Happy New Year! The celebrations have come and gone and just like that, we are in 2016.
Every year people around the world set New Year’s resolutions to guide their year and hopefully change their lives for the better. Whether those resolutions last longer than a week or two is usually questionable, but most people at least start the year with a goal or several goals in mind. Exercise and healthy eating seem to always be at the top of the list, but lately we’ve heard more and more people talk about a third goal: Save money.
Saving money is one of our big goals for the year. As we creep closer to retirement (looking at you, 2049!) we are becoming more aware of how we spend money and also how we want to save. If my plan to win the lottery doesn’t work out, I’ll need a backup plan, and that means budgeting. The problem is there always seems to be a tricky balance between saving money and having fun. Is it possible to do both?
Good news, everyone! It is very possible to brewtrip on a budget; in fact, it’s one of our main rules! Everything we do relies on affordability and most of our brewtrips revolve around being cheap budget friendly.
So how can you do it? We’ve listed five strategies that have helped us brewtrip on a budget. If your New Year’s resolution is to save money but you still want to have some fun, try these!
How to save money and still have fun!
1. Plan ahead of time.
Before we visit a new town, we do some quick googling to find free or cheap sights and activities. Try the city’s tourism website, local BIAs, or even a travel site like TripAdvisor to find the top attractions and hidden gems. We’ve been able to find great scenery and historic sites this way, and have found not only free adventures, but things we would have never discovered! One example is Glenhyrst Gardens in Brantford–a neat (and free!) thing to see! Planning ahead has also stopped us from distractions and unexpected costs, major wallet drains!
2. Scour the internet for deals.
I love a good deal. Any way to get a discount makes me happy as a clam, so when I find a Groupon or a Wagjag or whatever for a fun activity, I’m all over it. That’s how we were able to visit Manantler Brewing Co. when we visited Bowmanville (it’s how I heard of Manantler, actually!) and when we went to Chicago, we used Airmiles to get tickets to tourist attractions. There are often coupon codes or discounts online that will save you good money–you just have to find them!
3. Combine errands.
Sometimes when we visit new towns, we’ll use errands as an excuse to go. For example, when we visited Elora, we did some of our Christmas shopping in local stores. It was a great way to visit the stores and see the town, and we also got some of our errands done, which we would have to do anyway! Rather than spend the money at Walmart, we shopped at independent stores and had a fun brewtrip as a result.
4. Explore your backyard.
Travel doesn’t need to be hours away. Rather than spend money on gas and hotels and train tickets and new luggage, see something new in your own backyard. Visit a local brewery, go to a new restaurant, explore a museum, or check out local architecture. I guarantee you will find something new and fall in love with your city, and it doesn’t need to cost a penny.
Ah, the word no one wants to hear. If you really want to save money, you need to budget. There are plenty of ways to create a free or cheap brewtrip, but sometimes you’ll need to spend a little more; as long as you plan for it and add the brewtrip into your budget, it’s okay! Our plan this year is to set aside a few dollars from every paycheque to cover our brewtrip expenses. Just take an empty jar and add maybe $10 each week. After a month, you’ll have $40. You can do a lot with $40! Or if you want to do something bigger, save longer, or take money away from your coffee budget and add it to your adventure budget. It’s totally doable, and it’s also hugely rewarding!
These are just a few of the ways we’ve managed to brewtrip on a budget. Our New Year’s resolution is to save money, so we’ll be following these strategies for the year to keep having fun without spending a lot of money. Do you have other ideas? Let us know!
Happy New Year, and happy saving!