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Travel Tips

How to Pad Your Travel Fund

Saving enough cash to sweep yourself off on a dream getaway can seem like an impossible feat (especially with Apple Pay making impulse buys that much easier). But if you’re really determined, you can totally make it happen. Here, eight ways to get that nest egg growing.

A Brooklyn-based writer and editor, Chelsea's work has appeared in Matador Network, The Huffington Post, the TripAdvisor blog, and more. When not planning her next trip, you'll usually find her drinking way too much iced coffee (always iced—she’s from New England) or bingeing a Netflix original series.

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Set up a dedicated savings account.

Having a separate account in addition to your regular checking and savings means there’s no chance of accidentally dipping into your travel reserves. It also means you can easily set up automatic monthly transfers as if you were paying a bill, which, after a couple of months, will become so routine you won’t even realize it’s happening.

Use apps and sites to save.

We get it: sometimes, you just have to indulge in a little shopping. When you do, you should have a few apps and sites in your back pocket to help shave off some dough. If you’re an online shopper, Ebates offers coupons and cash back for purchases made with nearly every major retailer. If you travel a lot for business, the Thanks Again app can save you money on just about everything airport-wise: simply register your existing credit or debit card and earn a point for every dollar spent on airport parking, dining, and general purchases. Once you collect enough points, you can hand them in for airline miles, hotel points, or Visa cash cards. The best part? These points are accumulated on top of any rewards your card already collects through your bank. Double whammy, baby!

Cut out unnecessary expenses.

As fellow java addicts with a penchant for convenience, we get that this is probably the most challenging way to save money. But consistently avoiding cabs when you could ride the subway and resisting the urge to drop $6 on a venti iced dirty chai, opting instead for your office’s Keurig, can save you loads in the long run.

Put away all OT pay (and a chunk of your regular paycheck, if you can swing it).

The great thing about OT pay is that it’s money you’re not used to having in a regular paycheck. While this can often be used as an excuse to buy that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing or take yourself out to a fancy dinner, diverting it straight to your dedicated savings account is the way to go. OT out of sight, OT out of mind.

Stow away all extra windfall cash.

Tax returns, birthday card fivers (thanks, Grandma!), scratch-off lotto winnings, random bills you find on the sidewalk – you name it, you bank it. Any and all extra money should be siphoned right into your savings account because, in the end, which would you prefer: a new (but unnecessary) TV, or putting the finishing touches on an out-of-office email as you prep yourself for a week-long beach sesh in Tulum?

Sell that stuff in the back of your closet.

Whether it’s clothes, electronics, or extra furniture, there’s a good chance you’re harboring a bunch of sellable goods. If you have a considerable amount of stuff you’re ready and willing to part with, try a good old-fashioned garage or stoop sale. If you have just a few things here and there, you can always turn to Craigslist or Ebay. For clothing, try posting your wares on sites like Tradesy and Poshmark. If that doesn’t work, you can always pop into your neighborhood consignment shop.

Stick to a budget.

The word "budget" is definitely up there in terms of bad "B" words in our book, but thanks to modern technology, monitoring your finances doesn’t have to be such a headache. If you can’t rely on yourself to limit your card swiping to a minimum, connect your bank accounts to apps like Mint, PocketGuard, or Level Money for detailed visuals and reports about your spending habits (watch out: there’s no lying about your Seamless addiction here). Hoping to maintain your fiscal mindset on vacation, too? Keep yourself in check with Trail Wallet – a simple expense-logging app that helps manage your daily budget by sending alerts if you’re spending too much or congratulatory notifications if you’re clocking in under your goal.

Old-school piggy bank it.

We all know the old adage: a penny saved is a penny earned. But whoever said that wasn’t lying! Stowing change in a piggy bank or mason jar probably won’t buy you a trip to the Maldives, but if you were to put in 75 cents a day, you’d rack up more than $270 a year – enough to buy a domestic flight or some pretty rad souvenirs.

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