The common question I get when I tell people I’m off travelling is “How are you affording that then?”
I then say how I saved for the last few years and then that answer is usually met by a variety of further questions:
- What? You managed to save? HOW?
- You’re always socialising, how have you saved?
- You must owe money to someone or some company?!? How are you not in debt?!?
So I thought I’d write a bit about how I saved. It’s all about making cutbacks but still trying to have a life, so really you prioritise what you can live without and what you can’t. I made an early call that I’d save but not want to miss out on seeing mates as I love socialising, and all my family live miles away, so I’d be pretty lonely without friends!
Spreadsheet your finances
Yes it’s boring, and sounds so uncool, but how else are you going to save without seeing what your money goes on, and what you have left over each month? Make it simple. Monthly outgoings against your income. Is there anywhere you can cut back?
After this, see what you have leftover each month, and decide what you’re going to save.
Which brings me onto…
Use cash not plastic
I seem to be one of the few people among my friends that use cash and not card, however the reason is that I’d usually withdraw my weekly budget on a Monday. That means come Friday, I know what I have to go out with that weekend. Got a lot leftover by Friday? Don’t spend it all for the sake of it, that’s more for your money pot and travelling fund.
Savings account with no easy access
So I’ve said to go back to cash and not card, now I’m about to tell you to go even more old school! Get a regular savings account with no easy access. In this day and age it seems mad if you can’t access your cash instantly by an ATM, online or via an app, but hear me out!
A regular savings account can offer these benefits:
- A separate account from your current one, so you can see your funds grow and how much you have to go travelling with, and less chance of you spending it
- Set up a standing order on your payday from your current account so you never even see the money to spend it
- A lot of regular savings accounts offer more interest if you pay in every month. Meaning you’re more likely to save an amount each month
- As some of the smaller building societies run these mostly, a lot of them don’t have many online facilities or apps, and you may even get a passbook not a cash card, which means you can’t even go to an ATM at 4am in the morning to get that oh so tasty kebab!
As always read the terms and conditions with these accounts, most you can put a flexible amount in of around £20-£500 a month, and most do grant access if you really do need it (but most likely with a loss of interest).
The Money Saving Expert site should have an up to date list of the best ones currently.
Buy stuff for future travel use now
Now this is admittedly a hard one, but lets say you’ve got that urge to treat yourself to the latest bit of tech or gadget (I know technically we should be saving, but I do love my tech!). You could spend a few hundred pounds on a games console, but realistically in a few months/year you may be selling this for half what you paid for it. Instead maybe get a great digital camera which you could take later on your travels? Or some noise cancelling earphones?
Same goes for presents. Birthday/xmas etc ask for stuff that’s portable with you to take travelling, not a new 55″ TV!
Work out a target
So here you need to set yourself a goal. Researching online, and from my previous travelling, I’m budgeting myself a very rough £35 a day/£1000 a month. Now in some countries I’d expect to be way under that (most places in South East Asia for example), other countries like Japan and Australia, that budget will probably even be on the low side, but it should work itself out all in the wash (I hope!).
Also budget for anything you need to buy before hand, flights, travel insurance , equipment etc
Then work out how long you want to go for, and you should have a rough goal to aim for.
Stop buying the things that add up!
That £3 cup of coffee you buy yourself each day on the way to work is costing you roughly £720 each year. Cut that out and that’s a month’s budget for travelling in a cheap country! Look at where else you can make changes.
Want to go to the cinema? Then look to see when cheap or 241 night is. Want to go to a restaurant? Then go to restaurants that have offers on that night. Yes it may seem cheap, but tell your mates that you’re doing this to save money to go travelling. If they’re good mates, they should understand, and tell them they save money in the process too!