2 Girls. 1 World. A Whole Lot to See


Instead of _____, I save for travel

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I have a bit of guilt since making travel such a priority in my life. Who do I think I am galavanting to Europe on an Italian tour? Why should I get to spend 5 days in Vermont for my anniversary? Weekend trips to Florida? A quick jaunt to Portland? White water rafting with my son this summer?

You’d think I won the lottery or something!

There’s no doubt travel costs money, but what I’ve noticed this past year is that it’s money I would have simply spent on something else.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of people trying to make ends meet. Disposable income is almost nonexistent for some in the disappearing middle class, but truth be told, some folks simply have different priorities when it comes to their money and what they do with it.

When basic needs are met, don’t we all we spend money on the things that are important to us?

I spent the last 13 years paying off student loans, car payments and credit cards to basically live a debt-free life, minus my house, of course. God, what I wouldn’t do win a sum of money equal to my mortgage! The Husband I joke about that all the time!

The funny thing is, I’ve never wanted to be rich, just comfortable, and after working my way up and out of the traditional job market, I’m getting there. There are things I do very consciously with my money and always have. In the past it was to simply pay down my bills and make ends meet, but now? Now, I save for travel instead of…

Buying a New Car

This is my baby…

The Honda Civic

Well, actually it’s The Husband’s baby but I adopted it. We bought this car brand new after college. It’s a 2000 Honda Civic with well over 150,000 miles on it. I will drive this car as long as she lets me.

We also have a 2004 Mazda wagon. Our family mobile. It’s not fancy by any means — we bought it after our first was born when we realized his car seat wouldn’t fit in the back on my Hyundai Accent.

As you can tell from the cars I have mentioned, I’ve never been one to splurge on a vehicle. It just isn’t a priority for me. The Husband, on the other hand, has dreams of some status symbol on 4 wheels. That’s cool with me — while he’s driving to wherever in an overpriced vehicle, I’ll be sipping cocktails on some beach or hiking the Grand Canyon.

Name-Brand Clothes

Now I’m lucky as I don’t have to dress up every day for the office, but even when I did, I could never, ever bring myself to spend money on expensive clothes. Maybe it’s a byproduct of going to Catholic school and wearing a uniform my entire childhood, but I never understood how someone could shell out half their paycheck for one or two outfits, let alone accessories and shoes. Again, just not a priority of mine. More power to you sharp dressers! You can find me searching the clearance rack in Old Navy.


This is another thing The Husband and I routinely joke about, especially around the holidays. I think buying jewelry as a gift is a cop out. It’s like saying,

“Hey I don’t know anything about you, so here’s some diamond earrings you should like ‘cause you’re a girl.”

Now of course that’s not true if your girlfriend/wife likes jewelry but again, like the clothes, I just never saw the point. It’s a rock you wear on your body. Cheap-o costume jewelry is fine by me when I even bother to wear it because most of the time I don’t want to spend money on something I’ll put on maybe once or twice anyway.

Daily “insert your current vice here

The Husband has a habit that shall remain nameless but let’s just say it involves spending money on something daily. I know others who can’t start the day without their fix of Starbucks. Hey, if it was up to my son he’d buy a bag of Doritos every day at lunch! (Who am I kidding, he probably is.) No judgment here, but daily vices that cost money just aren’t my thing. They add up, fast! Just $5 a day for 5 days is $100 a month you could be putting toward a rainy day or vacation fund!

Eating Out

If it was completely up to me, I’d do this even less than I already do. We, on average eat out 1 dinner a week and 2 lunches. I try to cook as much at home as possible because it’s cheaper (and I believe healthier but let’s not go there.) We recently took both kids to a Japanese steakhouse. The bill was close to what I could spend on groceries for the week. I don’t regret going — we had a great time! But I’d rather make that a once-in-a-while thing so I have more cash to put away for short trips and special evenings out. Even a trip through the drive-thru can cost us the equivalent of 2 home-cooked meals not including leftovers I can use for lunches and snacks the next day!

