How To Get Away With Finally Building an Emergency Fund – A Rookie’s Guide

Why does saving money have to be this hard?

At least that’s what you’re probably thinking as you stare at your dry savings account in the bank, yeah?

Like most, you’ve tried to do the whole emergency fund thing but a pimp has responsibilities man.

Car payments. Vacations. Running from Sallie Mae on the regular.

So although you have the best intentions possible to start putting money to the side, you’re dead set on the belief that it isn’t possible.

Or is it?

Here are the facts.

Why You Can’t Keep A Savings To SAVE Your Life

If an emergency happened to you right this second (such as a car wreck, ER visit, pipe burst in your bathroom) could you pay for it without borrowing it?

If you said no, you are probably shaking your head with the majority of Americans who don’t have at least $500 in savings. 6 out of 10 people to be exact.

Don’t feel bad though, I was there too.

In fact, I had no idea about an emergency fund at all. I could barely scrape by as it was so if I got any extra money I immediately rewarded myself.

emergency fund

But in Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and reading other articles, I learned that in order to get your debt in formation, you must stack up a savings account first.

Why?

Because if an emergency were to happen and you didn’t have the money, you would run right back to the credit cards and loans to cover your expenses.

We do this all the time. That’s the missing link. That’s the reason we keep running on the hamster wheel.

But wait, what qualifies as a financial emergency? Glad you asked.

emergency fund

 

I believe that a savings can give you cushion, more peace, and a closer step to freedom in your finances and  post-grad life.

A savings has allowed my friend Robert to prepare to leave his full time job for his dream of DJing. It has brought crazy focus to my sorority sister Bry as she plans to get her own apartment. It covered ME when I got in a car wreck last month and was able to pay for repairs without stress.

If you just committed a month to saving an emergency fund, you would be amazed at how quickly you could do it.

Wanna try?

7 Fast Tips To Jumpstart Your Journey to A Poppin Savings Account

So if you’re still with me, I’m assuming you’re ready to do this thing.

You’re tired of have stone cold panic attacks when the unexpected happens. Like Jay-Z’s tour going on sale. I kid. Kind of.

These steps aren’t just for saving for the rainy days either. I challenge you to try these hacks for other savings goals like a car, vacation, leaving your job to start a business; the possibilities are endless.

We are ready for freedom. To not feel guilty when we spend money or avoid our account for DAYS because we know we just went ham with the credit card.

Most advise to save at least 6 months of mula. And trust, I will help get us there.

But if you have no savings or fairly little right now, I am going to challenge you to make $1,000 your savings goal. My little tricks below will help you get there faster:

Set The Target

This seems like common sense but many people can’t save because they honestly don’t know how much to put aside. Many financial advisers suggest at least 10-20% of your income.

WHY: Having a goal will set the intention and keep you focused when you rather just spend it on that product ad you saw on Youtube.

STEP IT UP: Below are questions that can help get you thinking about what you really want to accomplish.

  • What is my savings goal?
  • When do I want to have it by?
  • How will this goal be good for my life?

Now with your answers, create a mission statement that you can use when you start slippin. EX: My savings goal is to save $1,000 in 3 months. This will allow me to establish an emergency fund that will give me cushion to focus on other debt.

Keep your mission close to you in challenging times.

Make It Effortless

 We often struggle with saving because we think way too much into it. Once you have a set goal on how much you are saving, take a percentage of your check and automate it into your account.

WHY: You’ll be saving in your sleep. Automation allows you to transfer a small amount of money from your check each pay period without thinking about it. You won’t have time to talk yourself out of transferring the funds that you high key want to use on some new shoes.

You can contact your job’s human resource department or go online where pay stubs are managed to allocate the expense.

STEP IT UP: Do you tend to dip into your savings a lot? Create two accounts. One will be for bills and savings ONLY. The other will be your budgeted play money. If you have a card just for vacations, outings, shopping, etc, you will be less tempted to spend your savings because it’s more work to get to it.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The biggest enemies of my wallet are sales. If I see a good deal, I am automatically liable to hop on that mug whether I have the money or not. Avoid sales as much as you can.

