“Take vacations. Go as many places as you can. You can always make money. You can’t always make memories.”
I saw this posted in a Filipino investors’ Facebook group, and it really caught my attention because I kind of agree and disagree. The person who posted it also remarked on the financial sustainability of this kind of thinking.
As a new associate financial planner, I can’t help but comment on the issue raised. Travelling is equivalent to discovering the beauty that God has made for us to enjoy. Travelling is not a financial sin; luxury traveling is when you can’t afford it. We are only passers-by on earth, so we might as well enjoy the world – without blowing our budget in that case. On the subject of travelling and finances, I always believe in being an “Ultimate”. An Ultimate is the one who invests and who enjoys life at the same time. A Sacrificer is the one who misses everything and places all his money on investments instead.
When it comes to financial planning, a person should know what his or her priorities are before anything else. This will guide him or her in the whole process. But as an Ultimate who encourages people to take care of their finances while enjoying life, here are my tips on how to save money even when travelling out of the country.
Plan your luggage
In order not to incur extra baggage fees, plan your luggage at least a day before your departure. Choose basic clothing which you could mix and match. Bring only 2 to 3 pairs of shoes which you can pair with your entire packed fashion ensemble. Now, if you’re staying for a couple of months in one place, then you could just bring the most essential things that might cost more expensive in your destinations.
Take my case for instance: half of my baggage was filled with clothes and half was filled with the necessary toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, washing machine powder, toothpaste and the likes. (I was travelling for months, that’s why.) That way, I have saved on my groceries while ensuring that I wouldn’t exceed my luggage when going home. I need space for the pasalubong, right?
Don’t go heavy on the pasalubongs
Your families, friends and officemates would understand that your care and love for them are not necessarily directly proportional to the size or cost of your pasalubong. In order not to starve your bank accounts, you can look for half-priced chocolates. Just double check on the expiry date. Or you can even haggle with the vendors if you’re buying from the locals. You can also look for promos so you can save up some bucks. Also, choose items with lightweight materials. Heavy translates to additional baggage.
Always ask for tax-free shopping forms
This is one of the things that I am absolutely unaware of until my workmate told me. When shopping abroad, you always have the right to ask for tax-free shopping forms. Tax-free shopping means that you can purchase items and services without paying the corresponding taxes. This is because you’re just a foreigner in the country. However, you still have to pay the full amount (the one with tax) first. The VAT will just be refunded to you via cash on exchange centers, usually the airport, or via credit card.
Just be sure that you keep these forms along with the original receipts. Be sure too that you process these documents before you come home. Those refunds can still be used for something else more important. Don’t be shy to ask. Most cashiers wouldn’t offer those readily, so you really have to ask.
Rent a car
Transportation can be costly around big cities. If you’re traveling with a group, you can opt to go for car rental instead. That would be a whole lot cheaper especially if you guys could fill up the maximum capacity of the car. On top of the savings, it would be fun to explore the city by yourselves, and you’ll have more control over your time when touring around. Don’t worry of getting lost. What’s the use of your GPS anyways?
And, if the spot is just some kilometers away, your group can opt to go for a walk instead and get a feel of the city.
Leave your postpaids behind
One major reminder that I have gotten from a network representative was about my postpaid cellphone. If you’re abroad and you’re still using your postpaid, you can be incurred of extra-expensive phone chargers. Even if somebody will just call your number and you wouldn’t answer it, you will be charged. You can just deactivate it for some time, but to be sure, just leave it. You can always have Skype or Viber or Facebook. There are just a ton of ways of communicating nowadays.
Talk to locals
A great way to enjoy the city is by talking to the locals. It’s also a good way of getting what you need. Being shy and silent lets you miss many experiences that you can actually have for free or at a much lower rate. The last time we went to Dublin, each of us were given a discount on the bus tour because the bus driver thought I was still a student. When I talked to him after seeing that the ticket station has closed, he was very happy to tour us around on a discounted price. If I haven’t, we would not have seen that beautiful city.
Avail promos and discounts
Before and during a trip, promos and discounts can save you a lot of money. Grab those airfare promos and scout for the best travel packages. It also works when you’re already in your destination. We ordered pizza for dinner one time, and my housemate kept bugging me to ask if there’s a free soda because he saw it in one of the flyers. So speaking on the phone, “Could we have a free soda?”. The pizza guy said he could give us 2 bottles for free because we ordered more than 4 boxes. We didn’t have to pay for 2 bottles of soda.
Let not the high of traveling make you forget about your finances. When payday comes, transfer it to your emergency fund. Pay that healthcare due. Buy that blue chip stocks you’ve been eyeing on. Just because you’re on travel doesn’t mean that your finances take on the vacation leave too.
Aiza Coronado is a financial literacy advocate and a writer who doubles as a test engineer during the weekdays. She has this philosophy of having a “happy present, happy future” when it comes to finances. That way, she doesn’t miss a lot on life while building her financial tract. Try stepping into her boots and see how she does it in her blog: LoveisaMutt.
The views & opinions expressed in this special guest post are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of MoneyMax.ph as a whole.
People who read this also liked: