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Pennies a Day Travel Saving Strategy

The Pennies a Day Method of Saving Travel funds — Do you have pocket change? Then you can travel. Much of the information on Vagabond Journey.com is geared towards the traveling lifestyle. I know that any sort of lifestyle requires sacrifices that not every person is willing to make. Many of the how to save [...]

The Pennies a Day Method of Saving Travel funds —

Do you have pocket change? Then you can travel.

Much of the information on Vagabond Journey.com is geared towards the traveling lifestyle. I know that any sort of lifestyle requires sacrifices that not every person is willing to make. Many of the how to save money for traveling tips that I have been collecting on this site do not only require massive compromises in comfort, they require nothing short of a revolution in lifestyle.

This is what they are meant to do . . . though not everyone wants to live inside of their car like a homebum, scavenge every penny like a beggar, and work 70 hour weeks like a salary man in order to just travel like sad old Willie Lonesome for 2 years.

No, not every one who wants to travel, wants to travel absolutely. It is my impression that most people are a touch more moderate and want to have lives off the Open Road.

This travel tip is for these folks.

Actively Save Your Pocket Change and Travel

It is my impression that almost anybody from the USA, Western Europe, or Australia, Japan, Korea, Canada, or another such high wage paying country could travel abroad every year regardless of income and with zero major changes to lifestyle.

How? Actively save your pocket change.

By actively saving pocket change, I do not mean just keeping your spare quarters and dimes in a piggy bank. No, I mean TRYING to get as many quarters, dimes, and nickles as you possible can.

How? By never spending any change.

Acively save pocket change for travel

Acively save pocket change for travel

If you always spend whole bills, never count out or pay with change, and treat your change as if it were mini remnants of a ticket to a far off land, then I say that you could go abroad for a three week vacation every year without regard to how much money you make, how much money you spend, or without any major change in lifestyle.

How to actively save pocket change

Actively saving pocket change means if your bill at the grocery store comes to $49.02, pay with a $50, and save the 98 cents.

Every time you fill up your car with gas try to go over a whole number by a few cents to collect the most change possible. So if you want $10 in gas, don’t let off the handle until it hits $10.01. Then pay with $11, and keep the 99 cents for traveling.

If you buy a 25 cent candy bar, pay with a whole dollar, and then stash the 75 cents in your travel fund.

Like this, you could save up travel funds without really ever missing the money stashed inside the piggy bank.

In an odd way, this saving strategy turns spending money into saving money. The more transactions you make throughout a day, the more chances you have for saving money to traveling.

I have a hypotheses that if a person was to ALWAYS pay in whole bills at every transaction they make throughout a day, kept their accumulation of change in a special pouch, and then deposited it into a jar at night, they could save at least a thousand dollars a year.

A thousand dollars is more than enough money for a three week vacation abroad — airfare included.

To fly from New York City to Costa Rica and back again this autumn would cost $263 on TACA air. This leaves $737 for a three week in Central America. On a $30 a day budget — more than enough for a dorm bed, food, transport, and a few beers in Costa Rica — you would come out to spending $630. This leaves a $100 buffer for more beer.

This travel saving strategy is meant to be an underhanded way to save travel funds. A lesson in self trickery.

It is true, you will not make any more money by doing this, but it is my impression that you should be able to save more by collecting your funds in such an inconsequential manner. Few people fret over their pocket change: it is almost disposable. By creating as much of it as possible and then saving it, I feel that you could save up your travel funds without ever missing a single cent.

The pennies a day travel saving strategy is a way to save money without even knowing it.

The pennies a day travel strategy test

I believe that this very simple strategy for saving travel funds would enable people to travel abroad each year without making much of a change in their lifestyle.

Though I cannot prove it.

I would like to be able to actively save my change for a few months to see how much I can get, but I am not a good example.

I don’t buy anything. I don’t go out on the weekends, I don’t go to bars, and I generally only do activities that don’t cost anything. Both Chaya and I often make no more than two or three monetary transactions a week: we buy groceries and gas once a week, and that is about it. We are both far too wrapped up in the “don’t buy anything you will not croak without” travel philosophy to be able to test this  travel fund saving strategy properly.

I am looking for a few readers to test this hypotheses for me. I am looking for some people with more usual spending tendencies — some people who are not prone to saving every last cent and who actually spend some of the money they work for each week — to actively save their change for at least one month.

My hypotheses is not only that saving change could compliment other saving strategies — this is obvious, my mother has always save change to help pay for family vacations — but that it can be someone’s only saving strategy for a yearly bought of international travel.

I want to able to suggest a way to fully pay for a three week vacation abroad without incurring ANY real lifestyle change and does not necessitate any additional funds.

Any takers? Any one want to only spend whole bills in an effort to save as much change for traveling as possible? If so, send me an email or comment below and I will publish your progress reports at regular intervals on this travelogue.