WHY:  While we think we are getting good deals when we see the buy 2 get 1 free sale, you are actually spending even more money. You didn’t need two items. But oftentimes we use the “this is such a great deal, I HAVE to buy” as an excuse to purchase. Contrary to popular belief, deals will literally always come and go. ONLY seek them out when you have something specific in mind.

STEP IT UP: It’s time to clean house. Go through your emails and unsubscribe from all the stores and companies that send you deals and sale ads to your inbox. Online shopping has become the enemy because we don’t even have to make an effort to put on pants.

Get them out of your sight and you won’t think about it as much.

Spend More

You’re probably thinking like what? I thought we were saving?  A lot of our issue is that we are spending money left and right on things that bring no joy to us.

Did we really have to go ham at the bar like that? And did you truly need a whole new collection of MAC lipsticks for fall?

WHY: If we focused more on investing in the things we truly love, we will save so much money in the end. For example, instead of going out every weekend to the same club that always has a fight, save that money for a vacation across the country that you’ll never forget.

STEP IT UP: Make a list of things you really need or  enjoy. Focus solely on that and eliminate the rest of the things you waste money on. Those meaningless happy hour bar wings won’t be missed when you see a stack in your account.

WHAT Raise *Debo voice*

So you got good news. Your boss decided to give you a promotion! And promotions comes with – you guessed it – a nice raise. What should you do with the extra money? Throw more into savings of course.

WHY:  We have goals to reach and they don’t stop just because we got some extra coin. When you hear the term “living below my means” this is exactly what people mean. You might have the dollars to ball a little harder but choose to practicing shooting more in the gym.

STEP IT UP:  Strategically look at your budget and see how much money you can forfeit to get to your savings goal even faster. This goes for any extra money like tax refunds and bonuses.

Bye Bye, Subscriptions

I’m sure you own at least one subscription to something you never use. Get rid of those, breh.

WHY: This is literally money we throw away every month. I was in two mastermind groups that I never used but it still came out of my pocket. It seems small at first (one was only $10) but that’s $120 a year I could be saving.

STEP IT UP: Go through the subs. It could be Netflix, Spotify, or even cable. But the extra money you gain can be budgeted into your savings account.

Lastly,

Don’t Be A Psycho

Saving and being responsible is one of the most empowering things you could ever do for yourself. But don’t get so obsessed with saving all your money that you forget to enjoy it. Treat yourself to the things you love. Buy the dress or watch you’ve been eyeing for a long time. Just don’t get crazy.

Emergency funds are powerful. They are the first major step to freedom in your finances.

You CAN afford a better life.

So let’s do it. You with it?

 

Liberating Advice to Struggling Emotional Spenders (From A Hotmess Emotional Spender)

 

“I’m literally the worst.”

Am I the only one who tells myself this after I gallivant through the mall yet again? With a car of bulky shopping bags, an empty wallet and an even emptier spirit it never fails. I always sit feeling depleted after that unplanned shopping trip.

You don’t completely regret what you just bought (bc let’s face it, those shoes are here for an edge snatch) but you have this overwhelming guilt that always takes over when you pull a stunt like this.

But I mean COME ON. What’s the big deal anyway?

Retail therapy is the cure of all cures, right?

Emotional Spending

Beginning in high school, I developed this unhealthy habit of running to shopping when I felt my lowest and out of control in my life. Although temporary, I hoped that a new outfit would help me to redesign my inner turmoil.

Just maybe this would be the dress that helped with my awful day at work  or the lipstick that would say the right thing to people I hoped to impress. I never really needed anything knew but I would convince myself I did.

Outside of loans, emotional spending was single-handely the one thing that destroyed my finances and if you’re reading this it probably killed yours too.

(Now turn to your neighbor and say, NEIGHBOR. We’ve got to stop wasting our money on a new pair of J’s and late night runs to Whataburger)

The Source of My Emotional Spending Pain Started Here

My emotional spendingness didn’t just pop out of then air. It came in a day that changed me forever.

