I love spending money. Whether it be on clothes (it’s usually always clothes) or homewares or technology, I will generally find a way to spend most of, if not all of my pay-check. The problem with this (if you ignore the thousands of other problems with this) is that I want to TRAVEL. And to travel, means you need to be good at saving money.
So, after a lot of soul searching and trying to figure out what I really want to spend my life doing, I realised I had to start making some changes. I knew what I wanted to do, but finding the right path to get there was incredibly hard. I had to become brutally honest with myself and acknowledge the fact that I was letting myself down. It became clear that I wasn’t doing everything within my power to bring my goals to life. And, once I did this, I began to notice things becoming clearer. I started to see what I needed to do, and I became more open to letting things happen organically.
So, here I am today, finally taking action. And here are some of the things I’ve been doing to reach my goals and how I’ve been saving money to travel.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
This one is really important! Once we actually sat down and planned our trip, we became so much more MOTIVATED to save. We finally had something we were working towards. When you plan your trip, you feel ownership over it. It becomes yours. Without doing this you’re just saying ‘I’m saving to travel’ without really having any idea what that means and where your money will be going. We created a detailed travel plan of everywhere we want to go, what we want to see and do, where we’re going to stay, how we’re going to travel, how long we’ll be gone for etc. Now, whenever I’m eyeing off a new dress, I can picture my entire trip and it has become so much easier to walk away.
*I am not very frugal and love online shopping, so this one has been a big help for me.
Set a savings goal
After we planned out our entire trip, we were able to sit down and work out how much money we will need to make our trip happen. We calculated vehicles costs, fuel, camping fees, food, activities etc. Then we came up with a grand total, added a little extra on to it in case of emergencies and wrote that amount down. Now, we have a goal to work towards. We know that certain unnecessary purchases can potentially set us back weeks and even months with our saving, and that the money we spend on a new tv for example, could have covered the amount we’ll need for 3 weeks on the road travelling. Then we ask ourselves ‘Is it worth it?’ and the answer is usually no.
Set up a savings account
We decided to set up a savings account purely dedicated to our trip. Now, we know that account is off limits for anything else. Having a dedicated account means we’re able to watch our savings grow. This gives you a great feeling and also happens to be a great motivator. When you start to see that amount growing, and feel like you’re getting closer and closer, it almost becomes addictive. You just want it to keep growing, so you save more and more!
Set up the RIGHT type of savings account
We set up a high interest savings account which means the money we have in the account earns a higher amount of interest than a regular account. I also set it up so that I can transfer money into the account via online banking, but can’t transfer money out of the account via online banking. To use money from the account, I actually need to phone the bank or walk in to the bank to transfer it out of the account. Online banking is great, but it makes it much easier to dip into your savings. By removing that option, the temptation is gone and I rarely touch my savings. When it’s time to go on our trip, I can easily contact my bank and change it to allow online banking.
Create a budget
I am often guilty of spending first and then saving whats left. I had to turn this around. So, I started by working out how much I need each fortnight for necessities (rent, food, fuel etc). Then I looked at my fortnightly pay-check and worked out what was left after I took out these necessities and decided on the amount that I wanted to contribute to my savings each fortnight. Now, whenever I receive my pay-check, I put aside my expenses and my savings first. Then, I am allowed to spend whatever money is left over.
Start saying NO!
We are dedicated to making our trip happen. This means sacrificing some of the things we would normally enjoy. For example: going out to dinner, attending concerts/festivals, catching up with friends for a night out, taking a weekend away etc. We realised that we need to prioritise our trip and saving money for our trip. The sooner we save the money, the sooner we go on our trip. Simple!
Spend less money
This one is HARD. But not impossible.
-One of the first things I did was to look at my subscriptions and memberships. Some were completely unnecessary, and some I had forgotten I even had. I cancelled these immediately.
-I’ve recently begun ordering my groceries online. This has been a super effective way to prevent unnecessary buying, and it helps me to only purchase the items I really need.
-As I mentioned earlier, I am terrible when it comes to online shopping. So something that helps with that is to remove any email subscriptions you have to your favourite shops and to unfollow them on social media. This won’t be forever, but for now, it’s much easier to avoid buying something if you don’t see it in the first place. Out of sight, out of mind!
-I avoid paying more than I need to when it comes to bills and other similar things. My electricity and gas provider offer a pay on time discount – I always make sure I pay on time so that I don’t end up paying more. I also try to avoid credit cards so I don’t get caught paying interest.
-Rather than wasting pocket change on useless things, I keep a little savings tin to collect all of my loose change. This way, it goes towards my trip instead of a chocolate bar, or something else I really don’t need. And trust me, all of those coins really do add up.
Be prepared to put in the time and work
We know that to reach our savings goal, it will take us up to two years. Could we save less money and go on a smaller trip or a more budget trip? Yes, of course! But that’s not what we want to do. So what that means for us, is being really realistic and knowing that to make our trip happen we need to knuckle down over the next two years and stay committed to our saving. It’s not going to happen overnight. For the last couple of years we have been going on smaller trips regularly throughout the year. Now, that has all stopped and we are completely focusing on making our big trip happen.
Think about the type of travelling you want to do and be prepared to put in the time and work to make it happen. Don’t give up on it because it means having to spend a longer amount of time saving money to travel than you wanted to.