There are always things you can do to save money while traveling. These tips are what I’ve been using. You might be interested to note that you don’t really need to be a backpacker to follow them, they will help you save money even if you’re not traveling!
Tip #1 to Save Money: Cook your own food
Restaurants – even cheap fast food places – have a profit margin of approximately 25% to 75% depending on the dish you order. Think about it logically. There is no way that the restaurant would serve you anything if they weren’t making enough back to pay the chef, the waiter, the bus boy, the electric company, gas, etc. Your 2$ burger is going to pay off some of that, but because they deal in such large volumes, the rest – the vast majority – is all profit! It’s far better to buy the ingredients yourself and cook yourself food that you know is truly cheap! You can research further ways to save money by cooking food that lasts longer, can be used in multiple ways and for multiple meals!
Tip #2 to Save Money: buy alcohol only from a liquor store / wine shop
If you thought restaurants made money from food, wait till you hear this: the actual cost of alcohol to the restaurant might be as little 4% to 6% of the price you pay for your drink. That’s a profit margin of around 95%! Do yourself a favour and drink at home. Pro tip: If you learn to make good cocktails (which is more a matter of just being consistent with ingredients and volumes thereof) you will be a hit at parties. Just don’t be creepy and get all the girls drunk.
Tip #3 to Save Money: Have the right attitude
Realise this: there is always a cheaper way to get things done. Taken to an extreme level, you can always hitchhike instead of taking flights. You can dumpster dive for your food instead of buying it from a grocery store. I’m not suggesting you do any of these things, just understand the underlying principle – that no matter the activity, there is always a way to bring the cost of doing that activity down. What you sacrifice in return is comfort, convenience and ultimately, safety. Usually in that order. Somewhere in that matrix lies your personal sweet spot. You need to find it and constantly challenge yourself to do better.
Tip #4 to Save Money: Research!
The internet is your best friend when it comes to buying stuff. Everything from groceries to heavy electrical goods can be purchased online and usually for a discount. Make sure you do your research online! Even if you’re not the web savvy sort, there’s no excuse to not read up on the stuff you intend to buy online. Perhaps there’s a way to get what you need cheaper, even if it means going to a store? Maybe there’s a way to finagle what you need so that you buy less or an older model that does the same thing? You won’t know until you check and that’s why we always research!
Tip #5 to Save Money: Be Decisive
Once you’ve decided to spend money, don’t hang about waiting to decide. just do it. There’s a good chance that once you’ve found a deal it will be off the table soon. Strike while the iron is hot. Even if you realise later that there was a better way to do things or a cheaper option available, chalk that up to experience and don’t make the same mistake again!