50+ Ways to Save and Earn Money for Travel
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Would you like to travel more frequently but find yourself short on money? In this article I’ll present you with some ways to save and some ways to earn additional money so you can travel more. I spit the article into two sections: saving money, and earning money.
Without further ado, here are 50+ ways to save and earn money for travel:
1. Manage your emotions
First things first, before making any financial adjustments, you have to get in control of your emotions. Most of our unnecessary purchases are driven by emotions, and if you can’t control the emotions you can’t control the spending. Think of your last few purchases. Why did you buy the things you bought? Did you really NEED everything you bought? What can you do to cut back on unnecessary spending? What hobbies/ activities can you adopt that will leave you feeling fulfilled and deter you from going shopping?
2. Track your spendings
Always keep an eye on where your money goes. To do so, I like to use the free Keynote app that came with my mac and iPhone. But you can use anything from a notes app on your phone, to pen and paper. This step will allow you to evaluate the situation you’re in and begin making positive changes.
3. Reduce your shopping
Now that you are managing your emotions and know where your money is going, can you make any changes? Are there any expenses you could live without? You could probably survive without buying new accessories or jewellery. If your clothes aren’t worn out, you could probably continue wearing the ones you already have. The same thing goes for decor items, kitchen gadgets, new technology, makeup and cosmetics.
4. Make it more difficult to spend
Delete your credit card information from all websites. The time it will take you to manually enter the credit card number might give you enough time to reconsider your next purchase. And if you’re lazy (like me) you may simply choose not to buy just because you can’t be bothered to enter your card number. This will help you cut back on impulse purchases.
5. Cut/ reduce your subscriptions
Entertainment is important. We all need to unwind from time to time. But do you really need all streaming platforms? Can you downsize to just one? Other that Adobe cloud (which I use for work) I don’t have any subscriptions. I use my free public library card to borrow movies on DVD. Additionally, my library card also gives me free access to a few streaming websites where I can watch 10 movies per month. Visit your local library and see what perks they have. Maybe you too could eliminate your subscriptions.
6. Cut your cable
If you still have a cable, consider axing it. Did you know that most of your local TV channels are streaming for free (with ads) on their websites? You can watch movies, shows, news, and more.
7. Cut your landline
I eliminated my landline 2 years ago. It was only $30 per month but I realized I wasn’t using it much. The only calls I ever received were telemarketers. Besides, I need to have a cellphone and I keep it on me all the time. So why would I need for a landline anymore? That’s a $360 saving per year, enough to cover your dining out expenses during a short trip.
8. Switch your cellphone plan for a prepaid SIM
By replacing my monthly plan with a prepaid SIM card I went from paying $70 to less than $20 per month! That’s a savings of $600! And best of all, I’m no longer tied in any contracts/ agreements. If you want to read more details about this, take a look at my previous article, How to Save Money for Travel Guide.
9. Lower/ eliminate banking fees
I pay no banking fees because I have a credit card and a savings account with a minimum deposit with the same bank. Most (if not all) banks have some requirements that, if fulfilled, allow you to pay no monthly banking fees. Contact your bank for more info. And on that note, don’t be afraid to switch banks if there are better offers elsewhere. Some of them even give you money when you open an account and make a specific deposit.
10. Quit the gym
This has never been an expense for me because I hate going to the gym. You couldn’t pay me to go. But that doesn’t mean I don’t exercise. I live quite centrally in my city and I go for walks everyday. It is quite therapeutic and a great way to stay in shape as it’s easier on your joints than running. I also like to climb stairs, stretch, do some yoga, and strength exercises at home. There are plenty of free workout videos on Youtube, and some of them don’t even require any equipment! Just use your own body weight.
11. Make your coffee
These days coffee is quite expensive. I don’t know a single place where a cup of coffee costs less than $5. And if you (like me) like to have multiple cups of coffee per day, costs add up quickly! Instead, make your own coffee at home and save hundreds of dollars each year. That being said, don’t use this as an excuse to splurge on countless coffee mugs. I personally don’t even use a travel mug anymore, I just pour my coffee in a water bottle.
