Danielle Desir, Creator of the Thought Card
Credit: Danielle Desir

So you made travel a financial priority. You follow all the travel budget guides and you created a travel fund to keep track of your savings and expenses. Every pay period you faithfully save for upcoming trips. You even stopped buying coffee. Maybe you picked up a part-time job to bring in some extra cash. Friends…what friends? Eating out is a thing of the past. Do any of these sound familiar? If you are doing any of these things, I commend you. Saving for travel is a lot of hard work.

For most of us, saving for travel requires making sacrifices.

When you save you give something up today. In return, you can afford the things or experiences you want later on. If you’ve read stories about how people saved money to travel the world, they often talk about changing their lifestyle. In so many words, they are referring to making sacrifices to pursue their travel dreams.

Some people sacrifice their time while others sacrifice their financial freedom. In a week in Iceland on $100, Natasha mentioned that she waited tables at a restaurant for a year to fund her 8-month trip around Europe. I also know a couple that sold their cars to backpack around Southeast Asia.

Unless you are rich, you will likely have to give up something to afford to save for travel.

[Related Post: The Thought Card Shares 6 Steps You Can Take To Become A Financially Savvy Traveler]

Saving For Travel With Reverse Budgeting

A few months ago a big opportunity to travel presented itself. But there was only one problem. I didn’t have that kind of money lying around. Truthfully, I almost gave up on the idea. Although I thought that I couldn’t possibly save another penny, this opportunity encouraged me to be creative.

Before completely giving up on the idea, I started tricking myself into saving more by what I call, “reverse budgeting”. I found that I could save a little more money by keeping track of what that I did not spend.

Here are a few examples:

So let’s say, you are walking by Starbucks and you are craving a cup of coffee. If for some reason you choose against it, immediately pull out your bank app and transfer $5 into your travel fund.

Did you walk instead of taking the train? That’s savings into your travel fund. If you saved 10% with a coupon, do the math, that’s more savings!

Reverse Budgeting Mindset and Results

Reverse budgeting requires being conscious and having the discipline to immediately transfer money into your travel fund. Even though it’s a little tedious to keep track of, I don’t mind the inconvenience. In fact, I think if you’re saving for travel (or saving in general), it’s definitely worth giving it a try.

I saved an extra $232 last month by reverse budgeting. This is in addition to my usual travel savings! I would have never noticed these unspent funds if I didn’t put it away, immediately.

So now I’m one step closer to pursuing my big trip. And I don’t mind the savings trickery because hey, it’s getting the job done.

Follow Danielle Desir on Facebook and Twitter: Danielle Desir is a Travel Finance Strategist that uses her financial background and knack for financial planning to empower those who want to travel afford travel and excel in their personal finances. She shares creative planning strategies, saving tips, cheap flight deals and even talks about her student loan repayment journey on her blog, The Thought Card. Her financial expertise has taken her across the globe to over 19 countries (and counting), all while paying off her student loans, saving for a house and working full-time.

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