10 Ways to Save Money to Travel & Save the Planet

Our family is frugal.  Living an inexpensive lifestyle has always been a part of our process for saving money to travel, but over the past year we have taken it to a new level.   Our motivation to save money has now become secondary to our motivation to live a green lifestyle.

10 Ways to Save Money to Travel & Save the Planet

1. Eat lower on the food chain.

The simple fact is, meat production has a huge environmental impact and the average North American eats 2-3 times more protein per day than their body needs.  Our family now only eats meat on special occasions, if we go out for dinner, or if we eat at someone’s house.  Meat is expensive and moving to a plant friendly diet saves us major money on the grocery bill.

2. Re-evaluate your transport options.

In some places being a car free family is easily doable.  But the lack of public transport where we live makes it pretty hard to be car free.  We are however, now a one car family.  Although not always convenient, it has not been a hard adjustment.  Insurance, repairs, and maintenance bills have all been cut in half.  And because we are very careful with planning our outings our gas consumption has been drastically reduced.

3.  Second hand shopping.

I view second hand shopping as a sport.  I absolutely love second hand shopping. Almost all our clothes, toys, games, and household items are purchased second hand.  I am sure the savings are in the thousands of dollars and we opt out of the environmentally detrimental consumer mentality.

4. Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry.

I find hanging my clothes out on the line to be the most zen like “chore” I do.  And if you ask me, a towel doesn’t feel clean if it’s not crispy!  Your dryer is a  huge energy hog so save your money and let the sun do the work for you!  And your clothes will be just as clean if they are washed in cold water.

Drying clothes on the line!

5. Xeriscape your yard.

I dislike grass.  Sure its nice to touch and pretty to look at but it is such a stupid plant.  To keep it nice you need to use a ridiculous amount of water and most people like to fertilize and weed kill to keep their lawns looking beautiful.  We have gone with a low maintenance, no water yard choosing to save our time and money for more important things.

6. Grow a garden.

Our garden is the only place in our yard where we use irrigation and we get fresh veggies all summer long.  It’s not a lot of work and it is so satisfying to pick the fruits of your labor and serve them up in a salad.  There is nothing more local than your own back yard!  I estimate that we save around $200-$300 per year by having a veggie garden.

My tomato plants.

7. Make your own cleaning products.

Water and vinegar are my trusted cleaners and I now make my own laundry detergent.  No phosphates or harsh chemicals are going down my drain and it is so cheap to do!

8. Eat local, freeze food!

Every summer we stock up on our local produce at farmers markets and u-pick farms then we freeze, freeze, freeze.  My preferred container for freezing is in glass jars because I am concerned about BPA leaking plastic (just make sure to only fill the jars up 3/4 full).  At the end of summer we have our deep freeze full of fruit and vegetables that we will eat all winter long for a fraction of the price of buying fresh or frozen fruits in the winter. It’s all local, and we are supporting local farmers.

9. Conserve Energy.

Turn off your lights, lower your heat a few degrees, take short showers, use your oven sparingly, turn off the air-conditioner and turn on a fan, turn off the TV and read a book…..there are so many ways we can lower our energy bills!

10. Place a greater emphasis on experiences and a lower one on stuff.

Instead of buying that new toy or game for our children we spend time with them.  Our best days are days spent as a family doing things that are free!  We hike, bike, swim, explore.  We go to art galleries and museums on their free days.  We frequent the parks and the beaches.  We camp in the mountains.  Time spent as a family is more important than anything you can buy, and your kids will thank you!

Pure Joy!

Do you have any other tips on saving money for travel and saving the planet? I’d love to hear them!

This post was inspired by a recent guest post I wrote about reducing our household garbage to one bag per month on Uncommon Childhood.

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2 pings

  1. Matt says:

    Great advice! We decided we would use fans to cool the house this summer rather than resort to the AC. We are also eating more environmentally friendly with less meat with the notable exception of fish which is really healthy for you. The other thing we are doing to save money is to cut out cable TV. About 95% of the channels on cable we never watched so we just didn’t see any sense in paying for them. We kept Internet and can stream Netflix through our Wii console. We also try and walk/ride bikes whenever we can rather than hop in the car. I think your point #10 is the most important one in your list.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      I have started to include more fish in our diet too, I seem to have been craving it for the last month so I think there is something in there that my body is needing. But I still try to limit the intake because our fish stocks are so depleted. TV is one of the things we have not done yet but we are talking about it. When we moved into this house we signed a two year contract with the satellite company. We only have the basic package but would have to pay $100 to cancel. Lesson learned! I really only watch a few shows a week so I could stream them on my laptop easily.

