Saving money can be hard, even for adults. But as a teenager with a limited income, it can seem impossible. But I am here to tell you saving money for travel as a teenager is doable. With some hard work, discipline and time you can build a nice healthy bank account to travel with. However, not only will these methods work for travel, they can be applied to anything you are striving towards as a financial goal!
Here are 10 ways to get better at saving money for travel as a teenager:
- Set a Budget
- Set Up a Travel Savings Account
- Increase Your Income
- Eat Out Less
- Meal Plan
- Buy Less Coffee
- Want or Need?
- Do Free Activities
- Reduce Memberships
- Don’t Get Credit Cards
The average person has a lot of debt. Credit cards, mortgage, car loans are just a few of the ways that people end up paying a lot more for things than what they are worth. Setting good spending and money habits will not only benefit your travel, it will help you with your finances for life.
This article will go into depth on several ways you can build the savings. However, you need to be dedicated and patient to build the savings. It won’t happen overnight. But the effort you put in will result in some amazing travel and experiences. Memories that will last with you for your whole life. That is worth the effort in my mind!
So, let’s deep dive into each of these ways to save money. It is important to remember that not every one of these methods is going to apply to everyone. But, picking the ones that will work for you and putting them into action is going to set you up well for building your bank account. Implementing just a few of these tips is great for saving money for travel as a teenager.
Set a Budget
Controlling and managing your money is one of the most important steps into building your savings account. Setting up a budget is a great way to keep track of all your income and expenses.
By setting a budget you are treating your bank account like a business. If you monitor where the income is coming in and where the expenses are going out, you will have a much firmer grasp on your money. A business strives to increase its top line (income) and reduce its expenses. This is how profit is increased. After tracking all your expenses, you will be able to identify where the waste is and cut it out, leaving more ‘profit’ for yourself.
The best way to start your budget is by calculating all your income and expenses. Google Sheets is a free spreadsheet tool that is perfect for tracking all your numbers. You don’t need to spend anything on expensive money managing tools. We are trying to save money after all!
What frequency you use on your budget is up to you. A good idea is to go by how often you are paid, usually weekly, fortnightly or monthly. I personally use a monthly budget, as I find it is more accurate and some costs will vary wildly between week to week.
It important to track every cost you have. But, a good way to work out all your expenses that might vary month to month is by looking back at your bank statement. Go by the last month to get a gauge of what you are spending on things such as food and entertainment. These will be the basis on your budget, and you can work on reducing them from there.
After putting together your budget, you will be able to subtract your expenses from your income and be left with your savings. This is what can be put into a dedicated savings account for travel. This will put the foundation for saving money for travel as a teenager down and get you a solid start.
Set Up a Travel Savings Account
After setting up a budget and calculating all your expenses, the best way to manage money for travel is through a dedicated savings account. This is simply a separate bank account to hold your savings for travel. However, setting up a separate bank account should always be free. But, if you are being charged for a new account, consider leaving your current bank. Credit unions are a great place to hold your savings and are generally much cheaper than the major banks.
Once the account is set up the next step is to automatically transfer money over to it each pay cycle. By doing automatic transfers, the temptation to spend the money is removed. This is the most successful way I have been able to save money over the years.
It is important to be disciplined when building your travel savings account. I know well from experience that the temptation to take the money and spend it is high. But remaining true to your goals of travel and being disciplined is going to be a better decision in the long run. You will forget about that meal at a restaurant or new piece of clothing on sale. Travel memories will last a lifetime.
Here are a few tips to maintaining discipline when saving for travel:
- Know your weaknesses
- Remove temptations
- Set clear goals and expectations
- Reward yourself
I have written an article on travel savings accounts, give it a read for more insight here.
Increase Your Income
Before we get into talking about reducing expenses, it is important to talk about the income side of things. Earning extra money on the side is a great way to build your savings account. It also keeps you busy, productive and will give you less time to spend money unnecessarily! So here are a few ways to increase your income.
