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I keep a very extensive budget for my personal and travel expenses. It helps so much to physically see what you have spent money on, in one place.

Before I started budgeting, I would look at my checking account, think “Yep, I’m not at zero, so sure, I’ll go the movies.”

But now, I plan. I see what expenses I have coming up for this year, the month, the week, and I adjust “allowances” accordingly. If I have to get my oil changed for my car, I won’t go out to dinner on Friday.

  • Keep an up-to-date budget. Download my budget template. Read my comments with the red corners.

  • Have multiple streams of income. I have always had 2+ jobs, main and side, because travel isn’t cheap. More practically, if one job falls through, then you will still have some income coming in. (I work full-time, plus as a host at a restaurant 10 hours a week, and I do some free lance marketing).

  • Prioritize your expenses. Would you rather spend money on clothes/beer or travel?

  • Have a savings account. Don’t play games with yourself and think that you’ll mentally put money aside in your checking account. Have a separate account that you do not regularly use and that just sits there. You shouldn’t be taking money out of a savings except a few times a year, just putting money in.

  • Automatic deposit. If you have trouble remembering to pay bills on time, set up auto deposit to pay rent, phone bills, AND add money to your savings. (Just make sure there’s always enough money in the account).

  • Find fun activities that cost little to no money. Go to the park, a drive, get ice cream or coffee, watch a movie at home, take out.

  • Calm down - If you do have to go out and spend money, don't ball out. Get an appetizer for dinner or some sides instead of a $20 entree that you're not going to fully eat and will make you fat. Pregame at home and seek drink specials. I hate spending $10 at a bar when I can buy a bottle at Meijer for $15. 

  • Get a credit card that gives you rewards. I have a Capital One Venture, Discover It, and Delta credit card I rotate usage depending on the cash back categories.  Read about how I use travel points.

New Orleans

New Orleans

Travel Points

Travel Points