12. Cook at home
On that note, cooking at home will also save you money. Spending just $10 per day on dining out will cost you $3,650 in one year! That money could be used to fund a one week vacation somewhere nice. Preparing all meals at home is a simple way to save a lot of money. And if you aren’t very good at cooking don’t fret, sandwiches, salads, soups, or stews are very easy to make. Stews in particular are a great, healthy dish to make that allow you to utilize all your ingredients. They also freeze quite well, and this brings me to the next point.
13. Always have something to eat in your freezer
Life gets in the way and you don’t always have the time to cook a meal. For that reason, I always keep something to eat in the freezer. If I get caught up with something at work and I won’t have the time or energy to cook, I’ll just grab something from my freezer. No need to buy anything. This saves me so much money from unplanned takeaway meals.
14. Shop for groceries often
Instead of having a fixed weekly meal plan and buying all the ingredients once a week (like many financial gurus say you should do), I shop every 2-3 days. I buy what is currently on sale and make it work with what I already have at home. At any given time, I only have a small quantity of perishable groceries at home. The benefit of doing this is that I always know what I have at home, and nothing goes to waste. When you have a fridge full of food, some things get pushed to the back, you forget about them, and they go bad.
15. Invent your own recipes
I rarely follow any recipes, and that’s because I find it wasteful to go out and buy specific ingredients to make just one recipe, only to never use some of those ingredients again. However, I do look at recipes for inspiration. I just adapt them to the ingredients I already have.
16. Buy generic
Did you know that most generic (store label) products are made in the same facility as the brand name products? Next time you’re at a store, compare a generic and a brand name product. Say a chocolate bar. Both of them will probably be made in the same country, contain the same ingredients, and have the same nutritional value. And if you buy them both, they will taste the same because they are the same! Typically, each generic product will give you a few cents in savings, but over time it will add up.
17. Attend free events
Most cities have free events and/ or free entry nights at the museum(s). Take a look at your city’s website and your local museums’s websites to see what is free and when.
18. Consider moving
If you work downtown and live in a suburb, have you considered moving downtown? In most cities, rents are more expensive downtown, but the overall cost of living might actually be lower. If everything is within walking distance, and you can get rid of your car, you may end up saving money despite paying more in rent. Not only that, but you will also save lots of time on your commute, which will allow you to cook your own meals, and take up money-making hobbies.
19. Switch your insurance
Call your insurance company and ask for a better rate. If they won’t give you any discounts, shop around. Most companies will offer signup bonuses and/ or discounts to new customers. Don’t be afraid to move to a different company.
20. Ditch your car
If there are public transit options available, consider getting rid of your car. Not only do cars require a lot of maintenance, but they are so costly. Think about it, you need insurance, gas, oil changes, whipper blades, tires, new parts once in a while, and in the event of an accident you’ll have to pay a deductible before you can get it fixed. You could save thousands of dollars and your sanity by getting rid of the car.
21. Sign up for new rewards
Some banks offer monetary rewards for opening a new account and fulfilling a few criteria. Some require you switch your payroll over to them, others require a minimum deposit. Most banks offer a few hundred dollars sign up bonus. Take a look at your local banks and see what promotions they have. If they’re willing to give you free money, why not take advantage of that. Just make sure to fulfill the requirements for paying no monthly fees. And on that note, take a look at what rewards programs your local stores (in particular grocery stores) have. Beware not to use the rewards program(s) as an excuse to spend extra money!
