Saving is the name of my game. After saving money for travel (also called: my life) religiously for the past 9 months, I think I’ve got the idea down. When travel is my goal, I work hard to play hard—while I try to keep expenses down on any trip, I put in major effort to save up the money in the first place so I can enjoy it all. Here’s the 5 main ways I save my money in order to travel:

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The good life: beers at sunset // Zadar, Croatia

1. I re-evaluated my spending lifestyle

Aka, I stopped spending money wherever I could. I’ve never been one of those people who is always trying to “keep up” with whatever is “in” or trendy—I don’t have the latest phone (yes, I still refuse to get a Smartphone), tech gadget, clothing brands, don’t worry about the hottest bars, etc., and that keeps my expenses way down. I mainly changed my habits by stopping going out. Whether it’s for meals, drinks, or a fun night on the town, I basically never go out, ever. In college, I would go out several times a week—now I go out maybe once a month. This has been the biggest game changer for me.

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2. Cut unnecessary expenses

Anything that isn’t absolutely necessary: gone. I don’t have a Smartphone, so I don’t spend money on extra data plans. It sucks not having it, but I gave up my gym membership—every once in a while I’ll get in as a guest with my mom or a friend. Anything that cost money that I don’t absolutely need, I won’t pay for it. I usually ask myself how much I could do with that money on my trip, like “I could buy that sweater, or I could spend an extra day in Ireland.” It helps make the choice pretty clear for me.

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3. Minimize the necessary expenses

I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to live at home with my parents, so I’m very lucky not to have a rent check due every month. But obviously there are expenses I can’t avoid. Whatever they are, I work out ways to reduce the money I absolutely have to spend. I’m constantly on the lookout for any way to pinch pennies or save a dollar or two. Generic brand name food and leftovers for lunch? Done. Taking the bus to work instead of driving and paying to park? Done. Food, transportation, utilities: if I absolutely have to pay for it, I try to find ways to make it cheaper.

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4. Sell it

Living with my parents, I have very few large personal possessions that I actually own and can sell—I don’t have my own house or car or kitchen table. However, when it comes to books, clothes, movies, random junk, you name it: I’d sell it. Even if it’s only $5, I’ll sell it for a quick buck. Anything that I don’t need is out the door. (Also it feels so good to have a nice closet purge.)

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5. Extra cash flow

Close to #4, if there is a way for me to earn an extra buck, I do it. Any sort of job that gives me more income (to save for traveling), I do. I have a second (and had a third) job, will always pick up an extra shift if I can, am always up for petsitting or housesitting for my neighbors, I’ve dug trenches through backyards, and here and there will teach a yoga class. I am hustling every day, constantly, like it’s my job. Every extra cent is put towards traveling, and every extra dollar goes into trip funds.

Do you have any tips and tricks for saving money? Let me know in the comments!