It may surprise you that I’m not always travelling (maybe one day). Over the last couple of years I have gone on a few long trips, and I’m currently planning my next big trip for this year. In 2014 I spent 3.5 months in the USA & South America, and the previous year I spent 1.5 months in Europe. Although it may appear that I am travelling constantly because I’m still updating my blog with advice and stories (and boy, do I have many) at the moment I’m actually at home saving up for my next big adventure.
I guess you could say that I probably travel more than the average person. This is because I’ve learnt how to change my lifestyle in order to save for travel. When I want to go away (ahem, always) I go into an epic trip-saving mode. I can tell you that there are no secret ways to saving money quickly – it’s all about working hard, making sacrifices and being disciplined. But where there’s a will, there’s a way…and I want to show you my ways!
So here’s my advice on how to save money to travel the world!
STEP #1: HAVE AN INCOME + GOAL
• Have a stream of income, or perhaps multiple. The first and most obvious step – you need to have some form of income. I’m currently working approx. 30 hours a week at a local supermarket, working on a contract basis with a social media marketing business and doing the occasional administration work for another company. It’s not at all glamorous but it’s incredibly satisfying to see the digits in my bank account increase over time.
• Have a goal of how much you would like to save up. It’s a great idea to work out a rough estimate of how much you will need to travel in an area for a certain period of time. Of course, some destinations will be cheaper than others, so make sure to take this into account. Working out how much you need to save is great motivation to get the ball rolling!
• Make a plan of how you are going to save up the money, and stick to it. The next few sections of this post will address some ways to save money and how to go about budgeting (from my own experiences).
STEP #2: CUT ALL UNNECESSARY EXPENSES
This is the most common advice when it comes to saving money but it’s so important to recognise how much of a difference cutting out those useless expenses actually make. If you really want to travel, you will find a way to make the money to travel – you just might need to change your current lifestyle to do so.
A great way to prioritize and sacrifice expenses is to think of the opportunity cost (I promise I won’t go all economics on you!). Just compare the cost of something at home to what it could be going towards when you are travelling. Think about what’s more important to you and whether you are willing to forgo those costs in order to travel.
Here are some expenses that I have eliminated or reduced:
• Expensive clothes & items. While I love nice clothes and accessories as much as the next girl…at the moment travel is more important to me. I only buy new things if I REALLY need them. Although I might be sick and tired of the clothes that I own, I’m more than happy to be bored with my clothes…and be in London!
• Magazines. As much as I love to catch up on celeb/lifestyle gossip, it’s so much cheaper to read the news online and I find all my other inspiration on Pinterest!
• Memberships. I cancelled the memberships that I do not need or use enough. For example, instead of having a gym membership, I replaced it with outdoor exercise & YouTube workouts.
• Coffee. Okay, I’ll admit…I am a caffeine addict. Although I managed to eliminate coffee completely last year, this year I haven’t been so good! But sometimes, you don’t have to have to eliminate something completely, instead just reduce it! I also find that going out for coffee is a great & cheap alternative to catch up with friends.
• Moving out. Many of my friends have moved out of home but I’m going to stick around for a while. Seriously! Live at home with your parents, if you possibly can! I think it’s great way to save a lot of money, especially when you don’t have to worry about paying for rent or other household expenses.
• Snacking. The amount of money I used to spend on snacks was ridiculous. Once I stopped buying food and drinks during the day I noticed that I was saving a lot more money.
• Movies. I really enjoy going to the movies and it’s probably the one thing that I splurge a little bit of money on. But there are ways to cut down this expense, and that’s to take advantage of the cheap offers. I am a member of my local cinema so I get discounted tickets and I only ever go on Tightass Tuesdays.
• Waxing & Tanning. I’ve stopped going to get professional waxing/tanning too often and have instead opted for my own shaver, tweezers & fake tan to save a bit of cash. Of course, if I have a special occasion – I’ll go for it!
Just remember not to cut out all of the good things, give yourself a little leeway. Although it can be tough to cut out some of these expenses, it will definitely pay off when you’re across the other side of the world exploring new places.
STEP #3: GET CREATIVE
There are plenty of creative ways to save a little bit of extra money. Just remember, every little bit counts! Of course, you don’t want to be absolutely miserable when it comes to saving money. I mean, you still want to have a social life, right? So here are a few cheaper options to substitute into your lifestyle, as well as some additional creative ideas to get a few extra dollars here and there.
• Invite your friends over instead of going out. You can still be social without spending too much money, perhaps have drinks at home or have a movie night. Just think of how much money you will be saving on alcohol if you’re buying it yourself from the supermarket rather than out at club prices.
• Be the designated driver. If you are going out, consider driving. That way you will save money on ridiculous alcohol prices and the taxi on the way home, plus your friends will love you for it!
• Clean out your closet and sell your clothes on eBay, Gumtree or swap & sell groups. Even if you are selling them super cheap, that money will quickly add up!
• Sell your things at a market stall. Clean out your entire house and try to sell as much as you can. Last year I had a stall at the local market for a few weekends and was making around $200+ each morning. Anything that didn’t sell I donated to the op shop, it was a great way to clean out a bit of clutter. Seriously, you’d be surprised at the random stuff that people will buy!
• Sell your textbooks after every semester. Even better, don’t buy them in the first place – find them at the library, download them as a PDF or ask your lecturer if you will actually need it before you buy.
• Ask for money for all of your presents. Instead of getting gifts that you don’t really have a use for, ask your friends and family for money for your Birthday, Graduation, Christmas, and so on.
• Stop eating out and prepare your meals at home. If you’re spending $10 every day on lunch at work, it add up pretty quickly – $50 of useless spending a week. Instead, bring your lunches with you to work and make use of all of the leftovers from dinner.
• Turn a talent into money. Have you got some kind of talent? Drawing? Graphic Design? Gardening? Turn this talent into work for some extra money on the side. I’m getting some extra money for the marketing work that I’m doing!
STEP #4: BUDGET & SAVE
Once you’ve got some money coming in – it’s time to organise where it goes and how much you are willing to spend. Using your goal; set yourself a budget and stick to it!
Here are a few ways to organise your money in order to save it:
• Track your spending. It’s great to understand what you are spending most of your money on and how much you will need to spend each month.
• Open a separate bank account for your travel savings. I like to set myself a weekly budget and at the beginning of the month I will make sure only 4 weeks worth of my budget is in my account, and transfer any other money into my online savings account. Every single time I get paid, I deposit the money straight into my savings account, and therefore I am not tempted to spend more money than what’s available to me.
• Put all of your loose change into a money jar. Every time I come home in the evening, I put any loose change or extra cash into a money tin. I don’t open it until I’m just about to go away, and I use that money as an extra lot of spending money for overseas. It’s a great way to save money without noticing it and you would be surprised at how quickly those coins add up!
How do you save up for your travels?