22. Use a cash back credit card
I only have one credit card, and I’ve had it since I was a student. It offers 2% cash back on gas and groceries, and 1% cash back on everything else. It’s not fantastic, but it comes with zero fees. I use it for all my expenses and pay it back as soon as possible. Every year I get back $50-100. It’s even better if you can pay your rent by credit card. A 1% cash back on $1,000 monthly rent gives you a $120 refund per year! And that’s just on rent alone. Again, keep yourself accountable so you don’t use this as an excuse to spend more money.
23. Find alternatives to going out
Spending time with loved ones is essential, but spending a lot of money isn’t. Think of fun activities you could do together that doesn’t involve spending money. You could for example have a potluck, game night in and ask everyone to bring some snacks, meet up for a barbecue in the park and everyone brings something. I personally like to meet a friend or two and go for long walks along the river valley in my city. Great for the body, mind, soul, and entirely free of charge.
24. Learn to sew
Don’t throw away clothing for minor issues such as missing buttons or loose seams. Learn to sew to make the most of the clothing you already have, and save a bit of cash.
25. Prioritize your health
Make sure you eat well, exercise, go outside in nature and allow your eyes to recover after spending hours in front of a screen, brush and floss your teeth. If you’re healthy, these steps won’t save you much money immediately. However, in the long run, the cost of prescription glasses and medications, as well as dental procedures can really add up. So look after yourself now to save in the long run.
26. Consider volunteering
Volunteering your time is a great way to meet people and have a nice time without spending money. Sometimes volunteering also comes with a few extra perks. Volunteers at some festivals get free access to the event and/ or free food and drinks. Take a look at the events taking place in your community, and see if they need volunteers.
27. Unplug devices that are not in use
Just because your TV is turned off doesn’t mean it’s not using electricity. Everything that is plugged in is draining electricity, regardless if in use or not. When devices are not in use they don’t consume a lot of electricity, but it can add up over time. *For safety reasons, it is also a good idea to unplug everything before going away for an extended period of time.
28. Turn the lights off
And on that note, turn the lights off in the room when you’re not there. The savings will be very noticeable if you live in a large house, or in a location where electricity is expensive.
29. Shop around and try coupons
If you need to buy something, take a look at all the stores where that item is available. See if you can find any coupons. If you are shopping online, there are extensions you can install on your browser (such as Honey) that automatically find coupons and discount codes for you.
30. Purchase discounted gift cards
For the items you absolutely need to buy, consider buying a discounted gift card from a website like cardpool. The gift card could also make a great gift for someone’s birthday/ special event. Likewise if you receive any gift cards you know you won’t use, you could sell them on cardpool and get some cash for them.
31. Put your money in a high interest savings account
If you’re planning to travel (or need the money) soon, keep your savings in a high interest account. Look around and see what options you can find. Personally I find that online banks offer much higher interest that traditional ones. I have an account with a big bank, and a savings account with an online bank.
32. Lend out your money
And if you don’t need you money soon, you can try peer to peer lending. There are platforms out there you can use to lend out your money and receive interest payments, which exceeds what banks offer you on your savings account. There are platforms out there that allow you to invest as little as $10, while others require a minimum of $100 or even $1,000. And if a borrower is unable to pay back, these platforms also have collection agencies to recover your money.
33. Learn about investing
No that note, I also recommend educating yourself about investing into the stock market. Reinvest any dividends you receive and have your money work for you. There are countless Youtube videos out there you can learn from.
34. Sell your things
Walk around you home and make note of the things you haven’t used in a while. Do you really need them, or can you sell them? Are there any things that you still use but could go without? Recently I sold my scanner. I only ever used it to scan documents and I realized that I could just lay them on a white surface and take a picture with my phone. Now I wish I hadn’t bought that scanner in the first place.
35. Sell templates online
Resume templates, book template, social media templates are in high demand. Many bloggers use Pinterest religiously to promote their articles. However, a lot of them either don’t have the design skill or the time to make good-looking pins, and will resort to buying templates. That’s where you can help. You can make templates in software such as photoshop, affinity, keynote, or powerpoint. In addition you can also use online tools like Canva or Google Slides.
