog must be from some new money.

I hate making resolutions for the new year. Some people love them. I consider myself more so one of those people that decide if you really want to start something or change something then you should start right away rather than say in the new year. That is how I began my journey toward financial wellness. It could also be argued that it is the same way I began my financial misfortunes years before by saying, “CHARGE IT PLEASE, CHARGE ALL OF IT!”

However, when it came down to it I decided to take control of my financial misadventures by changing my own spending and money thinking habits. Sure, it took Capital One suing me to finally wake me the fuck up, but it was the middle of the year and rather than say, “NEXT YEAR THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT!” while blindly doing the same shit I was doing, I said “OK. LET’S DO SOMETHING NOW!”

Since then, I have been constantly wondering how else to challenge myself in meeting certain financial goals. Each month while deciding how to best balance my “wealth management” (a term I use to think of money in a positive manner rather than saying BUDGET, which has negative connotations to me) I try and determine what other goals I can be working on.

These aren’t new year’s resolutions because the other aspect of new year’s resolutions, which I hate is the idea that they are not malleable. Once you create them, people seem to be predestined to fail them if they don’t meet them fully. Goals on the other hand can be changed according to different circumstances.

With that here are a few of my money goals for the coming months:

  1. I received my first credit card since the whole bankruptcy ordeal. My goal is to use it each month to work on my credit utilization ratio and pay it off each due date. This will help me build my credit score back up.
  2. I will open an actual savings account separate from my current bank account. This will help me resist the urge to “borrow” from money I have set aside. I have no problem setting money aside, but then end up telling myself that I can always “borrow” from this money if I replenish it the following month. (We’ve established already that I get paid monthly.)
  3. I will actually use my gym membership so that the 10 bucks a month isn’t just going to waste. I’m holding myself accountable by signing up for running events, which means I have to hit the gym to train.

Of course, I can always modify these goals and expand on them as I see fit. I like goals that I can alter because no one likes to feel like they failed at something. When we change goals, though, we get to still be in control.

What are your current money goals?


Other Money Musings To Read This Week:

CHECK OUT Onicia Muller’s post on “How to Afford Hired Help When You’re a Struggling Artist?”  My girl breaks it down on how to be able to hire out on certain things, even if you’re working for ice cream money.