How to Save Money for Your Road Trip

Ask anyone. I’m sure just about everybody you know is saving up for something. Us, we want to go on a cross-country road trip next summer (which mean’s we’ll probably need AT LEAST $1,000) and I want to get a new lens for my camera to capture the memories (Tack on another $300-$400).

We’re hoping to save up enough money for our road trip so that we really can do all the things we want to do without saying, “Let’s not. That’s too expensive.” I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to utter those words even ONCE on a road trip. But considering the – all of about $500 (or so) that I have saved up to date, I’ll be lucky if I can even leave the state!

Starting today, we are going to do whatever we can (within reason) to save for our trip. Personally, I’m going to stash away the $10 I won on a scratch-off lottery ticket. I know, I know, but hey, at least it’s a start!

I know we are not the only people who want to take a road trip this year. I also realize that we’re surely not the only ones in this kind of a financial bind. Some people may have ridiculous mortgage payments or rent bills, years’ worth of credit card debt, extensive car repairs and oodles of other dependencies.

Overall, I’m hoping to reduce my expenses and curb my impulsive spending to set aside more money for our road trip. Here are some tips to help us all save money in 2006.

Basic Needs:

Eating:
Cut fast food out of your diet. Not only will you feel healthier, but also you’ll save anywhere from $5 a month on up, depending on how often you rely on that greasy convenience!

Shop with coupons. If you can procure coupons for something you buy regularly, or even as a treat – especially when it’s on sale in the store – you can really save a lot of money each month. My mom shops for a family of six and saves anywhere from $60 to $150 a MONTH just by using coupons and shopping especially when items she wants are on sale. Just think, that is anywhere from $720 to $1800 a YEAR!

Cook at home more, eat out less. By reducing the number of times you eat out at a restaurant, you’re not only saving on the higher prices of food, but also the amounts spent on tips, overpriced beverages and gasoline to get there.

Drinking:
Try brewing coffee at home at least part of the week. By saving gourmet coffee for special occasions and either Fridays or Mondays, you can really cut down your unnecessary expenses.

Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled spring water. Or, if your office has a spring water cooler, fill up a water bottle and drink from that throughout the day. Consider eliminating soda from your diet and drink more water! It’s very healthier for you.

Roof over our heads:
Wear warmer clothes instead of cranking the heat.

Take shorter showers.

Turn off lights you don’t need.

If you live by yourself in an apartment with a spare room, consider getting a roommate. This will help to reduce overhead tremendously!

Clothing:
Limit your shopping sprees to:
Shopping for only those items you desperately need – pantyhose, new shoes, business attire. Shop for items only when you must and save money by taking advantage of storewide sales. Just don’t go overboard!

Lifestyle Needs:
Start doing your own manicures and get your nails professionally done only for special occasions. Invest in a few bottles of nail polish, a nail file, nail polish remover and nail trimmers. You’ll save yourself a considerable amount over the course of a year.

Limit your trips to the spa. Learn how to do pedicures and facials at home, and have a girls’-night-in!

Tired of paying between $50 and $80 a month to work out at the gym? Do it the old fashioned way and run, bike and exercise on your own time. Get a group of friends together to workout with you and do exercise tapes, form a running club or play some sports!

Entertainment�
Before running out to the movies, check the TV page for any specials or made-for-TV movies that might appeal to you. Going to the movies costs close to $20 just for two people to enjoy a single show! Why not rent a movie or set up a movie-swap with some friends or neighbors. Every weekend, meet at one friend’s house, each with a small selection of DVDs or movies, and create your own mini-movie rental system that costs you only time!

Instead of giving up things in your life, take advantage of dozens of things you can do differently. These minor modifications in your life could contribute to you saving thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Now there’s that vacation you’re too strapped to take, a new laptop, digital camera or a down payment for a new car. You can achieve a number of your financial dreams – Just make a commitment and stick with it!

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