Let’s face it, long-distance relationships are pricey. You may not spend money on date nights every week, but you do spend a good chunk of money on plane tickets each month. Thankfully, there are ways to save—and even have enough money left over for the wedding! Here are some tips I’ve found useful while juggling my own long-distance relationship:
1. Keep your phone bill down. It’s so important to stay connected when you are in a relationship, especially a long-distance one, but you don’t want to end up with an outrageous phone bill. Fortunately, there are several options to keep your bill reasonable:
- Get the same cell phone provider
- Get a 5 friends plan and make your boyfriend/girlfriend one of them
- Talk after 9:00 p.m.
- Place the call using gmail (free in US)
- Skype (free US and international, and you have the video option!)
2. Be creative. My friend’s boyfriend (who is now her husband) didn’t have much money. So, to afford a plane ticket, he sold his plasma. I don’t recommend this for those who get queasy at the sight of needles, but recycling bottles, working weekend event security, or babysitting your neighbor’s kids might bring in that extra cash you need.
3. Take the cash. Do people ever ask what you want for your birthday or Christmas? Well, don’t be embarrassed to mention cash. They know you’re dying to see your loved one, so they’ll probably be happy to comply.
4. Only travel as far as your wallet can take you. I know this is hard, but if you don’t have the money, don’t purchase the plane ticket. You’ll regret it later when the interest rates come knocking. I know several couples that are still trying to recover from travelling beyond their means while they were dating long-distance.
5. Become a flight-booking expert. Shop around and figure out which airlines habitually fly most economically to that area. Then stalk their website to figure out the best day to purchase tickets. Usually, midweek is the cheapest time to book flights. You’ll also want to book as far ahead as possible to get the best price.
6. Collect your miles. Don’t forget to get a frequent flyer card from every airline you fly. Then make sure you add every mile to your card. You’ll steadily work yourself up to a free ticket.
7. Travel Smart. Baggage fees are expensive, so take only what you can carry on the plane. Girls, I understand this can be hard! But leave all those great shoes behind and pack light! Your wallet will thank you.
8. Consider getting an airline credit card. Personally, I have benefitted from this. Not only did I get 20,000 miles when I signed up, I also accumulated miles with all the everyday purchases I made—whether groceries or gas. With every dollar, I earned miles towards my next flight. Of course, take this tip with a grain of salt; if you are bad with credit cards—don’t do it! To avoid getting into debt, commit to only charging what you have in the bank and don’t go over that amount.
9. Avoid Splurging. Of course you want to go on fancy dates when you see each other, but don’t overdo it. Expensive dinners start to add up quickly; pretty soon you’ve spent half of your next plane ticket. Find a balance by mixing in free or inexpensive dates with some pricier ones. You may find that a picnic can be just as romantic as an expensive meal!