After making the decision to travel the world I calculated I would require around £20,000 for a 10 month trip. This is probably larger than most people’s budgets as I had to ensure my mortgage and related expenses were covered while away.
Unfortunately £20,000 is not a small amount and unless I won the lottery I realised I would have to do some serious saving.
I was determined not to take on a second job or work extra hours as I appreciate the importance of a good work-life balance. There’s no point travelling if you’ve driven yourself to depression working to make it happen. I can’t see that being in any way enjoyable.
So I decided to stretch my income as far as I could. I don’t earn a lot – I probably come in as “average” in the UK but still managed to save around £750-£850 each month.
This was only possible by making some serious sacrifices and ensuring I put my travel savings ahead of most other things. These are a few examples of what I did to cut back my spending and boost my savings.
Set up a standing order
Each month transfer a specific amount of money into a savings account. Do not touch this money again. Learn to live within your means and you’ll soon find you don’t miss it. Before you know it you’ll have a good lump sum saved ready for your travels.
Although I’ve never been an avid shopper I do like pretty things. Before I started saving I would “treat” myself to a new outfit or some shoes regardless of whether or not I needed them. When I started saving I set myself a strict rule – no new clothes unless really needed. I realised I could wear the same dress to two different weddings and learnt to fix holes to keep my favourite tops going for longer.
This is a huge money drain – both at home and on nights out. This doesn’t mean you have to become boring and stay in every weekend, but perhaps offer to be the designated driver. You save money on alcohol and taxis while still getting to see your friends. Plus you generally find they’re so appreciative of a free lift they’ll pay for your soft drinks and entry into clubs – saving your even more!
I am a huge fan of Dominos and previously would tuck into at least one a fortnight. Cutting this back to once a month was easy and meant my pizza habit cost me half as much. As the date of departure loomed I cut it out altogether and saved bundles. We all have that “bad food” which costs us money and our health – think of this as a good opportunity to break the habit.
Although this may seem counterproductive – spending money to save money – it really works. Netflix is only £6 a month in the UK and offers endless entertainment. It’s much cheap than buying DVDs, going to the cinema or paying for regular TV packages. Fact is when you’re staying in and being boring while saving to travel Netflix is essential.
These are just a few ideas and we all have our own financial weak spots. The best way to find yours is keep a tight record of your expenses for a month or so and see where it all goes. Then you can work out where it’s possible to cut back.