Save for that Big Trip

Most of us dream about taking months away from the daily grind and spending time travelling to faraway lands. And many decide not to take the plunge because they think they would never be able to afford it. But if you do your research, are prepared to slum it a bit and set a realistic budget, then don’t let anything stop you. Never, ever, let the phrase “I don’t have enough money” fall from your lips. This is not an excuse! If you want to go, take note of the following tips to help you save and make it happen.

  1. Set up a dedicated savings account. Setting up your own savings account is the easiest way to keep track of your money and you can set up direct transfers from your wages or other accounts. The greatest advantage is that, in effect, you won’t actually ‘see’ the money you automatically transfer; hence you won’t really miss it.
  2. Use cash as much as possible. I was the worst offender for using my credit card for pretty much everything and I had to kick the habit. Best thing I ever did! Plastic may have its advantages but taking out a certain amount of cash each week and staying away from lure of the card will help keep your savings balance nice and healthy. Hide it away or cut it up if you have to.
  3. Budget, budget, budget! It’s painful, I know, but going through your income and outgoings will give you a realistic idea of how much you can save each month. You will want to save as much as possible, but you need to be able to get by until you leave. Don’t forget about things you may need to pay out for before you leave. Flights, visas, immunisations and insurance will all need to be purchased prior to your travels, so make sure you factor in these too!
  4. Do you really need that morning coffee? Adding up all the money you spend each week on magazines, food and other little luxuries can come as a bit of a shock. Save that coffee until you get to your desk, or pack your own lunch. It may not be as cool, but even £2.50 on a coffee and a fiver on lunch each day adds up to almost £40 a week. That’s over £2000 a year! Swap those luxuries at home for a comfier bed every now and then when you’re on the road.
  5. Staying in is the new going out. As much as we all love a good night out with friends, our wallets can take a good old bashing as a result. Regular meals out or nights on the town don’t need to be cut out altogether, but cutting down will see your savings mount up. Save these times for special occasions and instead have nights in with friends and ask everyone to bring along a cake and a crate or two.
  6. Time for the gym… Or maybe not. So many people take out gym memberships and most start out with good intentions. But how long before you start skipping in favour of a night out or because you have no time? If you don’t use it, get rid of it. As much as you think you will start to use it again, be realistic. Instead, why not try walking or doing an exercise DVD, which cost next to nothing.
  7. Have a clear out and sell stuff. Its goes without saying that eBay is the place to go to get rid of all your unwanted stuff. Have a good clear out and be ruthless, do you really need that jacket you haven’t worn for over a year? Do you still watch all those DVDs? Not only will you be able to give your place a good spring clean before you leave, you can make a little extra cash in the process.
  8. Get yourself a penny jar. This is easy money. All that change that weighs down your pockets and purses (or in my case, jingles around the bottom of your bag) can be put to good use. Instead of throwing them away (like my friend would, causing me to run after each coin like a desperate scavenger), chuck them in a jar. Once it gets full, put it in your account and you’ll get a pleasant surprise. As my Gran always used to say: “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”
  9. Find a part time job. Even if you have a job, see if there’s anything extra you can do to make a bit of extra money, if you have the time of course. A Saturday job could do the trick, or maybe do a bit of freelance work, such as editing eBooks, making and selling items or even a bit of freelance writing. Turn your passion into a money-spinner.
  10. Give yourself a goal. Saving up can seem like a bit of a slog, but it will seem worth it if you set yourself a target. Decide how much you want to raise, and make every effort to get there. If you find yourself succumbing to that morning coffee or that expensive meal out, then think about the luxuries you could afford when you’re off on your travels. Think to yourself, “Would I rather have these shoes, or swim with whale sharks Western Australia?” Prioritising your trip means you will be able to take a break from hostelling and bussing it round the world, and something to aim towards.
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