We all want to travel the world, but let’s face it… none of us are millionaires. The good news is, you don’t need to be! All it takes it some discipline, diligent planning, and some pretty simple cost-cutting solutions to get your travel fund going. You’ll be off travelling in no time!
We all have the ability to do anything we set our minds to, and the same goes when saving money. It’s not always going to be easy, and you’re going to have to sacrifice some things in order to get to where you want to be. But that’s okay, because the coffee you are skipping from your favourite café will mean nothing in the long run. It’s all about looking at the big picture.
It’s important to start with a concrete saving plan where you set out goals for how much money you will be putting aside each week. Take a look at every expense you have and figure out how you can either get rid of it or tone it down. However, it’s important to not be unrealistic. You still need to have a life and you definitely don’t need to sit at home every day in order to save money. It’s all about putting into perspective what’s important, what is worth spending your money on, and making small changes in your life that will make a huge difference. By the time your trip rolls around, you won’t even notice the changes you have made in your life, but your bank account will be looking a lot brighter.
20 Create a savings plan
This is the number one secret to saving money in a short amount of time. If you don’t have a saving plan, it will be impossible to stay on track as you will be spending more than you can afford to. First you must figure out how much you will need for your trip, and then break down how much money you need to save each week in order to make that happen.
Once you figure out that magic number, you have to make it a priority to put aside that amount of money from your paycheck every week. If for some reason you need more money for spending one week, the next week you will have to compensate. You will feel motivated and determined to hit that target every week.
19 Put things in perspective
In the months leading up to a trip, you really have to put into perspective what is worth spending your money on, and what is not. Would you rather spend that $100 on a new pair of jeans, or on a ziplining experience through the Australian rainforest? Spending money on experience will beat anything you get out of materialistic items (which is not a lot).
With each purchase you make, you have to ask yourself: is this a need or a want? If it’s simply a want, you don’t need to buy it. And if you won’t be needing this particular item when you are away, then DEFINITELY do not buy it (you won’t be bringing that $100 cashmere sweater to Thailand), because they will just be collecting dust in your closet when you leave.
18 Don’t eat out
This is a HUGE money saver. If you really want to save money, say no to dinners at expensive restaurants and that pit-stop at Pita Pit on the way home from work. It’s crazy how much you will save if you opt for home cooked meals rather than eating out every day. A $50 meal is the amount that you can spend on a week’s worth of food at the grocery store or your local market. Even if it’s one meal a week, those dollars will add up.
Choose a day of the week dedicated to meal prep and planning, so you are less urged to eat out at the end of a tiring day.
17 Move back in with the parents
You can save a heck of a lot of money when you aren’t paying rent every month. While this may not be extremely desirable to you, moving home with your parents while you save for a big trip will be the best thing you ever do. Not only will you save up to $1000/a month depending on where you live) in expenses, you will also get some epic home cooked meals (thanks mom).
If this isn’t an option for you, consider downgrading to a cheaper option.
16 Sell everything you don’t need
Leaving for a trip across the world is a great opportunity to de-clutter and get rid of things that you don’t need you. And you know what they say: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! There are a ton of second-hand shops that will buy back your clothing if it’s still good quality, or you can post on online forums.
Packing for a year (or however long) trip makes you realise how little you actually need, and can put into perspective the things that you definitely won’t miss. If it’s going to be collecting dust at home, might as well sell it for some extra cash for your trip!
15 Get a side hustle
Work hard, play hard. My mentality before a big trip is to work as much as I possibly can, because I probably won’t be working for a while. Once you are on your trip and find yourself low on cash, you will regret that you didn’t pick up that extra shift when you had the chance. It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but it makes a difference in the long run.
If you have the extra time, pick up an extra job waitressing on the weekend. Or pick up some freelance work that doesn’t interfere with your schedule. If you have free time, fill it with any activity that allows you to earn money.
14 Start a change jar
You will be surprised how quickly those pennies add up! Having a change jar that you can throw spare change in when you can will make a huge difference in a few months. A few dollars every day won’t phase you, and then you will realise that you have a couple hundred dollars in the jar!
Since I was waitressing before I left for my trip, I put all of my spare change from tips in the jar after every shift. I didn’t even think about the few dollars I was losing every day, and then one day I had accumulated a pretty hefty amount without even trying.
13 Stop buying coffee every day
Say goodbye to your favourite Starbucks drink every morning—it’s time to start making your coffee at home every day. That $5 a day might not seem like anything, but if you are drinking one every day, it’ll add up to $35 a week (that’s $140/month!).
This is a small expense that will make a huge difference in the long run. This way, you can wake up earlier and enjoy a cup of coffee in the comforts of your home, and you won’t have to wait in long drive-thru lines that make you late for work. The coffee is the same at home anyways, for some reason we just like it when people prepare it for us.
12 Quit the bad habits
You definitely need to quit anyway, so this is the perfect opportunity to do so. It's not only detrimental to your health, but also your wallet. You will save a ton of money by cutting this out, and you will also feel a heck of a lot better physically.
This habit is also extremely inconvenient while travelling, with long plane and train rides that won’t allow you to do it all the time. So, in order to avoid future frustration and hostility during your trip, ditch the pack now. You will generally feel more refreshed during your trip, ready to tackle any adventure that comes your way!
