8 Ways to Beat Your Budget Every Time

By Tiffany Mast

I recently went to dinner with some old college friends. They are becoming well-established in their careers now and many of them travel for work. As the conversation turned to this subject, one big question came up. How much is it appropriate to spend when you travel for business?

The question gets even trickier when clients are involved. The consensus seemed to be, look at your colleagues and just make sure you are spending less than them. But wouldn’t it be nice if the lines were clearly drawn and the budget was predefined?

It’s not fun to worry about money, so here are some tips to help you beat your business travel budget every time.

Prevent overspending with a budget

In order to beat a budget you have to have a budget (psst… we can help you with that!). The last thing you want to do is pull the waiter aside and ask to have your meal put on one card and your wine put on another for fear the company will think you’re overspending while traveling. With a predetermined budget set, it’s easy to prevent overspending and know how much you can expense.

Budget minus spend equals wiggle room

During your trip, it’s helpful to keep an eye on how much money you have left in your budget. This wiggle room can allow for small splurges while still beating your budget. Savvy TB travelers love to save in one category so they can treat themselves in another – like enjoying a nice dinner after scoring a deal on an inexpensive flight.

Define what you want

Defining the goals of your business trip will help you prioritize where you can save and where you need to spend.

Are you traveling to network with potential client? You’ll likely need to spend on meals but could save on the flight over. Learning the latest at a convention? You may want to book a room where the convention is held but could then save on transportation costs and enjoy food provided at the conference.

Set habits not goals

TravelBank gives you the budget goal, but instead of focusing on that, create a habit of updating your spend (snap a photo of your receipt as soon as you get it) and check on your budget often so you always know where you stand. Remember, you can’t manage your budget if you don’t track it.

Visuals are key

Having a visual aid will make you more inclined to beat your budget. You can glance at TravelBank and know instantly where your money is being spent and how much you have left to spend.

Pay attention to the mini-goals

TravelBank breaks down your budget into categories. Paying attention to these amounts will help you make quick decisions about whether a certain hotel or restaurant fit in your budget. If you can keep one category, like your flight down, you will have less to worry about in other categories.

Be flexible with your lodging

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all business travel. You could try renting an apartment or a room on Airbnb, or maybe enjoy a bed and breakfast. Alternatively you could be flexible with location and book a room outside of the city if it makes sense for your itinerary.

Be savvy when booking flights

While flights can be expensive, you can usually find the best price with a little research and ingenuity. Try booking two one-way tickets or flying into another nearby airport to save money. Even better, perhaps your route is possible on a train or a bus.

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