How I Can Save For Travel

I'm not a fan of budgets. But sadly, I'm not a U.S. Congressman, so I keep to a budget both in life, and in travel. 

A few months ago I shared my "Dream big and scale back to reality" approach to budgeting for trips. This week, as part of Bootsnall's 2012 Indie Travel Challenge, we've be given a unique angle on the dreaded B-word... 

Find one major expense you could cut to help save for travel. 

This task proved harder than I originally thought, because for the most part I run a pretty lean financial ship. Outside of my fixed monthly expenses - mortgage, electric, etc - there are not many places that I spend loosely. Sure, we dine out or order in a few nights a week, but aside from that, travel is about the only place I spend money. Or so I thought....

One of these things is very expensive, is deeply intertwined in my daily life, and helps boost my efficiency at work a hundred fold. The other is my laptop... 

I am a full fledged junkie. 

It all started back in the mid-90s, when I was the only kid showing up to high school with an iced coffee every morning. Coffee wasn't cool yet in those days, but I like to think I made it cool. OK, we all know that is a huge stretch of the imagination, but humor me will you?

What I didn't realize back then - and still don't like to think about - is the financial impact of my coffee habit. I estimate that I spend between $75 and $100 a month at Starbucks and other establishments, on top of the $25 I spend to keep my Keurig in good supply. That's about $1500 a year for coffee. Multiply that by 15 years and you're starting to talk real money. Money that would bring more long term satisfaction if the end result were travel memories, as opposed to, well...urine.

So what am I going to do about it?

The solution which would have the biggest impact on my coffee expense would be to brew an extra cup at home and bring it to work. Most of my trips to the coffee shop occur on my lunch break, and since I only drink my coffee cold, having an extra cup in the fridge would save about $50-$75 a month. Over a years time, that's a nice weekend getaway. Do I think I can actually pull it off?....

Not in a million years.

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~ 



  1. Good luck! I too struggle with the concept of budgets and cutting out things for travel. I want to enjoy my day to day life when I'm not on the road. You clearly enjoy your coffee, but sacrificing something you clearly enjoy for a whole year for maybe a weekend of fun seems like an unfair trade. Since you eat out, why not try one of those restaurant coupon books for your city? Or renegotiate your car/rental/property insurance policy to get rid of unnecessary coverage. Ramit Sethi has some great posts on the psychology of money and tips for saving vs earning more.

  2. Definitely good ideas April...I might have to give those a try!:)

  3. Hear, hear! After reading an article a few years back about millionaires who pinched their pennies by packing bag lunches, brewing instant coffee, reusing wrapping paper, etc., it struck me that making small changes to regular routines can save real money over time. And some of this real money can be used to travel...and make big changes to our regular routines. :)

  4. I know there is tons to be saved...It's just hard to stick to those changes. Heading up to Starbucks sounds so much better than a home brewed cup that's been sitting in the fridge for 8 hours:)

  5. Come to Canada and I'll buy you a Starbucks. Problem solved!

  6. We did have the same one!  Coffee is killer.  Good luck! :)

  7. Curious...How much is a Venti Ice Coffee in Canada Steve?

  8. I promise I didn't mean to be a copycat:) Yeah, coffee is a killer. But like polar bears, I love it anyway...

  9. Go on - try it! Buy a money box, and put in your money every day that you would normally spend on Coffee - once the money tin is full, then you can take it to the bank and treat you and your family for a weekend away!!!

  10. Homebrew, as much as you hate it. We ended up doing that because Shaun's bro had stopped working at Starbucks and I started PAYING for coffee there without realizing how much it was adding up.

    That and I'm hauling around a 6 year old Macintosh instead of buying new. Not that I EVER suggest it for anyone.

  11. Problem is Lisa, I don't use cash! I used my debit card to buy a $1.29 carton of milk this morning:)

  12. I went through a similar coming to reality a few years ago. I worked in a hotel that had a Starbucks, and they gave it to me free nearly every day. When I had to start paying for it, I cut back big time. That, of course, has worn off over time...


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