On a hot summer in Texas, I got a call while I was at work that my father had collapsed at a grocery store. Rushing out of my shift, my mother (they are divorced) and I drove to the hospital. When I ran through those doors, I saw my uncle who had his head hanging low like wilted fruit. I immediately knew.

I was 17 when I lost him to a heart attack.

That life changing event sent me into a world spin. I desperately searched for where my identity could belong. Because he had served in the army, I started to receive a check every month until I graduated high school. My mother saved some for my first semester at college but the rest was game to blow.

And blow I surely did do. I had the newest shoes. Fly clothes, not a stain on me. I ate out at restaurants and drove all around town in my little white 1995 Mercury Tracer. YA’LL. This thing had the automatic seat belts that smoothly slid into place when you closed the doors. Like whet? You couldn’t touch me.

Life looked great on the outside by my internal was filled with abandonment, rejection, unhappiness and the need to be validated.

When I think about it now, I hate that I blew money as a means to escape but the habit grew during college and beyond.

It wasn’t until I analyzed my paycheck to paycheck lifestyle that I knew something had to change.

Why We Are Emotional Spenders and 5 Ways To Chill Out For You Future’s Sake

If you’ve experienced life like I have, most likely you’ve used shopping as a means to escape. And there is NOTHING wrong with that.

But when it starts to become the first thing you turn to when stress levels rise, it’s coping. The problem is that your issues don’t disappear when you charge that card. You just have a fatter bill and a deeper hole to fill.

According to Investopedia, “Emotional spending occurs when you buy something you don’t need and, in some cases, don’t even really want, as a result of feeling stressed out, bored, under-appreciated, incompetent, unhappy or any number of other emotions.” WELL.

Fresh prince emotional spender

For the longest, I didn’t believe that I was an emotional spender until I realized I did this:

  • Justified my purchases to myself. Often included the phrases “Man, I deserve this bro” or “It’s just a couple things…or four, no big deal.”
  • Sneak and hide bags. I currently stay with my aunt and uncle and STILL do this from time to time.
  • Walked away from my purchase with a dash of you shouldn’t have bought that guilt.
  • Had and still have a plethora of things I’ve never used or only once.
  • Constantly thought about how other people would react to me with that purchase. For example, “Man ima eff em up with this blazer tonight.”
  • Wouldn’t check my bank account for days because I already knew it’s looking a mess.

Were you laughing while reading that just now? YOU’RE BROKE. Stop the denial. Or at least get some damb control because it’s ruining your ability to set your future up to win.

Are you still with me? Perf. Here are 5 practical ways to break up with this habit immediately:

#1. Unsubscribe from your store’s email lists

I’m convinced that Amazon and Fashion Nova are the works of the enemy.

To fight your emotional spending, go through your emails and start unsubscribing from all your favorite stores. I get at least 30 emails a DAY from companies:

EMotional Spender

That’s just from before 7 a.m. I got flooded with these emails EVERY single day.

I realized that I was way more tempted to buy something if I saw the “Hey get your 87% off because it’s the 87th day of the year” email. Let’s just avoid all temptations by wiping them out the inbox.

#2. Don’t Fall For the “Sale” Tactic

Speaking of sales. Be aware of the Buy 2 get one 1 free trick. I humbly admit that H&M got me with this one this weekend. The first thing you think is “What? Free? How could I pass up free?” But the problem is that you didn’t save on anything. You spent more by buying the first two items.

You may catch things on sale but if you’re broke you literally just wasted more money because you saw a sale and are being a cheapo.

I work part time at a handbag store and they always mark up their “sales” prices to make it seem like you’re getting a better deal. You ain’t. Thou shall never be playeth by the Sale sign.

#3. Implement the 24-hour Rule

Most of impulse shopping comes from the need to fill a void right in the moment.

Most of impulse shopping comes from the need to fill a void right in the moment. Click To Tweet

You can overcome this by placing your items on hold for at least 24 hours. More often than not, we will forget about that MUST HAVE item as soon as we leave the store.

This not only is great for your bank account but it helps implement discipline and the ability to tell yourself nah.

