Feet to move, places to roam
I just returned home from a very brief trip roaming around Alberta, Canada, the last for four days. In the span of a Monday-Thursday trip visiting a girlfriend who lives in the area, I spent time in Edmonton, Calgary and Banff all of which were a breath of fresh air in a different location that is different from home. Not to mention, this mini vacation was a relaxing way to wind down after a month of cramming for final exams, than stressing over final marks to be posted from the semester that has just concluded. Although I was only gone for four days and remained in the country, travelling is travelling no matter where you are headed. I still had to pay for flights, accommodation in Banff, food, etc. Eventually, the visa bill adds up one way or another. However, I have decided within the next three months to save every dime I can in order to make it to Europe by the start of August. How do I set off on a new adventure every few months? This is how:
I trade nights out at the local bar for nights out abroad: I have been legal in Canada for four years now which means in Winnipeg I have been exposed to almost everywhere that can be considered “fun”. I grew out of the bar scene awhile ago when I realized every weekend was basically routine and predicable. You pay for your $15 bottle of alcohol, a $10 cab ride to the bar if you are splitting it among friends, a cab ride home, cover to get into the bar and so on; by the end of the night you are probably spending close to $50 or more depending on the evening or how well you can spend/save money. That is money I can put towards a flight, a meal, an attraction abroad, or a new experience somewhere I have never been before. Once I stopped going out every single weekend, I noticed how much money I was saving and how much it actually made a difference. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the bar, but going constantly is not necessary.
I don’t have my own car or live alone: Once I was talking to a friend who lives on his own in an apartment, owns his own car and has to buy groceries every week; this made me realize how much money I save by not having any of that. I am a university student and still live at home with my family; the rule in my family is that as long as I am attending university, I don’t have to pay rent, I am very lucky. This also equals to home cooked meals and me not having to buy my own groceries for meals; there goes another couple $100 a month I don’t end up spending unless I eat out at restaurants which I obviously pay for myself. I also do not have my own car; which means I do not pay for car insurance, gas, car washes and other necessities for a vehicle, I take the bus to and from school or car pool with others which saves me a lot of money. Until I feel I absolutely need a car (and sure it would be way more convenient than public transit), I would rather travel than drop a bundle on a vehicle. By living at home, I don’t pay for rent or utilities which I would have to pay for in an apartment, I save a decent chuck of cash by avoiding all of these.
My tuition is taken care of: As soon as I was born, my parents started saving money for my post secondary education which they knew one day I would be attending. My Education degree is a total of 6 years to complete in Winnipeg which you can probably imagine by the end totals a decent amount. I still contribute by buying my own textbooks and supplies that are needed for all my courses, but I am not complaining because in the end I am still very fortunate for it all.
Who really works just one job anymore?: The last time I worked only one job was four years ago when I was 18, I am 21 now and have constantly always been employed at 2 or more places; I somehow make it work with my crazy schedule. I used to go shopping bi-weekly and have finally learned to cut back. I thought for the longest time that “Oh, I have money, might as well spend it” so I would, on clothes, eating out for lunches and dinner or just because I could. I am still guilty of going out for drinks and meals often, but realized I can eat at home or I think twice before buying clothes that I don’t really need. I work 2 jobs because I want to travel, not because the cheeseburger on the menu looks tasty, so why buy it?
I am a student: Despite how much I actually complain about school, being a student does have its perks. I am a full time student which means from Monday-Friday I am situated in lecture halls and attending classes from the hours of 9-4, eventually heading home then usually staying in for the remainder of the evening. I buy snacks and Starbucks every so often, however the more time I spend at school, the library, home or studying is less time I am tempted to go out and spend money. Another convenience to being a university student is that classes for the year end in April unless you are continuing your studies throughout Spring and Summer, either way you have 2-4 months to save money for travel or whatever you fancy doing with your vacation time.
These are just ways I save my money faster than other travelers or what works for me, everyone is different! If you have any tips or suggestions on how you do it, I would love to hear from you!