Platforms to sell templates include:
- Creative Market
- Creative Fabrica
- Design Bundles
36. Sell printables and/ or digital planners
This is something that I’m doing and I love it. You can sell anything from from printable blood glucose trackers, to digital planners for students, to finance trackers and more. As with the templates mentioned above, you only need simple software to make printables/ digital planners. And if you don’t know how to make them, there are multiple Youtube tutorials you could watch.
The best thing about printables and (undated) digital planners is that you only need to make them once but you can sell them for years to come. Additionally you can also sell the same product on multiple platforms at once.
37. Sell your pictures
Do you have any travel photos you took that you like? Then you could consider selling them for extra money.
You can sell them as stock images to be used for commercial or editorial purposes. Some platforms include:
- Adobe Stock
- Creative Market
Most of these micro stock platforms are non-exclusive, meaning that you can upload the same photo to multiple websites.
Additionally, you can also sell the images as POD (print on demand). There are a couple platforms you can use:
- Fine Art America
- Etsy with a POD integration
When you upload your image to one of these sites, your image will be printed on an item such as t-shirt, mug, notebook, and more. Once a customer makes a purchase, the company creates and ships the item, and you earn a royalty. As with the micro stock platforms, you can also upload the same image on multiple POD websites.
Note if your images contain faces of people or names of businesses, you cannot sell them commercially. This means you cannot upload them as commercial images to stock websites or on POD platforms. However you can still sell them as editorial images on stock platforms.
38. Sell your art
Do you like to paint, draw or sketch? As with images, you can also sell art. You can sell it as both stock and POD on the websites mentioned above. Your art can create your art both physically or digitally, though it’s easier digitally. With physical art you have to scan it before you can upload and sell it.
39. Shoot and sell clips
Although more challenging and time-consuming to shoot than pictures, videos can earn you significantly more money. Beware that some platforms require you remove the sound before uploading your clips. Shoot anything from sunset/ sunrise, traffic, protests, wildlife, and more.
You can sell your videos on most stock photography websites.
40. Sell music and sound effects
While stock photography has had a low entry barrier for a long time, stock audio has been more challenging. Today, there are all sorts of website such as Epidemic Sound which make it easier for artists to license both vocal and instrumental music, as well as sound effects. Thanks to the increase popularity of video content across all social media platforms, royalty free music and sounds are in high demand. However, there are way fewer contributors compared to stock photography which means higher earning potentials for you.
41. Stream music
Furthermore, if you don’t licence your music exclusively, you can also stream it. You can upload it to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as to Youtube.
42. Sell your notes
This one’s a great side hustle for students, recent grads, and tutors. Take your class notes, simplify and organize them neatly and include any illustrations you drew that helped you understand the concept. Make sure that everything is written in your OWN words.
You can sell your notes on platforms like Etsy and Amazon KDP.
43. Write your story on Medium
Medium is a platform where readers pay 5 USD per month to read unlimited ad-free articles. Anyone can publish a variety of written content. Some popular categories are technology, psychology, finance, as well as stories (personal and fictional) and poetry. You can even write about your travel experiences, life lessons, and anything that you’re interested in. Top writers on Medium can make upwards of 10K per month!
44. Purchase collectibles at yard sales to resell
If you like to stroll around and shop, this may be a good option for you. Regardless if you’re buying antique lamps or action figure toys, you will need to have some knowledge on the value and demand of these items. You can resell these items on platforms like Etsy and eBay.
45. Rent your home when you’re away
To do so you can use platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. You can also hire a manager to deal with the bookings, cleaning, answer questions, and more.
Additionally, if you live in an area frequently visited by tourists and have an extra room, you can rent it out short term. It will allow you to earn more money than you would renting it out to a roommate long term.
And another thing you could do is to rent your home on Airbnb and Vrbo, while you move into a cheaper home. As long as your profit exceeds your new rent, you are making extra money.
