Let’s be clear about one thing here. When you work for a company that gives you eff-all for a raise, year over year, while that same company has nearly tripled in size, you don’t exactly feel incented to save them money. That’s not what this article is about. It’s about how we can save you money on business trips to put towards dividend growth investing. And we can do so in a way that actually makes it look like you truly care about the soulless corporation you’re a slave to. Here are 6 ways to save money during business trips.
Accumulate Air Miles
This one is pretty straight forward. Use your own credit card while on business trips for everything. Flights, ground transport, meals, and lodging. When you get that email reminder from “corporate services” reminding you to signup for the company Amex card, don’t think you’re a big player now and respond. Ignore them! Using a personal credit card for business trips in the last 6 years has produced 285,000 Asia Miles which is the equivalent of the following trips from Hong Kong:
- 19 RT Tickets to Hanoi OR
- 14 RT Tickets to Bangkok OR
- 9 RT Tickets to Sydney OR
- 6 RT Tickets to Moscow
All you have to pay are taxes which differ by destination but are typically quite minimal.
Finding Cheaper Tickets
If there’s one thing we like doing more than almost every else it’s travel. The problem is, travel is expensive. People will ask, how can you travel so much and still save so much money? Here’s one trick that we use to cut down on airfare.
Let’s say you get a business trip approved from Hong Kong to Dubai. When you have that prized business trip approval, go to “corporate services” and ask for a price quote for airfare. They’ll typically pick up the phone and call Amex who will then find the most expensive airfare possible and tack on 20% for that privilege. Once you get that quote, then go to Kayak and find a much cheaper ticket in about 30 seconds. However you’re not using the same dates. You’re extending your stay by one week. Then you go back to corporate services and tell them you found a cheaper ticket and you want to help save the company money because you’re a “good corporate citizen”. Buy that ticket on your credit card as we mentioned earlier and secure air miles. Now you may be thinking, “who the hell wants to hang around Dubai for a week“? You’re exactly right. Nobody does. This is why you then buy a RT ticket from Dubai to an exotic place like Rwanda ($360 USD) or Lebanon ($340 USD), both
of which we’ve recently traveled to. If you wanted to go to either of those places directly from Hong Kong, forget about it. The price would be astronomical.
Dinners with Dates and Mates
When you’re saving every penny you can so you can reach $400,000, you might start to come across as “cheap” when on dates or even worse when hanging out with your mates. Here’s how you manage that while on business trips.
When you go on business travel you get an allowance for food which is essentially anywhere from $60 USD to $100 USD a day. Now they rarely just give you the cash otherwise you’d be set. Instead, they only reimburse you for food receipts up to that amount. So here’s what you do. Go to restaurants where it’s hard to see that two people have eaten. Places with Spanish tapas, sharing platters, pizzas, or anything else that can slide under the radar are great. Now you always arrive first and order a drink so they put “Persons: 1” on the bill. Then your mate or date shows up 20 minutes later and then you spend away. One other trick here is that most hotels don’t itemize room service bills. While that might make for an awkward date, you may just decide to order 20 beers for “dinner” and then throw a party with your mates. We’ve never done this before, but we hear it’s possible.
“Jump Trip” Business Trips
We came up with the term “jump trip” to describe a scenario we use to get half price airfare sometimes. Let’s say your company has an office in London and there is a compelling business reason to go there but budgets are tight for a typical business trip. And let’s say you want to get to London so you can do some travel in Europe. Tell your company you have a trip planned already to Europe and ask them to split the cost of the airfare and pay for the cheapest hotel you can find while working one week out of the office. Bonus points if you stay with a friend instead and all they need to do is pay half the airfare. The overall cost of the trip is much lower and “since you’re going to be there anyway” it just makes sense for the company to pony up some cash so you can work out of the office and engage in some “cross office collaboration“. Bill all of this to your credit card for the miles and then enjoy 50% off your airfare.
This one is probably the most obvious one. Rent your flat out when you’re on business trips. If you travel 2 weeks per quarter that means 8 weeks of extra cash from Airbnb. You have to pay that rent anyway, so this is money in your pocket to save.
Ok, this one is starting to enter the realm of the extremes but hear us out. When you grow up with minimal means, you’re always on the lookout for ways you can save money. When you love good food and want to save money at the same time, here’s what you can do.
Often times when you go on business travel they put you up in a corporate apartment. This usually means you have a kitchen and/or freezer. This means that for a few dinners you should cook for yourself because you’re “trying to save the company money“. Grab some nice olive oil, some premium bacon, French cheese, and a few jars of that expensive pesto you love. Toss the bacon in the freezer, eat a sandwich instead of cooking, and when you’re ready to leave, dump all that stuff in your suitcase and stock up your pantry when you get home for free.