How to save money as a flight attendant

here are some ideas for how to save money while working as a flight attendant

So, you’ve just been hired for your dream job as a flight attendant, travelling the world and looking after passengers. Congratulations!

You’ve worked hard for this moment so finally you can begin enjoying the many perks of the job, right? Whilst a flight attendant job has several immediate benefits such as travelling the world and meeting new people, it can be hard for people just starting out in this exciting career to manage their finances.

Follow our 11 money saving tips for flight attendants to make your money go further in your first years of flying.

1. Eliminate unnecessary spending

Start by making a list of all of the unnecessary monthly expenditures that you won’t need in your new career as a flight attendant.

Subscriptions are one of the biggest causes of unnecessary spending. Piles of unread magazines in your living room and beauty boxes are of no use to you when you are thousands of miles away. It’s time to cancel the subscription and use the money to save. That gym membership won’t be any use to you either. There are cheaper, and sometimes free, alternatives to your favorite Netflix, Audible or gym memberships that you can take advantage of when arriving at your destination. Rent seasons of TV shows or movies from your local library or listen to podcasts instead of paying monthly for your audio. Instead of going to the gym, walk, run or take free online classes on a beach.

TrueBill is an app that reviews your purchase history and finds forgotten subscriptions to help you cancel them or renegotiate for a cheaper rate.

Maybe subscriptions aren’t your financial weakness, but candy or junk food is? Whether it’s food, alcohol, video games, eating out or shopping, we all have a way to deal with stress. But if you want to save money, it’s time to kick your comfort habits and consider new, less expensive habits such as walking or reading.

2. Slash your bills

You can save money without budgeting by renegotiating your regular bills annually. This is particularly important because your electric and gas usage will be dropping significantly while you’re flying high in the sky. Use comparison sites to see if you could get a better deal on your mortgage, utilities, car insurance and any other monthly expenses. Call your current service provider and ask if there is a cheaper alternative or any deals available.

Making sure that you turn your heating off or down very low while you are away will lower the cost of your energy bills. Other energy saving ideas to try include:

  • Investing in efficient appliances.
  • Turning off appliances instead of leaving them on standby.
  • Draught-proofing your property.
  • Insulating the roof.

3. Set up a savings plan

Having something to save for is motivational and there’s more chance that you will stop wasting money and achieve your target if you have a goal to aim for.

Anyone can start saving, regardless of how much they earn by creating budgets and reducing living expenses.

Put your savings on autopilot by setting up an automatic transfer every time you get paid your salary as a flight attendant. Clever apps such as Digit will analyze your spending habits and automatically save money without you having to make a single decision. The benefit of this method is that you won’t spend money that is intended for your savings.

Having one goal is better than having several financial goals that will make the end result feel out of reach. Whether it’s for a house, holiday or to reduce your debt, pick your first savings goal and get saving.

4. Budget, budget, budget

Even when you’re flying all over the world, it’s still important to budget.

Help keep your spending in check whilst in the air with a budget plan. There are lots of different ones to try. Here are a few of the most effective budget plans to choose from.

50/20/30 plan: this is the most popular type of budget plan. All you need to do is allocate 50% of your income for needs, 30% on wants and 20% for savings or debt repayment.

Zero-based budgeting plan: if you prefer a hands-on approach to budgeting, this plan is for you. Assign every dollar you earn from your salary to a budget category such as mortgage, food, social and saving. At the end of the month, if you have funds left over in a category, roll it over to next month or put it into a different one.

Pay yourself first budget plan: with this method, simply decide how much you want to allocate to your savings pot, and every dollar that’s left over can be spent however you like whilst on your travels.

The envelope system: this tried-and-tested budgeting method has helped people eliminate debt and curb bad spending habits. Each of your spending categories is represented by an envelope. You then fill each envelope with the exact cash you need to spend on that area. For example, if you spend $400 a month on your grocery shopping, place $400 in that envelope. Once you’ve spent all of the money in that envelope you can’t spend any more that month. Studies have shown that using cash helps prevent bad spending habits. Taking cash with you wherever your next destination is will ensure that you have enough to cover the things you need and avoid extra costs for the things that you haven’t planned for.

5. Make financially savvy food choices

The more food you take with you for layovers, the less you will need to spend while you’re away. Fruits, vegetables, salads, smoothies, nuts and hummus make great lunchbox food that can be easily stored while travelling. Don’t forget to pack a large water bottle too. The lack of humidity in the cabin air can lead to dehydration so look after your health and your money by taking your own bottle to refill.

Airport food is extremely expensive, so avoid buying edible items wherever possible. It’s also not very healthy so do your purse and health a favour and pack your own lunch and take non-perishable goods in your suitcase. Eating out at restaurants with other crew members is enjoyable, but if you’re serious about saving money make it a treat instead of a regular occurrence.

