When I was younger, I had the mindset that travelling was a lucrative hobby/lifestyle. Back then (I’m talking during 2010), flights and accommodation were way too expensive for a 16 year old high school student working a casual job in the fast food industry so I put the idea of travelling the world in the back of my mind.
During university, I met many people who have travelled to many different countries for volunteer work, holidays, and study abroad semesters. I figured if I really wanted to travel, I will save for it and that is what I did. Nowadays, travelling is becoming less expensive as more budget airlines and cheaper accommodation options such as AirBnb emerged (You can sign up to AirBnb here for a $50 discount on your first stay!).You don't have to be rich to travel. You just have to be financially savvy. Click To Tweet
With my next travel adventure to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Kuala Lumpur in March 2018, here are 10 tips on how I am saving money to travel.
1. Set up weekly payments straight into a separate bank account
If I could tell you the best personal finance tip, it would be to set up separate bank accounts for different purposes. One, you have your main account where income comes in, and expenses go out. Two, you have your long term savings account, preferably with a high interest rate, for big future expenses such as a house. Your third bank account is your short term savings account a.k.a your travel funds.
By having a separate account for your travel funds, it makes it much easier to manage your travel savings because you can visually see the amount of money you saved for travel. Each week, set up an automatic transfer from your main account to your travel funds account. It could be $50, $100, $250, any fixed amount depending on your income and fixed expenses.
2. Make a travel funds jar for loose change
Don’t underestimate the power of loose change. Over time you will be surprised when you count all the loose change you have collected. When you come home, empty the loose change from your wallet (who wants to lug around coins all day? Not me!) and put them in a travel funds jar. Banks usually have a coin counter machine where you can empty your coins and it will give you cash or a transfer to your bank account.
3. Cook more, eat out less
Eating out is more expensive (and sometimes unhealthy!) compared to home-cooking. To save money, plan your meals for the week and take a list of the ingredients you need when you go grocery shopping. Supermarkets have weekly sales and promotions so take advantage of them! Also, fruit and vegetables at your local grocer is usually more cheaper than supermarket chains, and more importantly, it’s better to support small local farmers (yay!) This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out at all. You can absolutely treat yourself from time to time but be wary of how much you are spending on take out.
4. Take public transport
Having a car is expensive. You have to spend money on petrol, registration and maintenance costs. Instead of driving, opt to take public transport. Not only does it save you money, it is also better for the environment.
5. Set a weekly budget
When saving money in general, budgeting is so important. Knowing how much money is coming in and where your money is going to makes it much easier to save as much as you can. This is where a weekly budget comes in. From your weekly income, set aside money for groceries, fixed payments, bills, and other miscellaneous items you may purchase. With the remaining amount of money, put them straight into your savings so that you aren’t tempted to touch them.
6. Analyse your fixed payments and subscriptions
I’m talking about your phone bill, internet bill, Netflix, Spotify etc. Do you really need them? Can you live without them? Can you find an alternative? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself when analysing your fixed payments and subscriptions.
I switched to a cheaper phone plan where I am paying $18 per month instead of $45 per month. It still gives me call credit and enough data to live off. As much as I love listening to music, I cancelled by Spotify Premium. I can live with some ads playing every 30 minutes. This saves me $12 per month. I also cancelled my Netflix, merely because I don’t use it enough which saves me $25 per month. By cancelling my subscriptions, I am saving $37 per month.
7. Stay in at night
I am a 23 year old grandma so staying in at night is one of my fortes. I am not a party animal nor do I enjoy heading down to the bar for a drink. Find some things that you can do at home to save money going out. This could be hosting a dinner at your home with your friends or having a board games night with a couple of beers. You can even substitute a night out at the cinemas to watching a movie at home with homemade popcorn. Still enjoyable and cheap, right?
8. Learn a handmade craft
There are many handmade crafts you can learn including crochet, knitting, illustration, and sewing. What is great about learning a craft is that you are filling your time with a hobby so you won’t be tempted to go spend $$$ on other activities and shopping sprees. You can even gift your handmade creations for birthdays and presents, or open an Etsy shop to sell your creations to save more money towards your travels!
9. Stop buying new clothes
To save money, resist the temptation to buy new clothes. Your old clothes are still wearable so you need to think about whether you want to spend money on that new dress or have a spa treatment in Thailand? The choice is yours. I know what I will pick!
10. Resist the temptation to buy a coffee everyday
Coffee keeps me functioning throughout the day but this really hurts my wallet. A coffee costs about $4 on average and if you multiply that by 7, that is $28 per week. Multiply that by 4 and you’re out $112 per month. Multiply that by 12 and you are spending a whopping $1344 per year on coffee. That is a lot of money when you take it into perspective.
Can’t give up coffee? You don’t have to! A financially savvy solution to your coffee addiction is to make your own coffee at home and take it with you in a reusable cup. Want a coffee more cafe-style? Invest in a coffee machine. I promise you that you will be saving lots of money in the long run.