Unless you are one of those people who actually gets paid to travel (who are these elusive people with dream jobs and how do I become one?), then you have to come up with the funds necessary to travel yourself. Lately, I have been asked the same question again and again: “How did you save money to travel full-time for six months?”
While I don’t believe there is a secret formula or any one way to save, I’m a curious person by nature, and if you are anything like me, I thought it might be fun to share exactly HOW I did it! And who knows? If you have a severe case of wanderlust, are planning your own adventure or saving for something else entirely, my experience might give you an idea or two that you can use to help reach your saving goals!
Before we begin, let me just say that there are literally hundreds of tips and saving ideas out there on the web (just Google “ways to save money” or something similar and you’ll see!) and while I’m not a financial advisor, a savings specialist or an expert on your own personal situation, I do have a few of tried and tested ideas to share. So for my second post in the Travel Tips series, lets talk about 9 ways to save money to travel!
Once Ty and I created our travel budget (which I shared in my first post
of the Travel Tips series), it quickly became apparent that I needed to step up my saving game so I could realise my travelling dream!
So these are the methods I used so I could quit my job and travel full-time for six months:
1. Share the cost of rent and utilities.
At the time, I was living by myself in a 2 bedroom apartment by the beach, and while my rent wasn’t totally ridiculous, it was taking me forever to save! So I got a roommate. And this was hands down, the best thing I could have ever done to save money. My rent and utility bills were literally halved each week, so I was able to put that money away for travelling. It didn’t take long for me to not only reach, but exceed, my savings goal! Plus, it was fun having a housemate! It was the first time I’d lived with anyone who wasn’t my family and I made a great friend along the way.
2. Move home.
I left my job exactly a month before Ty and I were to take off on our adventure, and rather than staying in my home by the beach, I moved home. Not only was it great for saving that bit extra, but I got the chance to spend a lot of time with my family. I moved away from home at 17 to attend university and over the years I’ve often felt very sad about missing so much of my brother and sister growing up and my parents’ lives. While my month at home didn’t completely make up for that, I was so incredibly happy and grateful to see them every day.
3. Pack your own lunch.
Whether you are at work/university/school, taking a homemade lunch every day (or at least most days) really makes an huge positive impact on the bank balance. I have always been pretty good about this but sometimes I’d get really busy (unorganised) and not go grocery shopping and then I would end up having to buy lunch at work. Not only were the lunch options pretty average but this expense quickly added up. So I got organised and prepared my own lunch every day (including snacks). I saved at least an extra $40 a week by doing this, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it wasn’t long before it really added up!
4. Cut back on buying drinks.
I used to buy one latte every single day, and at around $4.50 each, this was one expense I knew I needed to do something about. So I had the brilliant idea of switching my usual cup of tea at breakfast to a homemade latte, and my usual latte at morning tea to a cup of tea (free at my workplace). In hindsight, it wasn’t really all that genius because I could make a pretty amazing latte at home with the mini coffee machine my Dad gave me, instead of buying a fairly average one out. With this simple change, I was saving an extra $32 a week. Not bad, ey? If soft drink, juice or flavoured milk is more your thing, why not buy it for a fraction of the price at the supermarket and take it along with your homemade lunch every day?
A homemade latte
5. Pick up an extra shift at work.
I was in two minds about this because let’s face it, no one wants to work more hours. But I was serious about saving some extra cash, so I did it anyway. Even though I was working 6 days a week, I managed the time I wasn’t at work more effectively so I could still do the things I wanted, and not feel like I was spending every waking second at work. Still, I’d only recommend this for a short period of time. Too much work can get very tiresome!
6. Cook at home more often.
If you eat out three times a week, try and reduce it to only twice. If you eat out once a week, try and make it a fortnightly event instead. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save just by making small changes. I’ll admit this was fairly easy for me to do because there isn’t any food in any restaurant in the world that I adore more than a home-cooked meal! But I definitely reduced the number of times I would go out for lunch on the weekends in an effort to save that money for my travels.
7. Wants versus needs.
It’s that internal conversation that goes something like this:
Do I really want to get that mani/pedi? Of course!
Do I really need a mani/pedi? No.
Do I really want that second latte for the day? Absolutely!
Do I really need it? No.
Do I really want that super cute dress and new pair of heels? Duh! I never have anything to wear!
Do I really need them? No. I can’t fit all my clothes into my wardrobe as it is.
You get the idea! Ask yourself these questions whenever you are faced with a wants versus needs situation, and it suddenly becomes harder and harder to justify spending money on every single little thing that you want. Remember, you are supposed to be saving your hard earned cash! I definitely struggled with this at times but the more conscious of it I became, the easier it got. And it was so worth it.
8. Open a savings account.
I already had a savings account, but if you don’t, do your research and talk to people to find out which banks and account types will be best for you. It makes it so much easier to keep your eye on your goal when you can see your hard work paying off as your savings account grows!
9. Set up an automatic bank transfer.
Setting up an automatic transfer between the account your income is paid into and your savings account helps you with prioritising your saving goals! Each fortnight (because I was paid fortnightly), after my pay was deposited, I set up for a portion of it to be moved from my everyday account straight into my savings account. Doing this definitely helped me to save money without even thinking about it – I set up the transfer once and it occurred automatically after that. Of course, it’d be wise to always make sure you have enough in your everyday account to pay rent, bills, and any other things that come up, e.g. car registration, insurance, etc.
The travel piggy back is off limits (source)
And that’s it! Fairly simple, right? Those 9 tips were the money saving methods that truly worked for me and helped me to realise my dream of travelling the world for six months, without needing to work. Obviously not all of these will suit or be possible for everyone (like getting a housemate or moving home). But I think the key is to think about where you can make some changes to your spending habits, and make them!
So, now I’m curious!
What are your tips for saving? Do you have anything that’s worked particularly well for you?
With love, Carly xo