Emotional Spender

If you find yourself still dreaming about that item after you’ve left the store, proceed to tip #4:

#4. Give Yourself Permission to Splurge

The reality is that there’s going to be something that always catches your eye. But purchases are way more worthwhile when it’s an item you absolutely love or feel confident AF in.

Create a splurge account or jar and start moving a little money each week. It could be as little as $5-10. Whenever you feel the need to have a retail therapy day, you will get to pull from this instead of your I’m broke and should be saving money jar.

I have an envelope called “fun money” and specifically use it for the emotional, I need a Snickers days.

#5. Piece Together Your Peace

As much as these tips could work, it won’t stop you from spending if your center isn’t whole.

It took me a long time to accept hard truths like that my daddy’s death created some abandonment issues. That I constantly felt insecure unless I received compliments on how I looked. That I ran to shopping and buying food to fill me instead of God and my truths.

I spent because I desperately wanted to be this certain girl, but I wasn’t honoring who I am.

Who are you? Do you know?

A practical way to find out is to remove one big distraction for at least a week. I’ve found that when I am constantly distracted by shows, music, friends, social media and just noise, that I begin to deny what I really want.

But that whisper is always there and will come back to you when you get still. Try to pick something to eliminate and replace it with devotionals, watching an inspirational video or listening to a podcast this week.

Your Retail Therapy Won’t Fix You

You are more than a new bag.

Bigger than a chain or a car.

Explosively larger than any material thing you run to.

Don’t you think it’s time you grabbed control to create the freedom you deserve?

Let’s stop tap dancing for our insecurities and trading outside validation for the peace and control we can create in our 20’s.

You bout it?

#letsglow

5 Piss Poor Money Habits You’re Probably Still Making From College

 

Admit it already.

For the most part, college was “the best four years of your life” like they said it would be.

You got to be around all your friends constantly, turned up at Greek parties and took hella NAPS. Matter of fact, I would go back to college just for the midday naps, do ya hear me?

You didn’t realize how great you had it back then.

But in the last semester of undergrad, you rushed that ish like Chris Brown making another mediocre album. Just wanted it to be done.

Your mindset wasn’t ready for the real world. Neither were your pockets.

And although you have tried to man up in this adulting life, there are just some crazy bad habits you never let go of when you graduated.

I know you’re struggling fam, but the good news is that you don’t have to any longer.

The Reason You Absolutely Must Break Up With Bad Habits

What if I told you that if you got rid of these habits, you would bust down the door of mediocrity and into an incredible, joyful life?

Well you can, you know.

The key to becoming happier isn’t more money, but more growth.

The key to becoming happier isn't more money, but more growth. Click To Tweet

At my desk I have two plants that I received as gifts. One is a small cactus in a cute little shoe and the other is a tiny ficus plant I stole from a wedding I worked once. (I only took one, ya’ll).

When I received the cactus, I didn’t water it for months and caused it to turn brown and die. Seeing the damage I did to that cactus, I vowed to take care of  my little ficus tree. With very low maintenance, that plant surprised me as it stretched it’s branches far beyond the pot I received it in.

God has given you incredible significance and power. Making you exactly in his image, you could do DAMAGE if you truly nurtured what was inside of you.

bad habits money

But like ignoring that cactus, you’ve formed some bad habits along the way that are keeping your dreams dead. Your goals are making no progress. You’re unfulfilled and living miserably average.

If only you let go of what was comfortable.

If only you watered your life so that it could grow beyond the small thinking pot you are operating out of.

I need you to see that mastering money isn’t about the mula at all. It’s about believing in your personal worth to this world.

And it just so happens that these five habits are getting in the way of that.

5 Money Habits Keeping You Stuck, Broke and Left Behind

How many of these habits are you guilty of?

#1. Balling Out With Your Entire Check

Every semester you slept by your phone, waiting for that refund check to hit your account. And like a real boss should, you used every drop of it (well, nvm real bosses shouldn’t do that). Maybe 6% went to books and something responsible but the rest went completely to the alcohol you could display on top of the fridge, shopping sprees and travel trips.

