A question that Dan and I get when we tell people about our upcoming adventure is “how can you afford it?”. It’s a fair question, to start with Dan and I are lucky that we are both “savers”, we actually enjoy saving money, so truth be told we’ve been saving for our adventure since before we knew exactly what our adventure was going to be (and believe me there have been some very interesting ideas thrown around).
But once we decided what we wanted to do this time around, we set a budget and have been working towards that goal. Back in November I started to question how I could help “pad” our travel account a little more, beyond the obvious work extra shifts, this is what I did.
Sell Your Life Online
I spent one Saturday going around our condo and through our storage unit, anything we hadn’t touched in over a year went on Kijiji. I’ve never bought or sold anything on Kijiji and being a bit of a Luddite I was nervous, but it’s so simple. I started with our road bikes, they sold in less than 24 hours, and I was hooked. Dan was starting to hide things around the condo that he was scared I was going to sell, it feels so good to purge. I even discovered my inner evil self listing old camping equipment at the height of ice storm in Toronto, I know I probably should have donated them, but hey I happily gave people with no electricity lights and ways to cook at half the price they would have paid in store! Although Kijiji was a little additive it can also be a bit of extra work, if you really want to sell your stuff you need to be constantly reposting it so that it comes up on the first few pages. Also you can end up dealing with some seriously creepy people, but keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine.
Clean Out that Jewelry Box
You know those crazy “We want your gold” commercials? Well I was inspired by a particularly bad one to go and have a look at what exactly I had in my jewelry box. Funny thing, I actually wear that little jewelry that I don’t have a box, but I collected up what I had and visited a guy called Trevor D (recommend by a friend). Trevor D specializes in making gold “grills”, his “shop” was on the third floor of a sketchy building and I was worried I wasn’t going to make it out alive, but Trevor D turned out to be a really funny guy, who happily bought all my gold and silver. He even made a sizeable offer on my wedding band and engagement ring, but even I have a little sentimental attachment to them so I said I’d think about it.
Trade in Loyalty Points
We all have multiple loyalty cards floating around in our wallets and purses but how many of us ever bothering using them? I certainly don’t. So I sat down one day and set about figuring how many points we had with each of our cards. So far at the cost of ZERO to me, I have a new camera and multiple gas station gift cards (The Hulk is not cheap to feed). We also have points that can be traded in at the register for money off, for example we have nearly $40 in points for a pharmacy so we plan on stocking up with deodorant, toothpaste, etc before we leave and cash those in so that it will cost nothing, same goes for the book store!
Make a Trade
As much as Dan and I like to think we are “savers” we are also “wasters” we often just buy something new and throw out/donate are old stuff. When Dan started talking about new camera lenses it just sounded expensive to me, so I had Dan go through his camera equipment and decide what he would actually take with him and what was missing from that. Turned out he had a couple of lenses that he didn’t use all that often, so off to our local camera shop we went and traded in the lenses he didn’t need for a really versatile one that he will need (I learnt the hard way to never let Dan loose in a camera store alone when we were NYC once).
I only started doing this and it hasn’t really reaped me much money at this point, but I was fascinated to learn that you can make some money or earn points filling in surveys online (at the time of writing I have amassed $1.40). I kind of wish I had started doing this earlier but I’m going to try to do it as we travel too. Every little helps!
Spend Your Gift Cards Already
Seems obvious but Dan and I are terrible for tossing gift cards into a drawer and forgetting about them, but since we’ve been really trying to curb our spending we also realised we needed some new gear I went digging. It really paid off, we managed to shop to our hearts content (from a clearance rack) at a local retailer and walked off with over $800 (regular retail) of stuff for only $55 out of our pockets!
So there you have it, the above is just some of the ways you can help bolster any savings account with out much effort.
What’s your favourite saving trick?