- Entrepreneur Danielle Desir managed to travel to 27 countries while saving to buy a house.
- She booked her plane tickets months in advance to cut down on travel costs.
- Once she bought her house, she rented to roommates to help with the mortgage payments.
- This article is part of Women of Means, a series about women taking charge of their finances.
Desir is an author, podcaster, and entrepreneur who traveled to 27 countries while saving for the down payment to buy her first four-bedroom home in Connecticut. Desir’s family taught her how to save, opening a savings account for her by the time she was 15 years old and investing in mutual funds and CDs by the time she was 17.
As she got older, she had big dreams of traveling the world, working remotely, and owning her own home. “I wanted to show that I could be the and person, the person that didn’t have to choose between buying a home and traveling and paying down debt — I can do it all,” Desir told Insider.
Here are five strategies Desir used to balance saving for a home with traveling the world.
1. Open savings accounts for each goal
Assigning different savings accounts to each goal helped Desir get clarity on her progress for each one. “This is also really helpful because if I see a flight deal or travel deal,” she said, “I know exactly which account to go to, and I know how much I can actually spend.”
2. Automate savings
“I tried to think of my travel fund and my home savings as bills that I had to pay,” Desir said. She set up automatic transfers every time she got paid to her two savings accounts.
While some people prefer to penny-pinch leading up to a big vacation, Desir said she learned “not to miss that money instead of stressing before a trip.” She said that stressing and penny-pinching before a big vacation only led to “financial chaos and mental gymnastics,” and all of that worrying that you won’t have enough for the trip can take away from the fun.
3. Start with $25 per paycheck
“I started really small, and I feel like a lot of people would say, ‘Why bother?'” Desir said. “But after a year, I was able to go on my first trip to Paris, and that gave me confidence.” As her income grew, she was able to funnel more into her travel savings.
“Slow and steady is OK,” she said. “You don’t have to necessarily save $500 all at once.”
4. Book flights 6 to 9 months in advance
Another way Desir kept her travel and home savings balanced was by booking trips months in advance to keep costs down. Flights are usually cheaper when you book as early as possible. Desir said, “It gave me enough time to save up for whatever extras that I needed that weren’t covered in that first round of spending.”
Booking travel in advance also helped her balance saving for a home so that she wasn’t spending tons of cash all at once on a trip.
5. Rent extra rooms in her house
Once Desir bought her home, she wanted to continue traveling. Like any first-time homeowner, she had to adjust to new expenses, so she decided to get roommates to save money. She was 27 and single when she bought her first home, which meant she was free to monetize the extra rooms to give her more money in her travel fund.
“Having roommates was a journey,” Desir said. “It was very difficult, but it did bridge the gap.”
- Read more from Women of Means:
- As a queer woman, I never thought I’d be able to buy a home or build wealth — but I did, and a perspective shift made all the difference
- I spent my 20s living life to the fullest — and when I looked up, I was $57,000 in debt. Paying it off has changed my life.
- What to know about the scarcity mindset and how it affects women and their finances — and 6 ways to avoid it
- I never planned to be a stay-at-home mom, but now that I am I’ll never let money take me by surprise again
Leo Aquino (they/he) is a Spending & Saving Reporter. Before joining the Insider team, they covered relationships, sexual wellness, beauty, fashion and more, always uplifting stories of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. You can reach Leo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services » Sign up to get Personal Finance Insider’s free email newsletter in your inbox »