Unfortunately, this is what got you in debt and you are still trying to be about that life.

Each time your paycheck hits your account you use it up, crawling to the next payday. You’re like a contestant in a hot dog contest that stuffs food down his throat before the timer goes off.  Just rushing to use it all up.

But not understanding where your money is going is keeping you in chains. Look at your accounts frequently. Make a budget and review it at least once a week. Start to create a game plan that includes having money left over.

[Related: How To Get Debt-Free While Living Paycheck to Paycheck After College]

#2. Constant Company In Your Space

I love hosting a good kick back or movie night. In fact, in college it seemed like someone was always over the house just chilling. But as I got more serious about my desires to live an excellent life, I realized that constantly filling my schedule with other people was keeping  me from focusing on my own goals.

I tend to relax on money when I’m around a bunch of people, so cutting back on how much time I give has tremendously changed my focus.

Bad money habits

Start being picky with your time (especially with those who bring no value to you). It’s NOT selfish. This will not only save money but will allow you the space to grow into who you want to be without too many distractions or opinions.

#3. Your Drift Into the ‘I Don’t Feel Like It’ Syndrome

Your emotions are running your life.

The difference between many

of us and most long-term millionaires is that they work when they don’t feel like it. And we sit watching Netflix.

In college, it was like pulling teeth to get me to do the things I didn’t feel like doing. I looked at it as torture but now I see it as discipline.

Your goals with money and with life aren’t going to appear if you work when you feel like it.

Lately, I’ve been doing this 5-Second rule countdown by life coach Mel Robbins, to help change my state when I feel the laziness creep in. Watch this video of her explaining the power of 5 seconds and try to use it when your next emotional episode comes:

#4. Giving Up Before You Reach the Finish Line

The truth is that giving up is due to a lack of confidence in the task you are committing to. You secretly say things like:

“It’s too much work,” and “It won’t happened anyway” to justify your reasons for choosing to be average.

In college, I gave up on a lot of opportunities because they got too hard. Are you focusing on what you think you can’t accomplish rather than the life-changing experiences you will feel once you get your ish together?

I learned a term called the Competent/Confidence loop that helps with this.

Most times, we have so much doubt and fear because we simply don’t know how to be successful at it. Like how can I be a millionaire if I don’t understand budgets and investments? So we abandon action.

The loop occurs when you seek to become skilled in the task you’re afraid of. As I took classes, read books and practiced budgeting I got really good at it and my confidence grew. As a result, I wanted to learn even more (that’s the loop).

 

Stare at the thing you’re afraid to start and begin learning all about it. Next, take action. As you grow stronger in your talents and ideas you will seek to learn even more.

#5. Your Commitment to Fast Food

Living on campus was amazeballs. But it gave me a firsthand seat to Diabetes Ln. with Chick-fil-A, Pizza Hut, Panda Express and more. My meal plan was clutch through every starving night after studying. Not even thinking about costs, I swiped my card to indulge in fatty meal after fatty meal.

Unfortunately, those swipes transferred over to my actual debit/credit cards too. I was so used to running to get something fast when I didn’t feel like cooking. I spent most of my money eating out.

Go. To. The. Store.

bad habits money

Studies show that we (millennials) spend almost $3,000 a year on fast food alone. ALONE. Not bringing your lunch to work and the constant happy hours are hurting our pockets in the worst way.

To avoid this, I spent an afternoon rounding up all the recipes that got me excited to cook. When you look forward to whipping it in the kitchen, it makes it easier to go shopping and get the meals in formation. Here are some of ideas I’m about to try:

Skillet Roasted Chicken

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

Noodles with Almond Sauce

Panang

The best day to shop is actually Saturday so that you can spend Sunday preparing your meals for the week. 

Stop Avoiding the Painful Moments

By always having someone over or a meeting to rush to, it didn’t leave me much time to deal with the painful moments in my life. In college, I learned to avoid the truth behind why I ran to shopping or eating to fill my empty spaces.

Ignoring the reason why you make bad choices will keep you in the same hamster wheel of mistakes.

