I am not a cheapskate, could not be one even if I tried very hard. The reason? I want to enjoy my life all the time, on my own terms and being a cheapskate is not the way. I work so I have a steady income every month. But I have a goal too – travel as much as it is possible on a budget and within a time I have for my leave. So I must save for this. So I try.
I started seriously thinking about traveling about 2 years ago. The 2014 year has proven to be quite exciting – we visited Poland (went skiing), Copenhagen, Israel and Palestine, Cyprus, I went to Prague and Dusseldorf… I intend my next year to be even more exciting! But to do that, we must save. Back to the starting point.
I have my own tips on how to save money for travelling. These are for folks who work like I do and who wants to travel in their pleasure time, but someone who is saving for a life time adventure – traveling full time – might find them useful too. Now, go and open google and put “how to save money”. I bet you see so many results that they made your head spin! So why do I think my tips are better? In my case I want to save for holidays and if I can mange – for my 6 months trip to Spanish countries in South America (I am learning Spanish in addition to do that!). So I am focused and determinate! And this is what makes my tips work!
My tips are based on my own practice. I tried them and they worked for me, so they might work for you too. Depends if you are willing sacrifice few habits and make not a major change but maybe a little one… Anyway, lets start!
1. Work out your monthly budget – saving is all about planning. If you never done this before, try this website – Money Advice Service. As a full time working person with steady income you know how much you are going to have each month. It is not a rocket science to plan your expanses as there are things you must account for each month – bills and other commitments you must pay each month. Even if you cannot tell how much you are going to get each month, you can work out your lowest income and plan on that. Anything extra you can put into your saving account, which leads us to point number 2.
2. Set up a saving account just for your traveling expanses – make sure you are putting money into it and after that forgetting about its existence until next month when you need to put money into it. The best way to do it is work out your budget and set up a direct debit or standing order. This will allow you to save regularly and easier forgot about travel account even existing!
3. Set up direct debit for your electricity and gas. If you do that, you will be saving, as the companies usually reward people with some discount if they agree to pay DD. And besides if you can work out how much you are likely to spend on these bills, you can work out your budget easier and you will never land with a huge bill at the end of winter! Our provider is sending any over-payment back to us each year, so this is another way of saving, even better, because for a year you really are not able to touch this money! More information about DD can be found on Citizen Advice. Browse this brilliant website for more money saving tips!
4. Learn how to cook and bake. I am always amazed on how much money people spend on their lunches, when I come with my own home made food and pay for it a fraction of the cost. I do not prepare anything complicated. I do not like spending ages in a kitchen, nope, this is not me at all! But I want to laugh when people are surprised that the soup I am heating at work is home made. Really? Making a soup takes 10 minutes! And it is like you like it, not this artificial stuff from supermarket.
5. Cut down your “going out” expanses. It does not mean you must turn yourself into a “I am not going out totally” person. Go out, why not, but go out cheaper.
For example – cinema. Do you really need to go there during weekend? At my favorite local cinema if we go on Tuesday we will pay £6.65 per ticket for a 2D movie and normally on a weekend we would pay £10.45. A big difference if you really like going to the cinema!
Look for cheap or free stuff to do around. Last year we decided to join National Trust. We have visited so many awesome places and paid £64 for the year worth membership. Now the price is a little higher (£71.62 for a couple – there are other options as well), but it is still worth it if you like visiting interesting buildings 🙂
Ever tried a picnic, if the weather is nice? This is a cheap and good idea to spend weekend with you friends and if you prepare your food and buy drinks you will save a lot, and still be going out and spending quality time with your friends and family!
6. Shop only for necessities – don’t buy something only because you fancy it, buy only because you need it. How many bags, dresses, shoes do you need? Have a few outfits for a special occasions and buy practical clothes you can wear to work. I am not saying buy the cheapest clothes, but buy cheap once. Ever shopped at Charity Shops? This could save you a lot of money on clothes and you can buy good stuff to! Same apply to booth-car sales! Just because things were donated or people do not need them anymore does not mean they not good for you to use.
7. Compare supermarkets and shop around to find the one which is relatively cheap but offers good value stuff. Don’t eat rubbish food! Remember, your body is your temple and you will need it in a good shape when travelling. When shopping for food do not buy a lot. Try to plan what you are going to eat within next few days. Work out your meals plan roughly so you will not be wasting your food and your money. And never go food shopping hungry – you will spend more even if you did not plan to! Make a list what you need and stick to it!
Change your provider or discuss your contract for internet etc. – we did that and saved a lot! Don’t be afraid to do your research first, so you know what kind of offers are available for you. I know a person who is with the same internet provider for 5 years and has never negotiated the contract with them! Remember, they will not come to you to speak about your bills, you must call them because I am sure there are great deals available, better than the one you are on now!
8. Ask your friends and family for “chipping in” towards your travel instead of gifts! For me personally this is the best present I can ask for! My lovely sister is giving us some money so we can pay for a stay in Italy in February 🙂 She is giving us the best present in the world, and will help us to create brilliant memories! We love you lots!!!
And if they really need to buy you something, ask them for a practical stuff, something you will need for your traveling or even vouchers for a shop you saw something useful.
I am sure that list could grow endlessly, but these tips are the best and they will put your budget in place and let you save for your holidays. And as we at the verge of new year – perhaps make them your New Years resolutions?