      I agree about number 10 being the most important and is a major factor in our wanting to travel with our children. We want to give them experiences to treasure and spend time together as a family to grow our family bonds.

      1. Matt says:

        This site will help you choose the most eco-friendly fish to eat. http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1540 We eat mainly wild salmon from Alaska and Black Cod.

        1. worldschooladventures says:

          Thank Matt! We have a great new program here in participating grocery stores where the seafood is rated. It makes it really easy to make an informed choice.

  2. Justin says:

    I love this stuff Amy!

    When we take the kids to my parents house, you should see their faces when the see the perfect lawn. It’s like carpet. But the work and money that go into it – Ughhhh!

    One of my favorite things about SE Asia is the food. Meat in SE Asia is used so sparingly in most dishes. But it helps a cook to get creative. The way they make vegatables and plain noodles taste over there. And a diet minus the meat is a money saver as well. Everybody wins.

    And deciding last year to ditch my car and ride my bike was the best decision. I love it.

    Great Post. Thanks so much. And I remember my childhood experiences much more than my childhood toys.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Ah the food of Asia! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

      I wish we could go totally car free. If we were in a major city we could but out here there is literally no public transport. We try to ride or walk as much as we can but it is not always possible and in the winter it is not at all practical.

      I too remember my experiences of childhood more than the “stuff”. But we never really had a lot of stuff…..I remember camping, hiking, road trips, sailing, I really have amazing parents who valued the “doing” not the “having”.

  3. Aina says:

    Thanks for the amazing parents comment Amy, but, it is easy to be good parents when you have wonderful children!
    I too remember the “doing” as a child but maybe because there wasn’t much “having” due to money and the fact that in those days, we had 5 children in our family. Hard to afford 5 pairs of $100 jeans etc. Also because we didn’t have the scare factor of drugs and druggies, and lived in the country, our activities were created with siblings and neighbours, our parents did not participate in day to day activities with us. It’s amazing how much fun can be had for nothing!
    I enjoy following your lead in your quest to protect the world for our grandchildren, and to all those who know Amy she is willing to step out of her comfort zone to remind us of ways to accommodate this life style. Although I wasn’t a huge offender in global abuse, I take her lead whenever I can. It’s not hard and it is rewarding too!

  4. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the link on making laundry detergent. I’ve been wanting to try it. And for all the ideas. I, too, love shopping secondhand, and having been consciously making the move towards free, experience-based days with my kids. All of a sudden, I find myself wanting less stuff. Now that it’s summer, going outside to play (and visit local farms) is so wonderful and easy!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Your welcome! I altered my recipe a bit because instead of buying the soap flakes I just use my natural handmade soap and cut it up to melt it. It works great and a batch lasts me about a month. Super easy and super affordable! I am so excited for the summer to begin in earnest, it is my favorite time of year. The cherries are almost ready…..yum!

  5. Nadine Hudson says:

    Dear Amy

    Soap nuts are great too for laundry, but of course, if they come from far away then we have to look at the transport of them and if it makes sense to get them from so far away.

    I agree about doing a lot of activities with children. However, we also love good quality toys such as Lego or Playmobil. Our boys spend HOURS playing with them and being creative and they cannot be destroyed and will be passed on to other children when our boys grow out of them. I think it is also important that children learn to occupy themselves and retreat into their own “world” for a few hours rather than being entertained by their parents all the time. I think finding a right balance between “activities” and “alone-time” is important.

    Another great environment and money saver for women is the “mooncup” menstruation cup (or other similar products). I’ve used one for many years and they are also a great thing when travelling as in poorer countries rubbish often just ends up on a beach or so and using the mooncup cuts down on rubbish a lot.

    Living without a cell phone will also save the environment and money and isn’t so difficult once you get into it. We managed very well before they were invented…

    Well done for your article! We LOVE the second hand shops in the U.S. We don’t have a big second hand culture like that in Switzerland.

    All the best

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Hey Nadine! For sure some toys are amazing, my boys too love to play with Lego. They play it almost every day and it is a great way to build on math and imagination! I also use a menstruation cup and cotton pads. I made the switch to reduce my impact but have found that I actually prefer them to conventional disposable products. It has helped me to be more in touch with my body and its cycles. I do have a cell phone and that is not something I am willing to give up……but I have had the same one for about five years. My nieces and nephews always laugh when they see it as it “looks ancient”!

  6. Jessica says:

    There must be something in the air because I just did a similar post about saving money to travel. You’ve got some great ideas! I just stumbled on your blog (and why I have I never been here before!) and I have been greatly enjoying catching up on your posts and getting to know you. It’s nice to meet another traveling, homeschooling family.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Hi Jessica! Glad you found us! I haven’t been on your blog either, off to check it out. 🙂

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