The third question John and I get asked the most is, “How do you afford to do all of this?” There is actually a ton of different vlogs, blogs and accounts dedicated to this exact question. It’s a popular topic among travel bloggers and everyone’s answer is different. For us, I think the answer is that we focus on local things to do and plan weekend trips that don’t cost a lot to save our money for bigger vacations. We have always been good at planning trips that don’t cost us a lot of time off from work or money, like our trip to South Dakota. We talked in our Question #2 post about how we often only have John’s income, so its not like we have a ton of extra money to spend. We just do our best to save money by doing things that don’t cost a lot and I will do my best to outline how we save money in this post!
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”― Ray Bradbury
A lot of the ways we save money are pretty standard. We cook at home during the week and limit how much we go out (sometimes we go out more than we should!). We try to limit buying new things that we don’t really need. We are currently in the process of decluttering and getting rid of a lot of stuff that we don’t need. We like to sell this stuff on Poshmark or eBay and donate the things we don’t sell to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. We also like to shop at those places and other thrift stores like Plato’s Closet so we don’t pay full price for new things. We are discount finders and live for finding the best deal. We like rewards programs, point systems and signing up for anything that could benefit our wanderlust. One of the biggest things that has helped us in traveling is our Capital One Venture credit card. We use this card to buy things that we already have the money for and this gives us the ability to collect the miles. Our last round trip flight for two to Boston was completely free because of this card and our earned miles. While on vacation we use this card to earn even more points for the next trip. Then we just pay it off with the money we had been saving for the trip! John is always looking for cheap flights and he always uses skyscanner.com and expedia.com to find the best deals on travel.
“Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
One of the biggest things that helps us do a lot is annual passes. When we lived in Denver, Colorado we had annual passes for the National Park Service and State Parks. One fee and you have access to all parks year round. That gave us so much flexibility to experience everything. Our trips to all national parks have been very cheap, especially when you stay at the national park. Now that we live in Orlando, Florida we no longer have our National Park Service annual pass, but we now have annual passes to all theme parks in the area. One of the perks of John’s current job is he gets access to most theme parks in the area, so we only have to buy the annual passes for me. That gives us access to all the major parks throughout the year, so that’s why we’re always going to different parks and events.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
On the weekends that we don’t have a trip planned we try to do things as much as possible that don’t cost. We call them our “no-spend” weekends. So for example if we are going to the farmers market it doesn’t cost to go there, we just have to be careful of what we buy. A lot of the state parks don’t cost a lot besides an entrance fee, so we can go swimming or hiking. We also like to go to festivals and any local activities happening in the community. When we went to the Florida Strawberry Festival it only cost $5 to get in and we had a great time. Some other examples of what we do on our “no-spend” weekends include going to the beach, the library, or even just staying at home and decluttering or starting a new DIY project. Sometimes we just stay home all weekend and binge-watch some Netflix or I’ll read while John plays video games. I’m not saying we don’t spend any money at all these weekends, but we do our best to keep the spending to a minimum!
“I live with the things that I love: art, furniture, and objects that I have collected throughout my travels.” – Lisa Marie Presley
We do our best to save money, but at the same time we want to have fun and we want to enjoy where we are. I think it’s important to explore where you live as a tourist. I know we were guilty of not doing this when we lived in Mississippi, but it’s something we picked up when we moved to Denver and now here and it’s such a good way to find something new in the area that you may not have experienced before. We just want to do as much as we can where we are and really take advantage of our life. We are really lucky to have lived in the places we have and we aren’t planning on stopping now. We are always planning our next big trip, but in the meantime we try to do local things that don’t cost that much. We hope this inspires you to plan something fun this month like checking out that museum in your city that all the tourists go to or see what popular restaurants you may have been overlooking! Share your plans with us in the comments!
This post also ends our three most asked questions series. What other questions do you have for us that we can answer? Please let us know in the comments or by reaching out to us on social media! Find us on Facebook at Let’s Find Fun, on Instagram @letsfindfun and Twitter @_LetsFindFun.