Saving $10k in a Year

How I saved $10,000 in a year:

  1. First off, I redefine what a “year” is. I’m a modern woman and I do as I please. In my world, a year is 500 days.
  2. No one gets gifts on birthdays or holidays. My love and respect should be sufficient.
  3. I never buy pens or sticky notes for home use; I’ve found an employer who just orders them whenever I need- no questions asked.
  4. Pasta.
  5. Rice.
  6. On Wednesdays… I photosynthesize.
  7. I’ve reset my sleep cycle so I go to bed at 8:00pm and wake up at 7:00am. This eliminates any temptation to socialize in the evening or exercise in the morning. Who needs friends or a gym membership?!
  8. Kimchi.
  9. Abusing the free coffee at work. By doing this, not only do I not need to purchase coffee for my home or in a coffee shop, but coffee also does a great job suppressing my appetite- cut my grocery bill by 1/3!
  10. Prioritizing beauty and hygiene products. Conditioner is a “yes” but body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and tampons are a “no” (besides, with the free work paperclips I’ve learned how to access the tampuzzle games in public restrooms!)
  11. Sheer will-power. No matter your life circumstances, you should be able to save $10k each year. No prob. Easy-peasy. Just like that! Poof! It’s a snap! Cha ching!

Regular reader? Then you’ll know that was a touch of satire I dabbled in up there (and you’ll also know I work for a non-profit and there’s literally no way that I could save $10k in a year). I’m so sick of seeing the posts like “How I saved $10k in One Year and Now I Travel the World Full-Time” posts. First off, to save $10k in a year, you need to be making (*and by “making” I mean usable income- after taxes and other deductions) at least 2.5x that “super-easy” $10k. B U T :: some people do make that, and that’s cool. Conceptually, saving should be easy- but things come up: you need to move and pay a security deposit, rent hike, broken blender, dates, friend’s birthdays/weddings/babies.

So while, yes, saving $10k in a year is totally possible, I will not be clicking any more of those articles. It’s hard to take a lot of the advice seriously since I don’t know what they’re making, their monthly expenses, and a general cost of living summary from their area.

The best, practical advice I can offer: 

Make realistic concessions. Pick one or two things that make you happy that you refuse to remove from your budget. I chose 2 things: I’m keeping my gym membership… and my “fun fund” is all-encompassing ($20/week + $20/weekend = goes real fast). I schedule socialization around my budget goals and keep track of every little expense I have. This makes dating  r e a l  hard.

Also, the Female Travel Blogger’s Pinterest board is probably the best overall resource I’ve encountered: real-life advice from actual people in various different life situations- diversity #forthewin.

If you’re already in a position where you’re not making a lot of money, don’t further stress yourself by feeling like you have to remove all enjoyment from your life just because some other traveller said ‘that’s what you need to do to save for travel’ (or whatever else). Ultimately, you don’t know where they started and what their life-financial situation is, and its probably different than yours.

[Satire Warning]

  • Do you have any wacky travel-saving tips?
  • What other (subjectively) strange travel advice have you encountered?
More reading:  10 Asian Destinations I Loved (Plus 3 I Didn't)
Posted in Budget Travel, How To, Inspiration, Story, Travel, Trip Planning, Uncategorized and tagged , , .


  1. Haha I was giggling a bit while reading your list of advice. I like to photosynthesise too…not. I’ve found most of these ‘how to save one million dollar a day’ articles quite useful, because they don’t really apply to my life. Especially because often I’m already doing all those things (like not going to Starbucks every day or cooking and mealprepping). I think the best advice is to look at what you’re spending, think about what you can live without and then occassionally treat yourself so you don’t go insane.

    It’s also important to realise that if you reaaally want to travel, you don’t actually need 10k. Because there’s couchsurfing, workaway, hitchhiking…travelling on a really tight budget isn’t really hard and it’s often more fun. Plus, you can always find a job abroad when you run out of money.

    But then again, that’s coming from me, a 20 something with no responsibilities. I don’t even have a student loan to pay off (unlike my husband. So I get it now, student loans suck.) Everybody’s situation is different.

    • That’s awesome! I’ve given up on the larger figures and focus more on smaller numbers. Working for a non-profit and having a few medical bills just make it implausible, but keeping my goals realistic for now is key!

    • Same – it can be a real drag not having a car (and an even bigger drag explaining to my non-travel friends *why* I don’t want one) but its a sacrifice I choose to keep me traveling!

  2. Reading through this initially my thoughts were “what the…” then I read #6, haha!! That’s some talent 😉 But really though, making a budget AND sticking to it is really the most important. (Also, I agree on the dating part… nearly impossible when you’re saving for exciting trips!)

    • I threw #6 in there when a friend asked me if I was really stealing office supplies to bring home (apparently the snark didn’t shine though in the original list as well as I had hoped hahah).

  3. Haha, I loved this post! That’s awesome having saved so much money! I hope to be able to start saving once my partner and I are back home, instead of living in the Australian desert where everything is super expensive! Haha. Thanks for the tips ?

  4. Woah, you scared me for a sec with that original list! haha! It’s true I guess in the travel blogging world sometimes people tend to make blanket statements, like how to make XXX in a year without diving really deep into the details. Setting a specific budget for fun nights out is smart, because before you know it you can end up spending quite a bit otherwise

    • Yeah, I was inspired by one that was just so out-there and not even close to being universally applicable. But on the other side, I’ve read (and really like the posts) that offer advice that can be taken at just about any income level.

  5. Ah I love the satire at the beginning. It made me laugh. I am not a regular reader so at first I was like ‘wait what?’ It’s so true though, a lot of those articles can be complete nonsense. I definitely don’t make enough to ‘save’ 10k a year, but that’s probably cause I travel every holiday I have and spend all my money on it.

    • Yeah, I was feeling a little sassy the day I wrote this one! There are some great articles out there on saving, but my favorites are the ones that offer tips for all income levels.

  6. This does make me laugh – although I quite like your “fun fund” idea!! If anyone can suddenly cut back $10k in a year they must have been frittering it away to begin with, you were either already saving or you have some serious lifestyle issues! Anyway, I’m going to follow all your advice to the letter.. except the kimchi… nobody needs too much cabbage…

    • Thanks, Jill! I tried it without the fun-fund to start… and I quickly became a miserable human being lol. I suppose I would rather take a little longer to save and still find small ways to enjoy my “regular life” than save like a maniac and get to the goal faster.

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