The Budget: A Traveler's Best Friend

I'm occasionally asked "How can you afford to travel so much?" And I always answer it the same way: I budget. Budgeting is the difference between letting your money leak out of your account and knowing exactly where every dollar goes, every single month. Your budget will be your best ally in your travels around the world.

Budget your way to Buckingham Palace!

Budget your way to Buckingham Palace!

I think most people consider looking at their online bank account "budgeting." That my friends is what I like to call tracking, not budgeting. You can keep trying to convince yourself it works for you, but it doesn't. Budgeting is when you make a conscious effort to modify your spending habits. You've got to be willing to change what you do in order to achieve your version of financial success.

I use the app Pocket Expense to track everything I spend. If you've ever seen me buy anything you know the first thing I do after swiping my credit card is log that purchase in my phone. I can pick what category each purchase goes into and Pocket Expense will keep track of how much I'm spending each month.

If you're just getting started, I suggest you download the Pocket Expense app and start tracking EVERY purchase you make. I think you'll be surprised at how much you spend going out to dinner (especially if you have a girlfriend) and other forms of fleeting entertainment. 

After you've figured out how to track your spending habits, it's your job to change them. If you truly want to travel, let your spending habits reflect that. Cut out all of the bull shit you spend your money on each month and put it towards a plane ticket.

Let's take a look at my hypothetical character, Joey Drinksalot. Joey just started tracking all of his purchases and realized he spends over $300 a month going out to the bars! Joey decides he'd rather travel, so he lowers his drinking budget to $100 a month and stashes the other $200 away for a plane ticket.

Now, let's look at Joey's step sister, Suzy Eatsalot. Suzy like's to go out to eat a lot, but didn't realize she spends over $500 a month eating out until she started tracking it. Suzy decides to cut down on the taco Tuesday's and only spend $200 a month eating out. Now Suzy Eatsalot can put an extra $300 a month towards her travel fund.

At the end of the day, it comes down to how bad you want to do something. If you don't want to travel bad enough to change your spending habits, you never will.

The best part about budgeting is that no two budgets are the same. You can still spend money on stuff you love like shopping or going out with friends, but just be aware of how much that's costing you. Don't let the money just drain out of your account unconsciously until there's nothing left. 

All-In-All

Don't wait to start budgeting until tomorrow. Start tracking today and you'll be surprised at how quick you can save up for your next getaway!