Some trips include crew meals, so try to pick those where possible to keep your food budget down. Skip the Starbucks, take your own travel mug and fill it up with free coffee at the hotel restaurant before you leave.

6. Pack wisely

Planning ahead and packing everything you need for your trip will stop you from spending more money on items that you’ve forgotten.

Here’s a handy list of the must-pack essentials for each flight.

Food, snacks and water – essential for every trip. Make sure you take enough food to last your trip.

Clothes and shoes – weather is unpredictable, so even though it’s forecast to be 30 degrees at your destination in San Diego, still pack a jumper in case it gets chilly or your schedule changes. Aeroplanes are also quite cold so it’s best to be prepared. Aside from your work shoes, you should also take some flat, comfy shoes with you on each journey.

Moisturiser – when you’re 30,000 feet in the sky the air is cold and dry, making the air in the cabin and your skin dry. Pack a bottle of moisturiser to keep your skin healthy and avoid having to pay excessive prices for one at the airport.

Medicines – the last thing you want mid-flight is a headache, or to have to pay airport prices for some pain relief. Don’t forget any prescription medicine that you may need as well.

Toiletries – pop miniature bottles of the toiletries that you use every day into a washbag and add it to your suitcase. Regularly check how much you have left to prevent needing to pay extra for the items you can get cheaper at home.

7. Pick a base near where you live

It’s not always possible, but if you can live near your base you will save a considerable amount of money on regularly commuting to and from the airport. Some flight attendants even give up their rented accommodation and stay with family or friends when they are not flying so they don’t have to worry about the cost of mortgage, rent and bills. If you don’t have the option of this luxury, consider moving to a base city that has a lower cost of living.

8. Limit crew nights out

Whilst dinner and drinks with the crew is a social perk of the job, not everyone can afford it. It can get very costly as the restaurant and bar bills stack up. If you’re on a budget and want to cut back on spending, suggest getting a bottle of wine and staying in with your crew instead. If you want to be really strict, working late flights will give you less time to socialise but more cash in the long term.

9. Use crew discounts

Another perk of a career as a flight attendant is the discounts on rental cars, hotels, restaurants and some activities that you get. If there’s something in particular that you’d like to do during your free time, research ahead to see if you can get a discount and save some cash. When booking tours or activities, ask if they offer airline employee discounts.

Restaurants in particular offer crew discounts so take advantage of this and book the ones that provide this at your next destination when eating out.

10. Resist temptation

Flying across the globe will put new temptations such as delicious food, collectables and clothing in your path. Shopping may be therapeutic every now and again but giving in to temptation regularly may cause bad spending habits that could lead to debt. If you really can’t resist a new pair of shoes, remember to ask whether the store does cabin crew discounts first.

11. Supplement your flight attendant salary

There are plenty of ways to use the free time you get as a flight attendant wisely and earn some extra dollars. All you will need is your computer.

Teach English online: teaching English to children all over the world is a popular side hustle for people from all professions. Set your own schedule around your flights and teach one-on-one with no lesson planning. Platforms such as VIPKID allow you to earn between $14 and $22 an hour online.

Blog: as a flight attendant you will meet lots of interesting people, all with their own quirky personalities and stories to tell. Why not write about your experiences, build up a following and earn some extra cash? You can set up your blog on a free platform such as or Blogger, so you don’t have to invest any money to get started. Once your website is up and running, promote your blog on social media and start connecting with other bloggers to reach a wide audience. Posting regular engaging and newsworthy content is the key to a successful blog. Blogs earn money through affiliate marketing, adding banner adverts or sponsored social media posts.

Do transcription work: another good side hustle for flight attendants is transcription work. The job of a transcriptionist is to listen to recordings (audio and video) and transcribe them into text. Online typing jobs can be done any time, any place, making them one of the most flexible work opportunities for moms. One day you might be transcribing business meeting notes and the next day you could be working on a court hearing recording. TranscribeMe is an online company that provide moms with remote job opportunities transcribing audio files.

Become a virtual travel assistant: use your knowledge and experience of travelling to start a successful side career as a travel agent.

Find and book travel arrangements, accommodation, destination, transport and activities based on a client’s needs. You can either set up your own business in your free time or apply for remote positions for travel companies. Specialising in an area such as luxury travel or honeymoons will allow you to earn more.

Saving money as a flight attendant

It’s possible to save money, and even earn extra money, whilst enjoying your life as a flight attendant with the tips in this guide. The most important thing is to take action for how you will save money before you start jetting off around the world.

Want to know more about saving money? Check out our personal finance blog.

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