Saving money is the only way you're going to be able to travel and it's hard, I'll give you that. Once your salary is chopped up by bills, rent/mortgage payments, food, insurance & tax, it comes out with a much smaller number than you'd like. Then you have to face the decision to cut that money down further by putting some away each month into a savings account limiting your ‘for fun’ spending further.
But you can do it. Those of us who travel regularly aren't just lucky, we work our asses off to do it. At one time I had 3 jobs at once AND attend night school to finish my higher qualifications while trying to get on the road. It's tough! You'll note that most of us travellers don't mind getting our hands dirty if it means saving to get away, and I'm not ashamed to say I've cleaned shit from toilets to get those extra pennies in the bank - if you have a goal you can do it!
And don't be fooled by the idea of working abroad, 'I only need enough for my flight and a few nights accommodation once I get there before I'll be earning'. NO - Wrong! You need the working visa which costs money, you need to be prepared that it may take you a month or so to find a job and you may have to move to a different city to get one which will also cost serious cash. You then need to keep in mind that, just like at home, most jobs pay per month so you won't get your pay until at least 30 days after you've started your new job. Below I've outlined the things I do to save my money away beforehand, so hopefully this’ll help you too!
Now I don't expect you to be as extreme as me and have three jobs. I really had no social life for the 5 months I worked for my Oceania trip which was fine by me as I was getting over a broken heart and needed the distraction. However, by having two jobs you can save 100% of one of your paychecks which makes a huge difference. I was able to put back over £1000 a month when I had two jobs, and £1400 when I had three. But don't burn yourself out! Only one of these jobs were full time the others were zero hours contracts so I would generally get 30-35 hours a week extra and it adds up!
Get a Separate Savings Account
Saving big money is never going to work if you only have one account. You'll see it go up and up and think, 'ah that £100 here or there doesn't matter I have so much!' But it really does matter and it adds up to a lot in certain countries like South East Asia where £100 can equate to 50 nights of accommodation, well over 100 pints of beer or 7 long distance bus tickets to new destinations! By having a savings account you'll shove the spare cash aside and it will very quickly build up into a small fortune.
Live at Home
Yep - this one sucks. It means that you have to live with your parents and that means constant questioning about what you’re doing, respecting their rules etc but it does mean cheap rent and huge money savings. If you're working all the time too, it does end up just being a place to rest your head and that's not so bad. Just ignore all the comments about what you eat and what TV you watch and countdown the days to your travels!
So I love my coffee very, very much. Especially a beautifully made skinny iced caramel macchiato with extra caramel drizzle and sugar free syrup. However, at a price tag of £3.85 a day from the store, by making it at home I save myself at least £20/week! Do the same and within a year you literally will be able to save up enough to jet off for a 4 weeks in South East Asia including flights!
That Night Out
We all love that night out. It starts with just going out for a drink, just one, but ends with a £100 bill after and a stonking taxi charge too! Plus, don't forget that £5 kebab that you just 'had' to have which now is making you feel a little ill... That £100 or so spent on drinks and entry to clubs is a huge saving, and if you cut those nights out to once a month from a regular weekend occurrence (or more - you know who you are you party tigers), that's some serious tuppence put away each month!
That New Jumper
There is that dream jumper, the jumper that is oversized and unbelievably cosy. With any comfortable and perfect item of clothing, there will be a price tag to match. If you’re heading to tropical climates next month there is no point spending all that dollar! Put it away - you’ll see those perfect shorts in Australia and be able to afford them if you don’t buy the winter wear and those shorts will come to much better use! If you desperately need it though, just shop around and find the best deal, I am admittedly a jumper hoarder so can’t judge too critically on this one.
Eating Out Choices
We all like dining out, but when the average dinner and drinks sets you back £30 it does add it fast. Not worry though, you can still enjoy a night out with friends just pick your meal smart! Swap that steak for a burger or pasta dish, or skip the starter and share a pudding. I will usually just pick a tap water, but even by limiting yourself to one drink and then swapping to water will save you a bit more each time.
Mobile Phone Contracts
Before signing up to a new phone contract, think about when you’re heading off. So many contracts are now two years long and if you’re going away in 9 months, buy a phone outright and get a monthly contract SIM card to go in it, or just continue your old contract until you’re ready to leave. This gives you the opportunity to save money beforehand and when you’re away! You also should shop around on this one too as deals seriously vary from shop to shop, and if you plan to use your phone abroad with a different SIM card, you’ll want an unlocked phone. If you want to know more about using your phone abroad cheaply, check it out here
Food shops can cost £50 or £25, the simple way to spend less here is to stop buying brand names. Own brands are just as good and generally half the price, it doesn’t matter if you shop in Asda or Waitrose the essentials ranges will always save you money. Cheaper cosmetics aren’t the devil either, many of the expensive brands also own the cheaper brands too and wouldn’t risk their names by creating any poor quality products. Similar ingredients and £10 cheaper - nothing is better! (For example Estee Lauder own MAC & Clinque, Loreal own Lancome & The Body Shop)
If you’re forward thinking you can plan a week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday. Packed lunches don’t have to be boring either as so many people think. While I agree a deli sandwich or gourmet salad will always beat my tupperware box version, with your average take away sandwich lunch in Bath costing £5 ($9 US for my American friends), you can see why it makes SO much sense to pack one up. With many office staff rooms having small kitchens it’s easier than ever to heat up leftover dinner or a soup on a winter’s day.
If you think I’ve missed any important money saving tactics, as usual please let me know in the comments or shoot me a message as I love to get your feedback! You may even teach me a new cost saving tactic in the process making me forever grateful!