So I thought I would write a post about something I’ve been doing for a while and am still currently doing. It is quite daunting when you have decided that you want to go travelling, but you’re not sure how on earth you’re going to afford it.
One question I get a lot from my friends is: How do you manage to stick to saving money?! Personally, I believe that if you make travel your top priority then you should be able to save and create yourself a budget relatively easily. Here are my top tips for saving for travel.
- Have a target amount in mind, and a date to reach it. This is probably the most fundamental tip for saving money for travel. You’re more likely to stick to saving up if you set yourself a goal. To do this, you’ll need to assess how much you can realistically save up each month, how cheap or expensive the countries you’re visiting are, when you want to leave to go travelling and how long you want to be away for.
- Reassess what you actually need. In other words, do you really need to eat out every weekend? Do you actually need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on every night out, buying shots for everyone? (– Guilty!) Do you really need an expensive new outfit for that party, that you’ll probably only wear once? Instead, shop at budget supermarkets or buy “own brand” products – they’re not that bad; be wise with your money when you’re out; wear one of those other 500 dresses that you’ve also only worn once, and stick the money you would have spent on it into your savings account. This is a simple tip, but the money you’ll save really does add up.
- Cancel any direct debits/standing orders you have set up for things you don’t use. You probably could do without more than you think. For me, this involved getting rid of the £30 per month gym membership that I only used about four times, and the £10 per month subscription to my union at work which I really didn’t think I needed. We also cancelled our TV subscription to Sky which saved us approximately another £40 per month, as we mainly watch things on Netflix or online on my laptop anyway. I also cancelled my Spotify subscription, but I resubscribed after about a week of attempting to tolerate the free version. I like my music, and at only £5 per month I decided that it couldn’t hurt to keep this one.
- Ask yourself: can I take this with me when I travel/will this benefit my travels? This kind of goes back to tip #2, but recently if I have been tempted to buy that jacket or that gorgeous new pair of shoes, I try to think practically about it – will I be able to wear this when I’m away travelling with just a backpack for several months? Personally, as I have just under five months to go until I leave, I don’t see the point in investing in a pair of new boots if I’m only going to be able to enjoy them for a few months before I jet off, anyway. This doesn’t just apply to clothes obviously, but you get the point – ask yourself if your purchase is going to be practical for what you’re setting off to do for the foreseeable future.
- Transfer money to your savings account as soon as you get paid. This allows me to put away a set amount of money as soon as my wages come in so that I don’t overspend on unimportant things throughout the month. Think of a budget for what necessities you need to pay for, so when you get paid you can transfer what you can afford to save straight over into a savings account. I would recommend opening up an online savings account: you don’t get a physical card for it and it’s easy to go online and transfer when you have a bit of spare cash. This way, you can look separately at what money you have to spend on things you need, and what money you have already saved. And don’t you dare go transferring any money back into your normal account unless absolutely necessary!
- Work, work, work! Clearly, if you’re planning on saving up any amount of money, you’re going to need to be earning some kind of income. I currently work full time, and thankfully the job I have allows me to save up a reasonable amount of money as well as allowing me to pay my bills. I would recommend picking up as much work as possible by doing overtime, and maybe even a second job if that’s possible for you; I know this sounds horrific but if travel is your priority, it will all be worth it.
- Keep in mind that you will be living out your dream! This one is so important. You need to stay motivated, so you should always keep in mind that your travels will more than make up for all the things you’re not doing right now. Maybe you can’t afford to go on that big night out, or the money you’re left over with after putting away your savings doesn’t leave you enough to go out for a meal at that fancy new restaurant, but every sacrifice you make will permit you to travel for just that bit longer. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened if you feel like you aren’t socialising as much as you would like to be able to afford to – the money you will have saved is going towards you experiencing new cultures, having a great time in new places and making unique memories that will last a lifetime.
So – in short – simplify your lifestyle and prioritise your dreams.
What are your best tips for saving money? Do you find it easy to stick to a budget?