Saving money when you are traveling on business

I am on a new contract, but it’s out of town, so I have to pay for all of my expenses which are listed here:

  • Hotel
  • Car Rental
  • Gas
  • Food
  • Other

Every dollar you spend, becomes important.

Even saving $15 a night on a hotel room, is big bucks, because it’s $15 x 4 nights = $60!

Multiply the $60 by 4 weeks for the month, and you’re looking at saving $240 each month.

All of this is an incredible motivator to save on expenses (without compromise) and funnel the money directly into my pocket instead.

Note on the Car Rental: I do own a car, but it isn’t safe enough to drive 4 hours a week from city-to-city in possible snowstorms. Once winter is over and things start to melt down, I’ll take my car back and forth instead of renting.

Although come to think of it, at that point I might already just have moved to the city and I won’t have to do the 4-hour weekly commute.

My Original Budget: $937.50/week

I calculated this by just multiplying $25/hour x 37.5 hours (not a 40-hour week).

To put it into perspective, if I lived in the city, it’d mean I’d have a budget of $3750 to live, which is an INSANE amount of money to me, considering my bare expenses currently cost around $700/month.

Where I am saving the cash:

Driving to the city instead of taking a plane or a train

I’d have to rent a car anyway, once I’m there because they’re located in the middle of nowhere.

With that being said, it’s cheaper just to rent the car for a long-term period (30 days) and pay for the gas, than it is to take a train or plane there, and then end up renting the car anyway.

I can drive to the city round-trip and do my daily commute for $100 in gas, plus the cost of the rental.

This also means I don’t have to fiddle with trying to wait for a car to be returned at the agency before being able to use it. It wastes time.

Making my breakfast and lunches in a cooler and packing them

One week, BF made my breakfast and lunches for me.

I spend about $80/week eating when I am traveling, which works out to $320/month.

This is double what I normally spend in a whole month!

In comparison, if I bring my own food, I spend about $10 a week to buy little basics like a carton of milk for my tea and maybe some chocolate as a treat.

That’s an $70 savings per week, or $280 a month!

Not buying new clothes or any accessories

I’ve got outfits for every occasion, let’s face it. I don’t need any more clothes, and besides, I’m on a clothing ban.

I wear business casual items to work, but the environment is very casual (jeans and a top would be all right); however since I am a freelancer, I have to represent myself directly to the client, so I dress up.

I just wear a simple sweater, pants, and low heels. That’s basically my uniform.

I may switch it up with a blouse under a sweater (or alone in the summer), but I don’t vary much.

Even if people think and notice that I am wearing the same thing each week, it doesn’t really bother me — I am dressing for comfort, professionalism (no wrinkly clothes!) and mobility, as I don’t live in that city, and can’t bring everything I want to wear with me.

Booking hotels and car trips intelligently

If I book a hotel ahead in advance, I can get almost a full $10 off the price per night.

That adds up to a savings of $40 a week or $160/month.

If I book a car rental for 35 days (I cannot go over 40 days as per my TD Visa agreement for car rental coverage), I save at least $300 off the price, because I am a long-term renter.

Not driving everywhere just for fun

I just don’t drive and visit the malls in the city to be tempted, nor do I drive around just to check out the city — that is something I can do on the weekends once and if I move there.

I am too busy working to do it and it keeps me away from temptation.

It also wastes gas, when I know I am not planning on buying anything.

Asking for flexible hours

I worked out a deal where I can be there 4 days a week instead of 5.

Not only does it work out better for me, as I get my whole Friday off, but I can also save a day’s worth of expenses in commuting, paying for a hotel room and food.

That’s about $70 a week or $280/month.


  • Driving there instead of taking the train & then renting: $20/week
  • Bringing my own food in a cooler: $70/week
  • Booking hotels & rentals in advance: $50/week
  • Not wasting gas sightseeing after 7 p.m.: $5/week
  • Getting flexible hours: $70/week
  • Not buying anything new to wear: ??? $300 total???



That’s $860 right into my pocket, which works out to about $22.93/hour.

So you can see, you don’t have to accept the norm for booking hotels or car rentals. Think outside the box for long-term rentals and checking all the prices online.

It must have taken me a good 3 days to really research every price, and to study the locations of the hotels as well as its proximity to where I’d be working.

If you can do the math, do it.

It’s like doing a budget that will save you even more money by keeping the income in your pocket instead of being spent needlessly.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.