Travel is by no means cheap, not by any form, but I do believe it is attainable.
Over the years I have found ways to make saving money simpler and in turn, make travelling more accessible. Therefore I wanted to share this in the hope it will help others and help them to not feel so overwhelmed.
Firstly a little about me: I am incredibly fortunate I am to travel as frequently as I do and while I am lucky that around 40% of my trips occur because of this blog the other 60% is still funded by myself. I am a fully grown adult with a mortgage in Greater London plus bills to pay with an average salary, I don’t have any dependents (apart from an adorable cat!) but I am still paying for my car which I need for work.
My top tips for saving money to spend on travel
Have an end goal in mind
I am in no way a budgeting expert but I am good at saving and once I have a goal in mind it is what I focus on. I will say that all travels have started as a goal, no holiday is ever a last minute decision because that is not something I am in the financial position to do.
I am also not a believer in putting luxuries on a credit card (if that works for you, go for it, I am simply too much of worrier to do this!), therefore will only book a holiday when I have the money available.
I personally believe having a set goal has made my trips possible. Normally, I decide where I want to go around 8 -12 months in advance, at this point I will also work out realistically how much I will need to for this trip. I will also start to look into everything I want to do at the chosen destination. For example, at the end of this year, I want to go to Japan, by the end of last year I had already decided a rough route and knew how much travel and expenses would cost me. Knowing the amount I need makes the end goal in sight, it instantly makes it sound more achievable. By looking into all the amazing things I can do there it makes me more excited and therefore more determined to make it happen.
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Only plan to save realistic amounts
DJ and I are already saving for our big holiday of 2020 because it is an expensive one. We have a jar and a chart, each week we both to have put in a set amount of money, this money is probably the equivalent to what we would otherwise spend on a takeaway or what I would spend on buying lunch for work rather than taking in a packed lunch. At the end of the year, this total will not pay for the entire holiday but it will pay for one of us, making finding the rest of the money seem less intimidating. We chose the amount to put away by deciding between us what would be manageable, and this is what is important if you choose an amount too high it is more likely you will not stick to it.
Many people I know start the 1p challenge at the start of each year and have really good results with saving this way.
Find extra work
Depending on your home commitments that may not be possible for everyone but I wear many hats when it comes to work. I have my ‘main’ job (where I have opted to work nights as the pay is better) but I also earn money through this blog, I run a couple of social media accounts for businesses and I also pet sit. When I have a particular focus I will take on extra work to make it happen, I very much live by the saying ‘work hard, play hard’.
If and where possible see if there is any additional work you can take on. Can you do overtime at work? Do you have any additional skills that you can offer people for a fee? Do you have a blog that you can monetize? Learn to create opportunities rather than waiting for opportunities to come to you.
While it is important to not burn yourself out you will be surprised what you can do if you spend an hour or two less watching the TV a few hours a week.
Know where your money goes
I think my biggest key to saving efficiently is knowing where every penny goes. Set aside an afternoon to really look at your outgoings, look at your past few months bank statements and divide them into sections. This can be a simple as essential and non-essential, however, I prefer to go deeper than this with categories such as clothes, everyday food, non-essential food, etc.
When I started looking at my spending, non-essential food was the massive outgoing. 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.
Cut your direct debits
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 – while I am not quite ready to give up my Netflix subscription, the travel magazine subscription has been sacrificed.
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 have to share your surroundings with fellow sweaty people.
Another massive one is mobile phone contracts, I used to always want the newest phone every time my contract ran out, often landing myself with another overly expensive monthly cost. But now I just shop around for a sim only contract for around a third of the price. Which would you rather – a beach in Thailand or the newest smartphone?
Enter holiday competitions
Okay, so this one isn’t strictly money saving but if it works you will spend no money at all. Enter holiday competitions, not just the odd one or two, enter a lot, enter everyone you see. That 30 minutes you spend on your lunch break scrolling through Instagram, stop that and use it to enter travel competitions instead. Look out for creative competitions (competitions where you have to more than fill out your details) as they will tend to have fewer entrants. Obviously, there is not a guaranteed holiday at end of it but if you win it will pay off big time. I have won flights to Iceland and a trip to Barcelona this way.
Lucky for you I have a whole page dedicated to holiday competitions and I update it weekly with all the best ones currently on the internet.
I also recently found a great Instagram account named @the.brokegeneration, while it is aimed at more saving in general as opposed to saving for a holiday, I have found a lot of the advice and tips super helpful and transferable.
Again I would like to reiterate, I understand I am lucky to make saving for travel a priority in my life. But these are the main things I have actioned in order to achieve travel goals I have and hopefully you will find useful as well as attainable.
Ultimately, I am a firm believer that having an end goal in mind will give you the focus you need to achieve it, so start planning those trips now.
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