11 Cancel your gym membership
Instead of paying $50 every month on a membership, opt for exercise in the great outdoors! Go for a run, hikes with your dogs, and do your daily workouts in your backyard—no equipment needed!
For me, instead of paying the hefty fee it took to attend yoga classes three times a week, I took a volunteer opportunity at my local studio that gave me access to FREE (yes, free) yoga every week in exchange for a few hours of work. Call around to studios and gyms, as some hire volunteers to clean in exchange for a membership. It’s an awesome way to still have access to your favourite workout spot for free.
10 Stay in at night
A sure-fire way to ensure that you will never be able to afford to travel is if you are spending all of your money on nights out. We all know how much saving mentality can go out the window when you are out with your friends and having a good time.
You don’t have to sit at home every night, but when you do choose to go out, be smart about it. Have friends over for drinks instead of going to a bar to buy expensive cocktails, or commit to one night a week versus two or three times a week. That night when you go out and spend $100 on drinks is not worth it, trust me. That money is much better spent on a cool excursion at your destination.
9 Use your car less
Another great way to save money is to try and use your car less, so that you won’t have to fill up the tank as often. If you can, change your morning commute to walking or biking, and only use your car when you need it. Obviously this isn’t doable for everyone, but cutting back on trips where you can use alternative transportation is ideal.
If you have a co-worker that lives close to you, carpooling is another way in which you can cut your gas costs in half (or more if you have more than two people). And hey, it’s better for the environment, so you are minimizing your carbon footprint as well.
8 Buy second hand
I almost always buy things second hand when I have the chance to. Shopping at vintage and second-hand shops is not only fun, but it’s a way in which you can shop before a trip without feeling insanely guilty about it. You never know what gems you can find!
Buying second hand is cheaper, trendier, more unique, and is beneficial for the environment. It will honestly chop the price of an item in half… sometimes even more. And the best part is, you won’t be one of ten people wearing the exact same new trendy item. This is a saving hack that is more of a lifestyle change that will save you a ton of money throughout your life.
7 Food shop at cheaper places
While you may be accustomed to shopping at the same gourmet grocery store every week, it’s time to opt for a cheaper option. Certain food shops will charge higher prices for more premium brands, however you can get the exact same product for sometimes half the price if you buy a different brand.
Also, local markets are usually a cheap place to get your fruit and veggies for the week, without sacrificing quality. You don’t have to eat badly to save money, but there are certain premium shopping outlets and items that you can cut back on to save some bucks.
6 Downgrade your phone plan
Phone plans can be pretty pricey, with some costing up to $100/month. You probably don’t think twice about what your phone plan offers you, and also don’t think twice about add-on’s you are paying for that you never use.
For example, when was the last time you called someone that is living across the country? Probably never, so you don’t need to be paying for long distance minutes. Also, do you really need 5GB of data a month when you are constantly using Wi-Fi? You could probably do with using your phone less, so if you have a more simplistic plan you will feel less inclined to constantly use it.
5 Get a new credit card
Instead of sticking with your basic credit card, inquire with your bank about travel credit cards that will give you access to travel deals and allows you to spend your credit points on flights and hotels. You will receive more perks than you think, which will reward you since you will likely be constantly using your card throughout your travels.
Those points can add up pretty quickly and will save you some money on the road. It’s always a good idea to check with your bank on what the best option is for you that will allow you to get the most out of it.
4 Learn to say ‘no’
No more being a ‘yes man’. When you are in saving mode, you have to learn when to say no to expensive outings or weekend getaways with friends. Yes, it sucks saying no to something you want to do, but it’s a sacrifice you have to make if you are wanting to stay on track.
This doesn’t mean that you have to say no to everything, but prioritize what is most important and suggest alternatives. If a friend asks you to go to brunch, offer to cook breakfast at home for the two of you. If you want to take a weekend off to go to the cottage with friends instead of staying home to work, just make sure it’s not an every weekend kind of thing.
3 Do things that are free
There are a ton of different activities you can do that won’t cost you a dime. On the weekend, instead of going for a shopping trip, visit your local art gallery or volunteer for a local charity. Instead of Sunday brunch with the girls at your favourite café, pack a picnic and head to the park. Spend as much time as you can outdoors doing active things that you enjoy, whether that is going for a bike ride or sunbathing on the beach in the summertime.
You don’t have to sit at home every weekend in order to save money—there are a ton of different options for you if you just take the time to look.
2 Do some coupon cutting
A lot of people don’t realise how many deals are actually out there, because a lot of the time people just don’t think to look. From grocery store flyers filled with coupons to Groupon deals that give you serious bang for your buck, there are a ton deals that can save you a ton of money on everyday items as well as more luxurious outings.
Also, if you are wanting to go out for dinner, check the daily deals of the restaurants you are interested in. most restaurants have daily deals going on, happy hour with cheaper drinks and food, and deals for two people to dine for a discounted price.
1 Keep your distance from financially-irresponsible people
One of the easiest ways to spend money is when you are spending time with someone who is not on a budget, therefore you feel as though you have to follow suit. No one wants to be that person counting pennies, so you will feel more inclined to spend more than you normally would.
This doesn’t mean you have to cut people out of your life that aren't on the same wavelength as you, but you may want to opt out of going on a night out or weekend getaway with people that have expensive habits. It’s easy to let go of any saving logic when everyone around you is spending like they have all the money in the world.