I know money is frustrating but bad habits are costing you way more than your late fees.

Your thinking will lead you to two very real outcomes:

  1. You will stay stuck in a life that is comfortable, meaningless and unfulfilling
  2. You will thrive in a life that is challenging, laced with miracles, peace and transformation

The bottom line is that God is waiting for you to put your foot on the gas pedal so he can steer you straight to your destiny. I know you just want to have fun. I know you miss the easy days of college. But life is so much bigger than those four years of your life.

Don’t you think it’s worth it to find out?

How to Afford a Vacation You Will Remember For a Lifetime

 

Wouldn’t it be amazing to go on a vacation without worrying about the lack of commas in our bank account?

Too bad that’s never, ever how we 20-somethings travel.

After scraping change together for your Spirit plane ticket, pay your part of the Airbnb and buy cheap fast food, there’s honestly not much left for real fun.

You thought it would be cool to just wing it but there’s no good Groupon deals and showing up to the club at 9:30 p.m. to make guest lists are getting tired.

So here you are in a beautiful place but unable to fully enjoy it because your coins are tight.

You think to yourself “Why did I agree to this trip,” pulling out the credit card once again. You even avoid checking your bank account because you just don’t want to see the damage.

Your Snapchat stories are lit though.

WHY DO WE DO THIS?

So many of us are living it up on trips without a dime to our name when we get back from the vacation.

The truth is that traveling isn’t a bad thing but these brokecations are keeping you stuck in the same paycheck to paycheck pattern.

And the sad part is that the majority of us are doing it.

The Amazing Good News  for the Broke & Traveled 

Most old white money mavericks would tell you that if you want to get control of your money then you need to cut out traveling completely.

But considering that 6 out 10 youngins rather spend their money on travel vs. material things show that we truly value our vacations.

The good news is that means you don’t have to cut out traveling altogether.

The bad (actually this is good too) news is that you can’t go to everybody’s Stella Got Her Groove Back trips.

Oh, and while I’ve got you here – it’s time to let go of Spring Breaks, ya’ll. If you are a full fledged, grown, rent-paying adult (minus my teachers), there is no reason you should still be going to South Padre. Let it goooo, fam.

So reality is that even with debt you can enjoy a couple well-thought out trips. Just don’t get crazy.

 

Here’s how.

9 Travel Hacks to Help You Spend Less (But Enjoy More)

 

Although I’m still rocking hard on my debt-free journey, I budgeted about four trips that I absolutely don’t regret including a cruise, Chicago, Austin and Seattle.

Breaking bad money habits isn’t about living a miserable life, it’s about creating boundaries and discipline for yourself.

Breaking bad money habits is about creating boundaries and discipline. Click To TweetSo with a million hours of research and some trial and error, here are my top nine hacks for planning a vacation you won’t forget:

#1. Say the magic word

Budget.

Most of us don’t budget period, let alone budget for a vacation. But you should be planning your costs way ahead of your actual trip to keep control of your spending.

Not having a budget is like driving to a destination without your GPS. You might get to your destination out of luck and the grace of God but it will take you much longer. You will get lost, be stressed and want to just turn around.

Use a budget to know exactly how much you have to work with in case you overspend a little. Sit down and make one before your book this trip. PROMISE ME.

#2. Travel to places that friends live

From continuing education to new jobs, someone is always moving away. If you’re looking for a getaway but want to dodge hotel costs look for friends who live in places you have always wanted to visit and crash their couches.

**Disclaimer: Only do this if you actually have a relationship with the person. I can’t tell you how annoying it is for someone to hit me up about staying with me in Vegas when I literally talked to them 13 years ago in gym class. It’s rude. Stop doing that.

On the flip side my friends stay in pretty awesome cities like Austin, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. Staying with them has definitely been a life saver when I need a quick getaway.

#3. Wait until the last minute

I am the queen of last minute traveling. First and foremost, the best days to book a flight are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays. I always play with the prices when it comes to cheaper airlines like Frontier, Spirit or even American because I know the price will come down. My only advice is not to wait TOO long. I usually watch until I’m about 2-3 weeks out on my trip.