Get a Second Job
The easiest way to build extra income is through a second job. Try looking for something that is flexible and suits your skills. If you have the skills, you will be able to get something more than minimum wage. Jobs that pay tips such as pizza delivery or as a waitress will allow you to earn more than minimum wage also. Here are some other ideas for a second job that is perfect for saving money for travel as a teenager:
- Dog walking
- House sitting
- Paper and brochure delivery
- Mowing yards in your neighbourhood
- Online surveys
- Buying and reselling goods
However, it is important to remember to take care of yourself. Burning out is not worth it. I know well from experience. Having days off, socialising and spending time relaxing is important for your physical and mental well-being.
Increase Hours at Your First Job
Sometimes getting a second job is not always a reality. But there is the option of increasing the hours you work at your first job. Approach your manager at your first job and let them know about your desire to increase your hours. However, it is important to let your manager know your goals. If you are working hard and performing well in your job your manager is more likely to give you the extra hours.
Increasing your hours at your first job is more ideal than a second job. Having a second job as well as doing studies is very difficult to time manage. Often the second job can get in the way of the first job, causing tension between manager and employees. However, more hours in your main job is a good way of solving this.
Build Passive Income
Building passive income is a great way to build your income without having to do continuous work. But that doesn’t mean it requires no work at all. Starting a passive income stream requires some initial hard work. However, once it is complete it can be left, and the money keeps rolling in.
Here are some great ways to build passive income as a teenager:
- Sell stock photography
- Affiliate marketing
- Building a blog and displaying ads
- Create artwork and sell online
Eat Out Less
Eating out less may seem obvious. However, when you put into numbers how much most people spend on takeaway, restaurants and alcohol in a month the numbers are crazy.
When doing your budget, check how much money you spent last month on eating out. I almost guarantee it will surprise you. This is one of the most reducible costs in your budget.
It is common to be spending $8-15 for a take away meal and $25-40 for a restaurant meal. Taking the average of these numbers, three take away meals a week and two restaurant meals is going to cost you over $350 a month! Reducing this cost by 75% will give you an extra $260 a month. You aren’t going to miss those meals, and your waistline will thank you also.
While you don’t need to cut out takeaway and restaurants completely, cutting back considerably will allow you to have more savings at the end of each month. Put these extra savings into your travel account and you will see it go up much quicker.
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Meal planning is a great way to reduce your food costs and save more money for travel. As a teenager living with your parents you may have dinner made for you. But how are you getting your lunches? This could be a great opportunity to meal plan and make meals for the week.
My secret to meal planning is using a slow cooker (crockpot). Seriously, a slow cooker changed my eating habits and saved me so much money. As someone who isn’t the best chef, it couldn’t be simpler. Simply throw in the ingredients and forget for a few hours and you have an easy, tasty and tender meal.
Cook a large batch that will last you an entire week. Then simply refrigerate or freeze portions for each day. It really is that easy. No more cooking every day, no more wasting money on takeaway and restaurants. Let meal planning change your eating habits like it did mine. I promise! You will be a changed person with more money in your account, perfect for travel. Saving money for travel as a teenager will never be more tastier.
Buy Less Coffee
Buying coffee is a waste of money. There, I said it. It is a controversial opinion that is always a heated debate. However, when you look at the costs of buying regular coffee, it blows out of control very quickly.
I personally don’t drink coffee. However, I know it is a staple for a lot of people and is a necessity. Find ways to cut back on coffee costs rather than eliminate it entirely. I understand that stopping coffee drinking is not a realistic goal to saving money. Instead focus on reducing the cost.
One $5 brew a day from a coffee shop is over $1800 a year. Cutting this back can put over $1000 in your pocket each year. One thousand dollars will go a long way towards saving money for travel as a teenager. Here are a few ways to cut back the coffee costs:
- Make It at Home
- Get Creative
- Be Aware of Your Expenses (Refer to Setting a Budget)
- Buy Whole Beans
- Order Black Coffee
Want or Need?
