Do monthly financial reviews
It's hard to save what you don't know you have.
I know reviewing your finances can be a little painful sometimes, but it's an important first step for anyone who wants to seriously save money. Go through every single account you have and get a snapshot. You might notice that you spend more on some things that you thought.
You might even find that you already have some spare change you can devote to travel...
Create a separate travel savings account
Start a separate travel savings account so that you can really separate your other expenses from your travel goals.
You'll be less likely to dip into this account for unnecessary reasons and you'll be able to track your savings progress easier. From personal experience, I'll tell you that it's truly addicting to see your dedicated travel account climb as you get better at saving money for travel.
Automate your travel savings
Don't trust yourself when it comes to aggressively saving money.
Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your travel account. This is exactly how to hide money from yourself in the name of epic future travel.
The tips in this article will help you get better at tricking yourself into saving money, but sometimes it's still easier to take ourselves out of the equation altogether.
If you're anything like me, you focus on what's right in front of you. Make sure your travel and savings goals are front and center.
When I was aggressively saving money to travel full-time, I created a savings worksheet for myself. I colored in a box for every $500 saved into my travel fund. I made these boxes the first page in my daily planner, and attribute a lot of my financial savings success to this simple visual trick.
I also know friends who have used stickers and paper chain links in similar ways.
Put a 48-hour waiting period on purchases
This is a particularly useful tip for online purchases, but it can apply to almost anything. This trick to save money for travel is pretty simple.
Take anything you want to buy and put it into your shopping cart (digitally or figuratively). Then, wait at least 48 hours to actually make the purchase.
One of two things will happen. Either you'll have realized that your purchase isn't necessary and won’t go through with it or you'll have thought the purchase through very thoroughly and be much happier with your purchase.
Use the stranger test
This is an amazing psychological trick to help you learn how to make yourself save money. The idea is simple.
When you're deciding on a purchase, imagine a stranger is in front of you.
For the sake of example, let's say it's a $20 tee shirt. On one hand, the stranger hold the purchase you are considering (the tee shirt). On the other, they're holding the cash you’d need to purchase it ($20).
If you find that you'd choose the cash over the goods, it's probably best to pass on the purchase.
Think of the cost per use instead of price
Sometimes brands and sales blind us to true value while shopping. When you're trying tricks to save money, it's helpful to think in "cost per use."
Sometimes, a purchase that you'll use every single day but costs more up front might be more valuable than one that you use once a month but costs less. It's an amazing way for how to trick yourself into saving money.
Go on a shopping freeze
Of course, the best savings tips and tricks involve not spending any money at all. Give yourself a challenge and curb unnecessary shopping for one month.
That means no clothing shopping. No Amazon. No Target runs. No "well, it's on sale" purchases.
It's a great way to retrain your brain and trick yourself into spending less.
Learn to make your favorite takeout meals at home
I'm not going to tell you to cut pizza out of your diet, but consider learning how to make it at home instead. It will save your budget and cultivate a great skill for when you travel and want to save money while you travel too.
If you have a particular takeout habit, do a quick search for the food and "make at home."
You may not be the first to attempt to recreate it in your own kitchen.
Bring your own snacks/drink with you on outings
It's exponentially cheaper to buy your snacks and drinks at a grocery store instead of at events.
Bring a to-go mug of coffee to peruse your local bookstore instead of stopping by the Starbucks next door. Pack a picnic to the park instead of hitting up the food trucks preying on hungry park patrons.
It's a simple adjustment to your mindset that will teach you how to force yourself to save money.
It's easy to feel like you're restricting yourself from anything fun when you're learning how to force yourself to save money. Rewire your brain to think in positives instead of negatives.
When I was learning how to make myself save money for travel, I also reframed my financial life in a positive light. Instead of not spending money, I was saving money for my dream life.
A simple flip of the negative/positive switch and you'll have a much easier time saving money for your next adventure.
Make your online passwords motivating
I'm sure you have had the same password sequence for a while, but consider giving them a savings focused twist. Remind yourself of your goals every time you login to, well, anything with a travel-themed or savings themed password.
Consider combining your financial dollar goal with your next departure date or dream destination. It's a fun way to keep these saving money tips and tricks top of mind.
Look for free activities in your area
It's easy to let your social life fade away when you're aggressively saving money for travel.
Don't isolate yourself because of your bank account.
Find free local events and invite your friends to tag along. Get into a library habit. Become a frequent park person.
There are so many free things you can do to get your social fill without spending an arm and a leg. This is just one of many easy tricks to save money for travel up my sleeve.
Adjust a costly habit
Note that I didn't say "cut a costly habit." Even when you're learning how to hide money from yourself, it's important to do the things that make you who you are.
A yoga fanatic? Skip the costly yoga studio membership for a cheaper online membership or Youtube videos. A frequent movie goer? Start going to matinees and skipping the popcorn
Downsize your pad
The is probably the most extreme of ways to put money away.
I said earlier that food and drink usually make up the second biggest chunk of most budgets. Well, number one on that list? Housing.
Where you live makes the most impact on how much you'll be able to spend. If you're able to lower your monthly rent, it might be worth the move if you're serious about aggressively saving money for travel.
Consider downsizing your space by adding a roommate to the mix or moving to a smaller or less central house or apartment.
Plan a trip
You find a lot of joy in planning trips. Satisfy your wanderlust without spending a fortune and "fake plan" a trip.
You may realize that you've already saved enough for the trip you want to take. You'll then be able to keep your spending at bay because you have something more concrete to dream about
It's unrealistic to think that you'll never slip up on your journey in how to trick yourself into saving money.
Acknowledge that reality and give yourself permission to slip up every so often. For some, that mean a small, dedicated line in your monthly budget for impulse buys. For others, it might mean a day that you can do whatever you want with.