*Bonus tip: If you are looking to get a cheaper airline, go to the airport and buy the ticket at the counter. Their prices are usually $30-$40 cheaper then what they advertise online.

#4. Pick places with long layovers

So my goal is to go to South Africa as my debt-free gift to myself when this is all said and done. Although it’s going to take four years of course, I have to began playing around with prices. When looking at flights, I noticed that the cheapest ones had crazy long layovers in different cities. I absolutely hate layovers but thought about how cool it would be to double-dip into another city or country during my trip to South Africa.

Google flights is my go-to. For example, I looked up a flight to Cape Town and one of the cheapest options offered a 13 hour layover in Atlanta.

 

Vacation travel hacks

Now  usually that would sound awful but if you want to travel internationally it could be a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You can also enter dates you want to travel and Google flights will give you a price estimate for major cities all over the world. I randomly typed in dates for July 7-July 16:

Vacation travel hacks

 

London is the cheapest (due to the ones who must not be named) but it still shows a variety of options to choose from.

#5. All-inclusives

People are sleeeep on all-inclusives. Instead of trying to take care of your adventure piece by piece, look into a cruise or hotel all-inclusive that provides everything. This April, I took a cruise to Cozumel and it was probably the best vacation I have ever been on. It was affordable and I was able to pay for the trip in increments which helped me balance my budget each month. Even when we landed in Cozumel, we chose to do an all-inclusive beach that included all-you-can eat food and drink and access to a lot of cool activities. Try Hotel.com for resorts that have all-inclusive options.

#6. Plan a photoshoot

If you are anything like my friends, you stay ready for a photo shoot, anytime. Anywhere. For a fun and free outing, research a place with cool murals or backgrounds that you could take photos with. I usually Google “cool places in  (city)” or “most instagrammed place in (city).”

 

Vacation travel hacks

 

#7. Plan a group cooking night

When traveling, food can rack up pretty fast. A fun way to cut costs but still enjoy is to have a family-style cooking night with the crew. This is especially great if you are staying in an Airbnb. Pick a theme like Mexican or Italian and have each person make a dish. It’s so easy to spend a lot of money at expensive restaurants in touristy parts of the city so this is a great way to dodge that.

#8. Travel off season and after holidays

Off-seasons and after holidays are the cheapest time to travel. Based off the interwebs, here is a list of suggested places to go:

Winter – December – February: New York City,and Atlanta are big during this time for obvious reasons (BURR). But because it’s cold there are great discounts on attractions and experiences around the city. Also, surprisingly Honolulu is cheap during this time as people are settling down from holidays.

SpringMarch – May: Alaska, Chicago and Washington D.C. are all recovering from harsh winters but have not been greeted by summer yet. This is the perfect time to travel for a dip in hotel prices.

Summer June – August: Beijing and Sydney might not be a choice for travelers looking for hot weather but it’s the perfect time to maximize on low rates. You won’t be freezing like a popscicle but plan to bring a jacket.

FallSeptember – November: Orlando and Jamaica are great because the kids are back in school so travel has slowed down to destinations like Disney World and the beach. In addition, Cape Town and Las Vegas also starts to slow down in November which may be a great time for hotel rates.

#9. Use a CityPASS

This thing is sooo legit. If you are traveling to one of the cities that CityPASS partners with, I would definitely use it. A CityPASS bundles tourist attractions together for one price that allows you to visit a variety of popular places around the city. You’re not only saving money but are able to get out and have experiences that you may not have been able to afford before. I am for sure going to use one in Seattle.

Travel Smarter, Be Happy

Securing the bag has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the freedom to be able to live the life you dream.

Securing the bag has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the freedom Click To Tweet

While you are making the right decisions toward your money goals, carefully planned travel trips mean so much more when you know you aren’t breaking the bank to enjoy them.

Just imagine: waking up to the sounds of the beach, a mimosa by your bedside and peace in your heart because you’re still taking care of your ish.

Try some of these hacks and you wills till be able to create memories that will last a life time.

#letsglow