. . .just looking for new paths through the woods, as always.

How to save money for travel

  • Free Accommodation is the first step to saving travel funds
  • How to save money to travel

It is possible

Filed under: Economics, Save Money for Travel, Start Traveling, Travel Economics, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3413 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

11 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Pearl August 22, 2009, 3:31 am

    Have you ever been to Australia, Wade?
    I know its a bit off topic, but I just wanted to know…

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com August 25, 2009, 8:21 pm

      Nope, though I am thinking about getting one of those youth working visas though. But I have to act fast because I would need to do it before I am 30 years old!

      Maybe we will see you soon!

      Wade

      Link Reply
  • Pearl August 26, 2009, 1:51 am

    Can’t wait!

    Link Reply
  • Apartments in Miami August 28, 2009, 8:00 am

    Interesting post, I like this story and have managed to find a lot of useful traveling tips and advices for myself. Great traveling strategy, indeed. Many thanks.

    Link Reply
  • Yah hey wah October 22, 2009, 10:21 pm

    I like your website. It’s so cute. I was trying to get tips by way of the
    internet for a trip across america to open mankind’s eyes for a need to love
    and remember the very young among us and their need for love and to cherish
    their young lives.

    Hope to come to your neck of the woods and hug that cutie you got there, sir!

    Blessed to you both.

    Link Reply
  • Michelle July 1, 2010, 8:42 pm

    “I am looking for a few readers to test this hypotheses for me. I am looking for some people with more usual spending tendencies — some people who are not prone to saving every last cent and who actually spend some of the money they work for each week — to actively save their change for at least one month.”

    I’ll give it a try, although I’m just now seeing this post and it is nearly a year old. Even though I rarely buy things with cash, almost always with my debit card, my bank happens to offer a savings option that does exactly as you suggest. (Bank of America’s Keep the Change)

    Oh my! Current terms are that they match the savings at 100% for the first 3 months, then 5% afterwards up to $250 per year. (Some fine print but I can live with the terms in my case.)

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com July 2, 2010, 10:23 am

      Thanks,

      We really appreciate it!

      Let us know how it works out.

      Walk Slow,

      Wade

      Link Reply
      • Michelle August 31, 2010, 3:15 pm

        So, I’ve two months worth of data. It turns out to be far less than I expected. On the other hand, it did prompt me to set up a savings account and to also set up automatic fixed amount transfers to it so while the Keep the Change aspect be small, auto transfers still means I’m saving more than before. (When money is not in my checking account, I don’t think about having it to spend. It is hiding safely in my savings account instead now.)

        Keep the change total from debit card purchases for July:
        $11.47

        Keep the change total from debit card purchases for August:
        $19.63

        The amounts above, my bank will match at 100% although not until next year.

        Cash transactions, I was not diligent about tracking but figure about another $25 total in spare change over the course of July and August.

        I will pursue this savings strategy with more diligence over September and report back again.

        Link Reply
        • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com August 31, 2010, 11:00 pm

          This is excellent. Thank you for doing this, your data is awesome. So it looks like from two months that you will ultimately have saved $87 when your bank matches the debit card purchases. Not bad, I suppose, for saving money that you would not really miss otherwise. Keep us posed, this is interesting.

          I just read a story about a Chinese guy buying a new van from saving 1 yuan bills (pocket change worth around 12 cents a piece). It is amazing when you can get something from adding up all of your nothing money.

          Keep us posted.

          Thanks.

          Link Reply
          • Michelle October 1, 2010, 3:10 pm

            Back with another month of data. I used my debit card far less this month.

            Keep the change total from debit card purchases for September:
            $9.02

            The amount above, my bank will match at 100% although not until next year.

            I did quite a lot of cash transactions this month, mostly going out to cash only bars. I instituted a self-imposed tax of setting aside $1 for every drink since I am typically charged in whole dollar amounts. This gets around the not having any change back from each transaction. Cash transactions brings me $37 to place into savings.

            Not spare change but savings related:
            In July, I had set $25 a month to be a recurring monthly draft from my checking account to my savings account. In August, I bumped it to $25 a week. In September, I bumped it up to $35 a week. Since I apparently still have plenty of discretionary income to go drinking, I’m bumping it to $45 a week in October. My savings account and my waist line will both be happier for less spending on booze.

            In travel news, I’m off to Ireland for a brief vacation in November.

            Link Reply
            • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 1, 2010, 3:17 pm

              This is truly excellent saving data. It is far easier to not spend as much money when it seems like you don’t have in, now? Saving over $60 a week for travel is a real good amount — especially when it seems as if you can still live an enjoyable lifestyle while doing it.

              You are truly a landmark traveler for being able to do this. Most people just can’t seem to save money regardless of how much they make. You really seem to have what it takes to obtain the resources to travel. Good on you!

              Thanks,

              Wade

              Link Reply