Six Creative Ways to Save Money for Travel

Since I have quit my full-time job to become a stay-at-home to my two babies, leaving my husband to pay the bills on his own (well, almost - I still do substitute teach now and then, but my income is nowhere near where it used to be), our travel adventures have definitely decreased due to financial constraints. Not to mention the logistics of trying to travel with a two-year-old and a three-year-old.

That doesn't mean my travel dreams are any less lofty, and my travel bucket list seems to be growing longer rather than diminishing, so what's a girl to do?

I have been scrimping and saving, hoarding my change and errant dollar bills like a miser, trying to raise funds for my next trip to... well, anywhere. In my National Geographic 'dream book', I have about 10 well-planned and detailed travel itineraries to various places on the globe that I'd love to go visit. It is just a matter of the money.

What have I been doing to save? I'd love to share my ideas with you. None of these ideas require you to sign up for an online company, sell pyramid-scheme style merchandise to your friends, or waste your time on a second job that in reality pays next to nothing for your efforts. Also, none of these ideas rake in TONS of cash, otherwise I'd be writing from Bali instead of my living room. But every bit helps, does it not?

1. Facebook Buy and Sell Pages

This has been my biggest travel money maker over the past few months. I might even have a slight addiction. I am part of about 50 buy and sell pages, where I sell used baby and kids' clothes, used toys, used ladies' articles of clothing, household objects I no longer need and basically anything I want to declutter out of my house. I had so much stuff, I even made my own 'buy and sell' page so people could shop for themselves!

Selling used kids clothes can add up if you have what other people are looking for!

It is a simple concept: take a photo of your item, place a price on it as well as any other additional information like clothing size and brand, and post it to the buy and sell page. Let others know where to pick up, or if you are willing to deliver, and cross your fingers that someone is looking for exactly what you are offering.

Sometimes I also scan the buy and sell pages to see what people are searching for. Often potential buyers will post an "ISO" (in search of) request, and I try to be one of the first people to message them and say, "I have what you need!"

These pages are a great way to make a little extra cash, as well as clean and declutter your home. And the bonus is, if the item you have for sale is not interesting anyone, you won't feel bad about eventually donating it because that's where it was headed anyways.

2. Sell Produce I Grow

I have a well-established apple tree in my yard that I take very good care of. In return, this one tree pumps out apples like crazy! I could not possibly eat them all myself. In the past, I was walking around the neighbourhood with bags of apples, trying to hand them out to anyone who'd begrudgingly take one. Then someone complained to me, "I'd love to take some apples, but I just don't have time to peel and chop them all."

I didn't blame them. The apples are larger versions of crab apples, only sweeter and about the size of a child's fist. They can be time-consuming to chop. And there I found value: I didn't mind peeling and chopping the apples for others, but I wasn't going to do it for free.

My apples were a hit in my little town! I will do this again next year.

So I spent about two weeks peeling my crab apples with my trusty Starfrit, then chopped them all into apple-crisp-ready size chunks. I bagged them and froze them to preserve their freshness and sold them for $10 a bag. Due to the amount of apples my tree pumped out, I had a TON of bags to sell. Those that didn't sell, I used for myself to make apple pie filling and apple crisp. Win-win for me!

3. Bottle Drive

I am not encouraging you to go door-to-door in a massive bottle drive, begging strangers for their empties. But I do gather all of our bottles and cans regularly and take them to the depot myself, then stash the cash before I have a chance to spend it. Even when we go out for an event, if I find myself with an empty bottle I'll take it home with me instead of tossing it in the garbage. Hey, I paid for that deposit!

Reduce, reuse, and more lucratively - recycle!

Some of my neighbours know that I have a slight obsession with collecting bottles for my travel fund, so every now and then, when they are feeling lazy and don't want to go to the depot themselves they'll toss a bag of cans my way. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

While scrimping and saving bottle money might seem degrading or desperate to some, I am always pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can save a decent amount of coinage out of waste. And if anyone wants to donate to me, I am more than willing to set my dignity aside and accept the help.

4. Family and Friends GoFundMe Page

This may be a controversial method for many people. On the suggestion of some people who I chat with on Twitter, I set up a GoFundMe travel page. This was NOT an attempt to wrangle money from strangers to set myself up for a holiday. I made the page for family and friends as an option for gift-giving at holidays and birthdays. I have relations that live far away, and when asked, "What do you want for Christmas?" I will add contributing to the fund as one of their options. So far only two people have donated to it, and I am ecstatic and grateful that they did but don't really believe I can fund an entire trip based on donations. Nor would I want to.

And I do feel a little ridiculous even including this as a 'saving for your trip' method. GoFundMe is typically used as a crowd-sourcing tool for more noble endeavours, like helping those dealing with grief, loss and disease. I get that completely. That's why I don't do things like add a link to my GoFundMe page at the end of every email or post flyers around town. I just let my friends and family know that it exists in case they want to use it as a method of gift-giving in the future.

This is a POSSIBLE way to save - but don't go pestering strangers.

Also, GoFundMe takes a percentage of everything your fund earns. If it is easier for your loved ones to just mail you the traditional 'cheque inside the Christmas card', then by all means do that instead and save that 'finder's fee' that GoFundMe charges.

5. Get Crafty

I am no Martha Stewart, but I do like getting creative now and then. And when I do get creative, I try to do projects that give me a little return on my time and supplies.

One of the diaper cakes I have for sale - crafting with purpose!

I make diaper cakes. Then I sell them. They do not fly off the shelf like hot cakes, but I manage to sell maybe one a month. This does not make me a ton of money (I make less than $10 off each cake when supplies are accounted for), but at least my crafty hobby pays for itself, plus a teensy bit more. And that teensy bit more goes into my travel fund. Like I said, every bit helps.

6. AdSense for Google

This is my most recent adventure into travel saving. Until a couple of months ago, I refused to monetize this blog at all, and made it a point of pride that I didn't have ads, use sponsored links, or sell guest post spots.

But it is hard to maintain a travel blog when you can't afford to travel, so I sucked it up and entered the slightly confusing world of blog monetization. As you can probably see, I do have ads on the side bar of my blog, and under each post. (Feel free to click on them if you see an ad that interests you - make my travel dreams come true!)

Growing my blog will help me to save for future travels.

I also monetized my YouTube channel, mainly because every other travel video I have seen on YouTube has ads, and people still happily watch them. Can't hurt, thought I. So you can freely watch my videos on repeat, knowing that you are doing your daily good deed by helping me save up for a much-awaited bucket list adventure! Look at you and all your kindness!

Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

This is a really slow and agonizing way to make your money, so unless your blog and YouTube channel are hoppin', don't rely on this method as your sole way to save for travel. It has been months, and I am not even remotely close to hitting the first payment threshold. But it is passive income and I like the idea that my TRAVEL videos will help me meet my future TRAVEL goals. Full circle and whatnot.

So those are currently my six methods of craftily saving for travel. As I said, I do substitute teach but that money is kind of already called for: most of what I make subbing goes back into childcare, and what is left goes into the household bills and groceries. What I make from the above strategies is piddly on its own, so I don't feel bad saving this money for myself. It isn't adding up FAST, but it is adding up, and that's what counts.

What are some ways you save for travel? I'd love to try out some of your ideas!

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