Do you have a thirst for adventure, but an empty wallet? Welcome to the club—so do millions of young people. Young adults are at the best time in our lives to see the world, but for so many of us, it seems impossible. With the wide availability of internet shopping, rising rent and house prices, the expense of higher education, and all the fun entertainment opportunities presented to us, it’s harder than ever to save money. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds to spend your youth wandering and expanding your frontiers. I’ve come up with some effective ways to save money to reel in my overspending, but I’m still tempted all the time to waste money instead of saving up for an experience that could be life-changing. I’ve traveled a fair bit to Europe and Central America, and I plan to eventually see the rest of the world. Check out 7 Things to Do While Traveling That’ll Open Your Mind for more reasons to save up. Here’s how I’m going to do it—and here’s how you can too.
1. Use a savings account!
Out of all the ways to save money I describe here, putting your money in a savings account is the one that will yield the best long-term benefits. Saving helps me resist the temptation to splurge on expensive dinners with friends or those adorable shelf knick-knacks in store windows. It’s up to you how much you choose to save out of what you make, but at least 10% of your income is a good way to start. Think of it like you’re starting to cut out unhealthy foods from your diet. If you quit pizza and chocolate and potato chips cold turkey right away, you’ll be extra tempted to binge. Start your new saving plan out by putting 10% of what you make into a savings account, and never spending what’s in it on anything unnecessary. If this works for you, think about increasing the amount you put into savings. Soon enough, you’ll have enough to treat yourself to a well-deserved vacation somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Isn’t that worth it?
2. Decide on a budget.
You’ll save a ton of the money in your chequing account if you put a cap on how much you spend. You won’t buy anything without really thinking it over, and that’s a good thing! Budgeting is one of the tried-and-true ways to save money. Going back to the diet analogy—sticking to a budget is a little bit like keeping a food journal. A food journal keeps you very aware of what you’re eating, and psychologically that helps you make healthier choices. Choose a budget that will allow you to save a bit of extra money, but will still let you live comfortably. You’ll have the best of both worlds! Put yourself in control of your spending instead of letting your impulses decide things for you. You’ll be much happier with your life.
3. Think about ways to decrease your spending when you travel.
You’ll be able to travel much more often if you limit the luxuries you indulge in while abroad. You don’t really need to stay at a 5-star hotel, or dine at all the best restaurants, or Uber everywhere. Often, the options that cost less will yield better and more memorable experiences! Of course you should treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if one arises. Absolutely eat pizza at a beautiful Italian restaurant or visit a beautiful French vineyard if you get the chance! But traveling doesn’t have to be all about the finer things, and frugality is one of the more fun ways to save money. You can spend your days walking everywhere and really taking in the sights. Maybe you’ll opt to stay in a hostel and get to know fellow travellers. Or you can discover incredible hole-in-the-wall restaurants with authentic food you can’t get anywhere else. (There’s one on the shore in the middle of Honduras’ mangrove forests, if you ever find yourself there.) Make an effort to be a little more conscious of your spending, and you’ll get to have many more travel experiences than you otherwise would.
4. Plan your own route.
Tours will take you through all the sights there are to see, and they can certainly be fun. However, they’re expensive—and often more bland than you expect. There are guaranteed to be a few stops on the tour that bore you. That’s your valuable time and money at waste! So decide where you really want to go, read up on it for interesting facts (the Internet will tell you more than a tour guide ever could), and head there on your own. You could take this even further, too! if you’re into hiking, grab your gear and a good-sized backpack and traverse the terrain. If the weather’s warm enough where you’re headed, bring a tent along—it’s cheaper than a hotel! (Of course, you should do research and make sure the area is safe for hikers first.) You’re guaranteed to find beauty in nature—it’s everywhere when you know where to look.
Every young adult out there should seize the opportunity to see the world while still uninhibited, unattached, and brimming with curiosity. I hope that these four ways to save money provide you with the ideas and inspiration necessary to make it happen, no matter how impossible it seemed among the financial woes you may be facing. With a little motivation and a lot of determination, you can absolutely make it happen. Go out into the world, make memories, and embrace life in all its new, fascinating glory.