Everyone knows that flying is expensive. First you have to buy a flight, then pay for parking, then pay to check a bag, and THEN pay to have a coffee, meal, or snack. It adds up to a lot more than you think! I recently took a trip back home and found some ways to cut out some expensive costs.
The Flight Solution: Rewards cards. I was opposed to opening a credit card just to earn points to fly. As you know, our philosophy is to pay with cash and not have any credit cards (debt). I was flying so much and not getting anything in return that I just couldn’t help it!
What I did: Opened a Southwest Credit Card during a promotional period that will give me 2 free round trip flights when I spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. It sounds like a lot of money to spend in 3 months. See below to see what I did.
Smart Spending on a Credit Card: Put your living expenses (utilities, insurance, etc.) on your credit card. These are items that are already budgeted, so you might as well get something for it! I still use cash for groceries and spending money, but I’m putting everything else on my credit card so I earn points on money that I already have budgeted. I also have to buy 2 or 3 more flights between now and December…one of them will be FREE!
What NOT to do with your Rewards Credit Card: Put your budgeted expenses on your card PLUS your shopping sprees…and whatever else you feel like buying. Act like this card is your debit card and if you over spend, you’ll risk over drafting, not having enough money for next pay period’s expenses, or falling off your target pace to pay off loans.
The Airport Parking Solution: Ask a family member or friend to drive you to the airport and pick you up when you return. If you live far from an airport, pay your friend. It will be cheaper than paying for a parking (if it’s more than a 3 day trip).
The Airport Food Solution: The biggest and easiest way to save money when flying is to bring your own food and snacks. As long as you’re not bringing liquid through security (empty water bottles are fine), you can bring pretty much any type of food you want. I brought salad, fruit snacks, nuts, and cheerios with me.
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