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January 22, 2017

One of the most common excuses for not traveling is finances. But one woman just proved that finances are arbitrary for those who are able to seriously commit to goals.

Michelle McGagh recently wrote about her “buy nothing” year, during which she did not buy anything—except for basic necessities like her mortgage, utility bills, weekly groceries, insurance, cleaning products and charity donations.

After one year of cutting out unnecessary expenses, McGagh saved $27,680 (£22,439) and used that money to pay off her mortgage.

While what McGagh did was extreme, there are many places where most people could cut back. For those looking to save money for travel but are unsure where to start, take a tip from her “buy nothing” year and learn how to spend less.

Coffee

McGagh estimated that over one year she spent nearly $500 (£400) on to-go coffee every year. It’s the small, daily purchases that add up sneakily.

Transportation

McGagh limited herself to a $0 transportation budget. Everywhere she went, she biked. While this is not feasible for everyone, it is worthwhile to consider alternative modes of transportation—or take the subway or bus no matter how tempting a taxi may seem.

Entertainment

Research what’s happening around town before shelling out for an event. In the summer months, there are concerts in the park or free movie screenings at museums. With a bit of foresight and planning, it’s easy to stay entertained. Some may even consider cutting out the monthly Netflix bill in favor of a library card.

Vacations

Although it may be tempting to spend money on short daytrips or weekend jaunts out of town, save up money for longer trips by keeping short getaways cheap. Whether that means just camping in the woods or sleeping on a beach, save money for vacations from vacations.

Bar trips

The first thing McGagh did after her year of no buying was pick up a round of pints for friends and family at the local pub. Bars are some of the quickest places to drain money—especially for those who start feeling charitable after a drink or two. To cut back on spending, invite friends over for drinks at home or start nights out with a strict budget already in mind.

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