Buying Things When I Travel!

That may sound funny as I’m talking about travel, but it’s true. I’m not the biggest souvenir shopper. I pick a $2-$3 magnet (my collection obsession — thanks, Jen!) and that’s about it. On my recent trip to Italy I bought this hat…

Another TOTALLY worth it moment.

…for $12 at some small shop in Venice and it took me like 30 minutes to decide. It’s not that I mind spending money on things I want, I just try really hard to evaluate why I’m purchasing it and whether it’s simply going to collect dust on some shelf in my house or be lost in my seriously unorganized closet. Maybe this comes with age, but I want less stuff, not more!

I started this blog because I knew it would solidify my decision to travel as much as possible and put it even higher on my priority list. It’s doing just that, and writing this post just helped me become even a little more conscious about where I’m spending my money because I plan to squeeze as many trips in this year as possible!

Instead of _____, how do you save for travel?

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There are 6 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    February 28, 2013

    I was just saying this the other day! I'm planning 2 big trips this year and I started feeling a little guilty, but then I realized hmmm I don't like shopping, spending money on clothes/accessories and I don't have a car. I pretty much just spend my money on books and groceries lol. If traveling's my vice, I'll take it. :) Reply


    February 28, 2013

    Ditto to much of what you said. We are diligent with our money. We have one family car and a pick up truck for my husband. I have a few nicer articles of clothing, but I wear scrubs to work and workout clothing much of the time. My home is cozy, but not fancy. Trips are important and are a part of our budget. I walked by the Vitamix at Costco today and looked at it longingly, but it's just not in the budget right now nor is it a priority. A weekend getaway to NYC is on the horizon as is a trip to Annapolis in June for a half marathon, and a big trip to Mozambique this summer. Since neither my husband nor I get paid time off from our jobs we plan in advance. We also make the most of my weekends off to travel so it limits the time off without pay. My co-workers get a kick out of how much I can pack into a weekend like a 3 night trip to the Bahamas. We rolled into our driveway at 10 p.m. and I was at work by 10:50 p.m. Oh and I almost never buy things when traveling especially if they are not useful. Reply


    February 28, 2013

    We have decided to take our two kids to Disney April 2014 which gives us a year to save for this (in addition to paying bills, credit card debt, etc) so while there is very little to cut back- we are being more aware of the eating out and little things that add up. But mostly I am budgeting the extra money we get better- such as $ for birthdays or Christmas from family, money from consigning items or from extra writing assignments I get or commission my husband gets. I opened up a totally separate account to really keep track of what we have saved for our trip and how far we have to go- I think it will help balance where we stand along the way (fingers crossed!) Reply


    February 28, 2013

    I gave up Starbucks this year when I calculated that I spent about $30 a week on coffee & their protein box breakfast. That's $120 a month...sick, sick, sick. Especially now when I spend $150 or so for two weeks of groceries for myself and my mom's house with the help of coupons. So no starbucks and couponing will help me save money for traveling later this year. I've been invited to Kentucky in October so I'm trying to make that happen. Reply


    March 20, 2013

    Great blog. I give up a lot on going out to eat, an cooking most of my meals. Everything I buy is usually related to traveling. With airfare being so costly. I really have cut back, esp. on Christmas gifts I make more personal. I have the Christmas Markets booked with Trafalgar this year on the Imperial Europe, That should be interesting. I'm saving away for that one! This year my family an friends, just may get a postcard from Germany! Reply

    linda noss

    June 1, 2013

    I could almost copy/paste your blog Roni. Somewhere along the line I decided I'd rather travel than do a lot of things. We stay home and eat most of the time. If I spend much on clothes, it's in a thrift store. I would much rather have a great trip than Starbucks, jewelry or shoes,purses or whatever! Wish I had learned this earlier in life but try to make up for lost time. Hubby and I are in our late 50ies. Keep on traveling and have fun! Reply