Friday, 20 May 2011

Saving for Travel: Seven Days to SE Asia

How to save money for that trip to an exotic locale?  Turns out you may not have to take a second job, sell your car and first-born child, or refinance the house after all.  Little things lead to big savings (big enough savings to afford to travel to places like SE Asia, that is).

The following is a hypothetical scenario.  I have tried to be conservative in my cost savings estimations and/or include a reputable source so you don't think I'm blowing smoke up your ass.

Seven Days to SE Asia

Monday:  Cancel the Cable

Come on now.  Most of the stuff on cable is crap anyway.  And if you really must watch that latest episode of America's Next Top Model you can do it for free online at sites like:

Average weekly savings:  $6.90
Average yearly savings:  $360

Source:  Comcast website
(Comcast advertises cable package of $29.99 per month for one year.)

Tuesday:  Quit Buying Extraneous Beverages

Banish Starbucks, bottled water, sports drinks and soda from your diet and you could save a bundle.  Instead of wasting precious travel money on extraneous beverages, invest in a water bottle and fill it up with the healthiest beverage of them all:  TAP WATER.  (Self-brewed coffee is pretty cheap, too).  I know, I know, it's a revolutionary concept...

Average weekly savings:  $10.50* 
Average yearly savings:  $546 

* Assuming you buy one Starbucks coffee (or other extraneous beverage) for $3.50, three times per week. (This is hypothetical.)

Nifty source for calculating self-brew vs. Starbucks coffee costs:

Wednesday:  Declare One Day Per Week a Car-Free Day

At least one day per week ditch the car.  Instead, use public transit, bike, or walk.  Your wallet will thank you, and so will the planet.

Average weekly savings:  $12.10
Average yearly savings: $629.10

Source:  CNNMoney article
(According to CNNMoney, the average American household spent $368.09 per month on retail gas in April 2011).

Thursday:  Be Energy Efficient

Turn down the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours per day (when you're at work, perhaps?).  According to the US Department of Energy, you can save 10% on your annual heating and cooling bill by doing this one, simple thing.

Average weekly savings:  $1.10
Average yearly savings:  $57.20 

US Department of Energy
US Energy Information Administration

Friday:  Drink at Home

It's Friday night.  Everyone is going out to get shit-faced at the local bar.  Why not buy a bottle of vino or a six-pack of beer and do the same...AT HOME.  And just to ensure that your social life doesn't come to a crashing halt, why not invite friends over?  There is a thing called potluck and BYOB, is there not?

Average weekly savings (hypothetical):  $5
Average yearly savings:  $260     

Saturday:  Dine In Not Out

Skip the restaurant and go to the grocery store.  Then whip up some restaurant-quality cuisine in your own kitchen.  Better yet, whip up a MASSIVE QUANTITY of restaurant-quality cuisine in your own kitchen and store the leftovers in the freezer.  You can eat those leftovers all week for lunch and dinner when you are starved for time and energy and Ronald McDonald is beckoning.  (Again, if you are concerned that your social life is going to suffer by eating a dinner or two at home, invite friends over for a potluck/BYOB extravaganza).  

Average weekly savings (hypothetical):  $10
Average yearly savings:  $520

Sunday:  Don't go to the Movies

Instead of going to the movie theatre today (or other money-sucking endeavor), take advantage of cheap DVD rentals through Netflix or Red Box (or engage in free forms of entertainment like cycling, people watching and picking your nose). 

Average weekly savings (hypothetical):  $5 
Average yearly savings:  $260

Travel Money Saved in One Year:


Cost of Travel to SE Asia (hypothetical):

Round-trip flight:  $1,700 
Daily Budget in SE Asia:  $40
Travel Insurance:  $300
Total Cost for 15-day trip:  $2,600

I hope that my mathematical demonstration has convinced you that international travel is not just for the wealthy.

Now get off your butt and start saving your loot!

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