46. Rent your equipment
If you have any tools you’re not using frequently but don’t want to sell them, you can try renting them out. Use an app like ToolRent to rent out your equipment. This may be a great way to test the waters for those of you who would like to rent out your house or car in the future but feel intimidated by the process.
47. Become a local tour guide
Do you live in an interesting place and enjoy talking to people? Then you could consider becoming a tour guide. You can set up an experience on a platform like airbnb, or get your guide. Some tours you could do include ghost tours, instagrammable places, photography walks, and more.
Regardless of the skills you have, you can try freelancing for extra money. On platforms like fiver or upwork there are business owners who are constantly looking for someone to help them with tasks like: bookkeeping, social media management, content creation, copywriting, photography, website building, and more.
Alternatively you can also write articles and pitch them to magazines and publications. If accepted, they will pay you when they publish your article.
49. Start a website
A website can be a fantastic way to fund your travel experiences. There are people out there making millions with their website(s)/ blog(s). That being said, this is a long-term plan. Those who are successful spent years of hard and consistent work before they started earning significant incomes. But once you get there, maintaining a website only requires a few hours of work per week. This can allow you to travel endlessly, while continuing to earn an income.
Some types of website(s)/ blog(s) you may start include:
- travel guides
- fashion and beauty
- helpful content (how to do things around the house, start a business, take good pictures, etc)
And if you’re wondering, some ways through which websites earn money include:
- display ads
- affiliate links
- selling your own product (either physical or digital)
- getting discovered and writing for publications or licensing your content
50. Sell a website
Moreover, if you start a website and find out you really dislike working on it, you can sell it! Even if you only have a handful of articles published, you can sell the website and get some money for the work you already did.
Additionally, you can also start websites with the sole intention of selling them. Write a couple of articles, wait for them to index and generate traffic, then sell the website. You can do this with multiple websites at a time. Make sure you are creating websites on topics that are in-demand and there isn’t too much competition.
51. Write a book
On the other hand, if you really like writing, you could write a book. Platforms like Amazon KDP, Lulu, and Kobo make it very easy to publish your book and distribute it to multiple marketplaces.
When writing the book, you can write about your life lessons, experiences, or simply how to do useful things. For example you can create a book about unclogging sinks and other handy things around the house. If there is demand and low competition, your book will sell. However, if you’re writing about yourself or high competition topics, you will have to put a lot of energy into promoting the book.
52. Start a Youtube channel
If writing is not for you, perhaps you may enjoy filming videos. And if you don’t want to be in front of the camera, don’t worry! Your Youtube channel doesn’t have to include you. You can simply film your travel experiences and add voiceover to narrate. Or you could create videos like no voice ASMR where you’re just tapping on surfaces, painting, or doing other relaxing things.
Some ways to monetize a Youtube channel include:
- Google adsense
- affiliate links in the description
- selling merch via POD platforms like Teespring
- selling your own products
53. Start a small business
And lastly, you may consider starting a business. I kept this for last because there are multiple types of businesses you could start.
Firstly, there are service businesses. If you have access to some basic tools, you can start a business mowing lawns, shovelling snow, collecting leaves, hanging lights, painting, and more. These gigs pay much better than freelancing, but your earning potential is limited to the neighbourhood/ city and the number of hours you have available to dedicate to the business. On the plus side you don’t have to spend a lot of money upfront.
On the other hand you can start a product business. If you go this route you can either make the product yourself, buy wholesale, or find a manufacturer to make you a custom product. Additionally you can also choose to store the inventory ship the items yourself, or pay for a company handle that on your behalf. The best thing about starting this kind of business is that it can become very passive down the line and the earning potential can be infinite. Additionally, you can easily sell the business later if you get tired of it. On the downside, you are required to spend money upfront to pay for inventory, packaging materials, and shipping costs.
There you have it! These have been my 50+ ways to save and earn money for travel.