When making a purchase, I always ask myself “is this a want or a need?”. Do I really need this purchase? A lot of the time the answer is no.
Needs are essential purchases that are required to survive. Food, housing and transport are all examples of needs. These are easy to work out. It gets harder when it is a grey area between want and need. Wants are purchases that are not fully necessary. For example, a new TV, a watch, clothing etc.
Don’t let your needs turn into wants. A great example of this is water, which is often free. Free water can often turn into coffee, soft drink or alcohol which will then cost you money. Another example is clothing. We all need to wear clothing. However, do you really need that brand name piece of clothing or will a basic no brand do the trick? Look at all the richest people in the world. Often you will see them in basic clothing!
Appreciate what you have. I guarantee you have a better life than most people on Earth if you are reading this. You really need to challenge yourself and ask yourself whether you really need this new purchase. It is tempting, but you will be rewarded in the future with amazing travel and experiences. These memories will last a lifetime. Materialistic goods won’t. This is a great way to learn saving money for travel as a teenager.
With that being said, you still need to enjoy yourself and do activities. I never advocate for cutting costs out completely, simply reducing the spending and being smart with your money. This is a much better long-term strategy. Going cold turkey and cutting the costs out completely is not a viable long-term solution.
Do Free Activities
It is possible to have a great time while not spending any money. Plenty of activities around are free and can provide a fantastic day out. Finding a free activity that is enjoyable and entertaining is a great achievement. Enjoy them while saving money at the same time!
I find a lot of people break their budget during the weekends. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of spending unnecessary on the weekend after a full week of sticking to your budget. Restaurants, alcohol and paid activities can all be very enticing. Looking and planning free activities will help you avoid this trap.
Here are some great free activities:
- Going to the beach
- Bike riding
- Reading from the library
- Walking your neighborhood
Business models have moved from one-time payments to subscription type costings. Instead of hitting you with a large upfront fee, they get a smaller amount of your money each month. While it may seem like a good deal at first, you will end up paying more over the course of a few years.
Companies like Spotify and Netflix are the biggest ones that everyone uses. Usually costing around $10 a month, a few subscriptions can be $30-40 a month. A great way to reducing this cost is to find friends who want to share the price of the subscription and split it with them. If you aren’t getting good value out of the streaming service, consider cancelling it. However, I am of the opinion that streaming services such as Netflix actually saves money long-term, as it a great source of entertainment that is much cheaper than other forms of entertainment such as the cinemas. So, weigh up your options before deciding.
The other big membership that gets people is gym memberships. Gyms are great at attracting people in with offers and deals on memberships. However, they make their money from people not using their facilities. It is estimated that around 80 percent of people who have a gym membership do not use it.
Consider getting rid of the gym membership and exercising in your neighborhood parks and streets. You will save a lot of money whilst still getting your workout in. I would much rather be running in a nice park than inside a gym.
Don’t Get Credit Cards
Quite simply, credit cards are a way to get your money. You don’t need them. Banks and credit card lenders spend billions every year advertising their cards. There is a reason for that, they want your money. Lending money is an extremely profitable venture for banks.
Especially as a teenager, credit cards are not a good financial decision. Building strong financial habits younger in life is a great way to build your wealth throughout your life. It is very easy to fall into the trap of spending available credit. It is better to remove that temptation completely by not having it. Financial discipline can take a few years to get used to, so build your good habits while you are young and have no debt. This is going to set you up for life, not to mention building a travel savings account more efficiently.
A common misconception is that you need a credit card to buy things online. This is not the case and debit cards work well for this, while using your own money directly. Consider getting a debit card if you want to have that ability.
I believe this is one of the most important topics on this list. Credit cards are a gateway to debt you cannot afford to pay off, and I am strongly of the belief that they are not needed.
Have you got any other great ways to increase income or decreases expenses? What are your methods for saving money for travel? Let me know in the comments below!