Let’s face it, travel isn’t really cheap. “Saan aabot ang bente pesos mo? Sa kanto lang!” We’ve got bills to pay, mouths to feed and for some, loans to be paid monthly. So travel isn’t really part of every Filipino’s lifestyle but more of a privilege not even “pag may time” but only when we’ve spared a few extra thousand pesos. No matter how frugal we try to be, travel requires some money. So whether you want to be one of those tourists flooding Boracay in December or you’re raring to take part in one of Thailand’s full moon parties, here are some simple and doable ways to save money for your trip:
1. Set aside money
Be it in a piggy bank, a fund jar or a dedicated savings account, it is better to save your trip money months ahead than take out whatever is in your bank account when your travel date comes around. The farther your destination, the bigger the money you will need and the more discipline you should have in cutting your expenses. If you pay most of your bills on the first payday, set aside a good chunk of your salary on the next for your trip money.
2. Cut the coffee and alcohol
Yes, I hear you…that Double Chocolate Green Tea Frapuccino is such a bliss. Starbucks has two hundred plus stores now in the country and there’s probably one near you. But you don’t need to be a Math wizard to know that a grande costs you P185 every time and rips you off P5,550 per month when consumed daily. If you’re like me who can’t function normally without a caffeine fix, cut down on brands and settle for the instant coffee.
If you’re the type who chugs an ice cold bottle of beer after a tense day at work, you might want to cut it down. And by “tense days” I meant Monday till Wednesday. And then the carefree you would normally go out for drinks with friends on the weekend, which by the way starts on Friday. Cut down on your alcohol and you will notice its effect on your budget.
3. Quit smoking
This may be hard for some but let me speak in money terms. A P73 pack per day amounts to P26,645 per year. Such amount will take you a long way to the “Island of Gods”, Bali in Indonesia on a 5-day vacay.
4. Eat out less
Whether you are renting an apartment or living with your family, it is wiser to cook and pack your lunch. Your P99 for a fast food value meal can buy half a dozen of eggs, some eggplants and potatoes for a home cooked omelet. You can be creative with other easy recipes and use up all your eggs and eggplants for the whole week.
If you’re a car owner who puts his patience into practice with the daily traffic, start embracing the commute (and I don’t mean the taxi, even). While taking the bus or the MRT takes so much patience to get to work, it will save you some money than filling your tank with gas.
6. Use discount coupons
Never underestimate the power of those discount coupons you have reluctantly slid into your wallet. Those coupons and loyalty cards will save your day at the cash register.
7. Skip the movie house
Be creative with your weekend dates. A P200 movie is really a big rip-off when there’s Netflix and iflix and HBO! So ditch the movie house…and the mandatory bucket of popcorn and soda. Just focus – you want to save money, right?
8. Sell stuff you don’t need
I am one click away from selling my 3-way treadmill via OLX for two reasons – one, I barely used it and two, I want some money for my next trip. I have recently moved out of my apartment and it was then that I realized I have a lot of stuff that I don’t need, some I hadn’t even used. So look around you, you might just see stuff you don’t need anymore. Sell them so you can get on the road sooner.
9. Use less prepaid mobile data
Do you need to check your Facebook timeline every 10 seconds? The answer is NO. So it is really not necessary to register to unlimited surf data plans daily when you’re only paying for very sluggish speeds. Yes, you are being shortchanged. So lay low online and let your friends wonder about your whereabouts sometimes.
10. Travel slow
I’ve noticed many of us have become competitive in traveling these days. While you can say that summer isn’t over yet, the same does not hold true for your wallet. Don’t rush from one tourist destination to another. Travel isn’t about showing off. Slow down. Make the most of each trip. Save your energies for the next vacation. And most importantly, save your money.