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I am lucky enough to have a lot of exciting big trips on the horizon, in November I fly to Indonesia, followed by a return to the United States in March, and then a once in a life time Veterinary trip to South Africa in June. These trips, alongside car insurance, phone bills and just general living has left my pockets empty for the foreseeable future but to be completely honest with you I would not have it any other way. Each one of these trips I am paying for with my own money that I have worked and saved for, yes occasionally I have a mini breakdown over (a lack of) money but I soon calm down when I remember what is at the end. It has also made me extremely good at frugal living and opened my eyes to how much money I have previously wasted without even thinking, I am now no longer ‘careless’ with money, to the point I think about every pound, to some people this may seem like a horrible way to live, but if you have a passion for traveling and no means to otherwise fund it, these small changes could set you on the right track to seeing the world.
When I started looking at my spending, food was the massive out going. From meals out to buying lunches for work, a huge percentage of my monthly wage was spent on food. I used to buy lunch daily for work instead of preparing a packed lunch, on average people spend around £3-4 a day on shop bought lunches, per month that is £80, over the space of the year that is £960 – that is nearly the same amount that I have paid for my return flight to Indonesia plus 16 days worth of hotels. It seems crazy when you look at it like that doesn’t it? Now every Sunday I buy my lunch for the week, of which I now pay no more than £4 for a week’s worth of lunch. I personally know what I would prefer between a flight and Tesco meal deal.
Being a massive foodie means I hate missing out on meals out, they are a luxury I do enjoy and they are the main way I socialise with my friends. So I still have them, but I find the right places to eat. Places such as Pizza Express and Zizzi’s always have great deals during the week if you are on their email list, sometimes up to 40% off or if you live in London check out a website such as LDN Cheap Eats for the best unknown places to find a meal for under £8 without comprising on taste. By taking the time to find these offers and places, you can still enjoy a great meal without having to deal with FOMO, I can guarantee your friends will also thank you for saving them money as well. It also helps to set yourself a limit as well, such as only eating out (including takeaway) a maximum of once or twice a month, you will enjoy it so much more as well!
- Car boot sales
When you really start looking into how much money you spend, you also start to notice how much money you have spent on things you have never really used, from makeup, to random gadgets to clothes with tags that are still attached. If you are not using them, sell them and car boot sales are the best way, Ebay is great if you have more expensive items but for clothes and such I find you lose a lot in fees. Instead, bag everything up and find your nearest boot sale, but do not set your prices too high, people go to boot sales for a bargain, it is much better to sell it for a lower price than to take it back home again where it can return to collecting dust. You will be surprised at just how much you can make from selling items you haven’t used in months or forgot that you owned.
- Unnecessary direct debits
Another tip is to really look at your bank accounts and see all your outgoing. Check your direct debits, do you know what every single one is? and do you really need it? I am not saying cancel important payments and get yourself into trouble but I was surprised at the number of random subscriptions I had that I didn’t even remember – magazine subscriptions should be the first to go.Do you have a gym membership? How often are you using it? If you are getting your money worth then fair enough keep it, but if you go once or twice a month, look for a cheaper alternative. I always so surprised when I talk to people who just go to the gym to use the treadmill, you are literally paying to run, you can do this for free outside and not how to share your surroundings with fellow sweaty people.
Another massive one is mobile phone contracts, I have always wanted the newest phone every time my contract runs out, often landing myself with another overly expensive monthly cost, but when my contract runs out next time, I will be keeping my current phone that works perfectly well and find a sim only contract for around a third of the price. Which would you rather – a beach in Thailand or the newest iPhone?
I am lucky enough that in my profession there is an abundance on overtime available, from additional weekdays to working nights, I can always find extra hours to boost my pay packet. Is this something your work offers? or can you find additional work to do alongside your current job? It is important that you do not burn yourself out ( Something I very much need to learn still!) by working every hour of every day, but you will thank yourself for giving up your Saturday lay in when you are scuba diving with turtles or exploring a new city.
Before you even start saving decide on your goal and research it! Get yourself excited about it by reading travel blogs or by pinning stunning photos of your chosen location on Pinterest. As soon as the goal becomes your priority, saving will become so much easier, as each take out coffee you skip is step closer to an adventure of a lifetime. It is also important to set yourself a realistic goal, most people will not be able to afford to travel Vietnam from six months of saving but a year to eighteen months is a lot of more realistic and will come around a lot sooner than you think.
What are your top saving tips? Please feel free to share them below.