Saving Moolah- tips to keep your wallet alive

I am now forty-two days out from starting my thru-hike of the Appalachian Tail. FORTY TWO!! I can’t say that I nervous because I’m too excited to be. My gear list is almost complete, room is 3/4 packed, plane ticket booked, and last but not least, my savings is complete.

Saving has been the most difficult and least exciting part, so hopefully my odd jobs and tips will help out a fellow or future thru-hiker.

Tip #1: Get a job….or 3

I started off my savings while working one job and will end working three. I know someone reading this is already thinking “No way Jose!” but wait, this is totally attainable! For those who have steady jobs, this tip may be irrelevant but here are my three,

  1. Sub-in personal trainer. This usually requires a certification or degree so this is not the best option for everyone but those of you who have one or the other are in luck!
  2. Waitress/Bartender. Working in the restaurant industry is probably anyone’s best choice for quick, semi-easy cash. I’ve been in the industry for four years and it has proven to support my financial needs thus far. Depending on the state, this job usually does not require any special certifications and you can almost always find a restaurant near you that is hiring.
  3. Personal grocery shopper/deliverer. I work for the company Instacart but there are other similar programs starting up and while I can’t speak for the other companies, Instacart is in many large cities and states. I make my own schedule, choosing as many or little days and hours as I want and depending on the hours one chooses to put into this job, it can become a primary source of income or just extra cash in one’s free hours!

None of these options appealing? Here are a few other options to generate more income:

  • Nanny or babysit- summer is especially a good time to look into this, kiddos are out for summer and many parents need help!
  • Uber
  • Post on Social media offering to take up odd jobs for friends/ family or your community
  • Craigslist- While I would proceed with caution, you can always find company adds or people looking for help with odd jobs!
  • Surveys on the go- this app pays you to take surveys for them! You won’t qualify for every survey and it isn’t much but I have generated $20 over the course of 8 months taking a minute to do a silly survey. (That pays for a pair of socks)
  • Ebates- I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials but this app is golden if you’re an online shopper like me. Earn cash back just by going through their links to buy your items from so many stores.

Tip #2: Open a savings account and DO NOT TOUCH IT!

I mean it! I never made any rules or amounts per week/month pertaining to my account other than once they money is in, it doesn’t come out. I am proud to say that I did not break my one rule. *pats myself on the back* I used the Qapital app. It connects your bank account(s) and rounds up to the dollar amount of your choosing, putting the change into your savings fund. You can also transfer and amount at anytime in or out of the savings account with no fees! I opted to use this app over a traditional bank savings account because I got to personalize the savings goal with a picture and the app notifies & congratulates me when I save each week which motivated me a little more each time.

Tip #3: Declutter!

Sell any and everything you can. Okay, maybe not everything. But a big part of my reason why i’m thru-hiking is to become less materialistic. While I haven’t gotten rid as much as i’ve hoped to yet, I sold/donated a big chunk of what I had. A garage sale is a great idea for those who have more than just clothes to get rid of. Fortunately my parents moved, letting me sell some things they left behind and keep the profits. This obviously isn’t going to work for everyone but really go through your belongings and part with whatever you can live without.

If theres no way you can have a garage sale or just don’t want to, here are a a few apps to sell your items on:

  • OfferUp
  • Letgo
  • Carousell
  • Instagram
  • Facebook (have your friends share and help you out!)

Hopefully one or more of these options can put a little more cash in your pocket, fueling savings for your next adventure. 🙂

I am also fortunate enough to have many friends and family- especially  my parents, who have helped me out tremendously with gear and my savings. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for helping me prepare to embark on my Trek on the AT next month, I love you all!


For a little extra you can also sell your car and figure things out after you hike 2,189 miles 😀

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 4

  • Lou Eckert : Jan 2nd

    Yes, selling your car also saves on insurance and registration cost. Way to go!

    • Bethany Varner : Jan 5th


  • Heather Provoncha : Jan 3rd

    +1 to decluttering and selling stuff! I thought about selling my car but I just adore it too much…it’s all paid for and I wouldn’t be able to buy another one for that good of a price when the hike is all done!

    • Bethany Varner : Jan 5th

      Yeah if I was coming back to where I live now I probably wouldn’t have sold it, but ill be moving and it wasn’t worth all that much anyways. I envy the people who have cars they want to keep 😀


What Do You Think?