Do you feel you could never save enough for that dream trip? What if I told you that you could be wrong. Over the past years, I have seen blog after blob with people telling about the amazing places they have been to. Most of them seem to be, as most of us are, average people with limited means to take such adventures. So how do they do it? I have some answers that could make that impossible dream more possible.
“How many of us would be willing to settle when we’re young for what we eventually get? All those plans we make…what happens to them? It’s only a handful of the lucky ones that can look back and say that they even came close.”
― Moss Hart, You Can’t Take it With You
- WORK HARD: Do I need to even include that one? I’m sure most of you are hardworking people and earn the best money your skills will allow. There are, however, ways you might be able to give yourselves a raise. Overtime is one way. Many companies, due to recent labor lawsuits, pay people by the hour rather than at a salaried rate. When they need a little more work done, some will provide overtime. If your company provides overtime, use it. I would do as much overtime as my company would allow. By the end of the year, I was astonished to find that I had earned over $10,000 more. Even after taxes, how much closer would that bring to your dream?
- TAXES: That’s one of the two certainties of life. But how can we use this necessary expenditure to our advantage? There are 2 ways you can plan to pay your taxes. Some of us overpay our taxes and give the government a free loan in order to get that big tax refund. Or they pay the correct amount (or as close as you can get), and put the extra money aside yourself. Either way, if you don’t plan on receiving that big tax return and put it directly in savings, you might not even miss it. If you pay less in taxes to pay the correct amount, simply put that difference aside. I put away a certain amount every months and it is great to see how fast it can turn into a wonderful vacation.
- MONTHLY EXPENSES: Of course there are certain expenses that have to, and should, come first. House payments, car loans, food, and household bills being a few of them. There are ways to save a lot of money on monthly expenses.
Your cable bill for example. Cable companies will give you a low introductory rate then shoot up the price later. First thing to go is to make sure you need all of the services you added. Cutting those premium movie channels can add up to a lot. The monthly fees for Netflix or the annual fee for Amazon Prime could save you hundreds per year and offer you a much better selection of movies. Another way to lower your bill is to negotiate with your provider.
Due to the above mentioned services, cable companies are losing customers who choose to cut the cable cord. Tell your cable company that you are a faithful customer, but you can’t afford to pay these high rates when new subscribers, who often switch back and for to get the introductory rates, get a better deal. I have gotten them to give me the introductory rate for 6-12 months every time. If you don’t believe me, try it and let me and other readers, know how it turned out.
How about food, we all have to eat right? Well there is eating in and eating out. Most people like to eat out due to the convenience. I have a better idea that will save you big. Learn to love cooking. No, I don’t think I’m out of my mind. My wife and I rarely eat out, mostly because we love to eat at home. I have learned, over the years, to make some very easy, very tasty meals and very cost effective meals. I make a shrimp scampi that most of my friends and family love, at a fraction of what it would cost to eat it out.
South Beach Diet has a series of cook books that will turn you into a lightning fast world chef. These foods are great tasting, low cost, quick and healthier for you, I call that the best of all worlds. Michelle and I have a moto. After a great meal I would ask her if she liked it. If she says yes I respond, then say it with me. We recite together, “We eat good here at the Cohen house”. It does take some time and energy but trust me; you will love the food as much as you will love the savings.
What about grocery shopping, we can’t change the prices? Oh, but you can, and there are several ways to do it. Everyone knows about sales and coupons. Looking for the sales is often an easy way to save money. What if you could use a sale price with a coupon for the same item? Check your Sunday paper carefully. Many grocery stores have super sales for items saying, “With coupon in this paper.” Look for it, I find it more often than you would think. Stock up on staples while on sale. Some stores even give you further discounts to stock up (Buy 5 and save even more). Also look at your store brand products. Ralph’s near me has a line of their products “Simple Truth Organic”. These are lower cost, healthier versions of the named brand that taste great and are better for you.
Many people do not often use coupons as they can never find the right coupons for the items they buy. What if you could get the coupons you want, when you want them? Believe it or not, you can. I have been using a program called “Supermarket Magic”. They will provide you with $1,000 worth of coupons for the products and brands of your choice. Just write your comment on this post and click on follow for future post on how to save on vacations and other stuff. I will be happy to tell you how to get one. I have saved as much as 50% of my grocery bill using this program.
- ENTERTAINMENT: There are many ways to save money on entertainment, many of which you may already know. I’m not sure why more people do not go to matinee movies. Less trouble finding seats, as opposed to the sardine effect, and of course the lower cost. To take a family of 4 to an evening movie could cost you up to three figures after refreshments. A lot of movie chains, Pacific Theaters for one, sell group activity tickets for $8 that can be used for any matinee, or first run movies after 2 weeks. That’s almost half the cost of full price evening admission.
For live theater, which is very expensive, I have found a way to get betters seats at half the cost and better. You can also get great tickets at a highly reduced rate if you check last minute. Last year Michelle and I took our grandson to “Phantom of the Opera” for $49 each in orchestra seats.
Another way to save money is to buy your tickets at the theater box office in advance. It’s worth the trouble, if you have the time, as you can get better seats than through a ticket agency, and at a much reduced cost. When possible, that’s always my way to go. Also check various ticket agencies, if necessary, as prices can vary greatly. I recently found tickets to a show Michelle really wanted to go to but was just too expensive at $200 for balcony seats. After I did my research, I found great orchestra seats for under $70.
As you can see, there are multiple tools to help you reduce the cost of many of your needed or greatly desired expenses. Why not put some off those savings away to take that trip you never thought you could. Throughout this blog, you can find other ways to save money on the actual vacation. If you give it a little time and effort you may not have to dream the impossible dream. Maybe you can live it.
Remember, write a comment in this post or another suggestion on saving for that trip, I you will receive $1,000 in your choice of grocery coupons.