Saving up so that you can afford to travel more can sometimes seem like an impossible task. However, it’s not as hard as you think. Heck, if I can do it, then you can too!
Here are my top tips for saving up your pennies so you can afford to go explore.
1. eBay, eBay and eBay some more!
That top you’ve only worn once since you bought it? Get rid of it! Your old iPhone that’s sitting abandoned in a draw somewhere since you upgraded to the latest model? Get rid of it! Your new bike that you used everyday for a month until the novelty wore off and you dumped it into the deepest, darkest corner of your garage? Get rid of it! You get the picture.
Have a scout around your home and see what you have lying around that you never use. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless!
Last month I made £50 on eBay from just a handful of bags and shoes I never used anymore. I highly recommend giving it a try! My advice is to list your item as auction only and to start it off at a fairly low price.
2. Say goodbye to unnecessary expenses
Take a look at your monthly outgoings and see if there’s anything you can afford to cut down, or even cut out completely.
For your essential expenses, such as monthly bills, see if there’s a way to lower the costs. Perhaps you can downgrade your phone plan from £30 per month to £7.50 per month? If you live in the UK, I’d highly recommend checking out Giffgaff for this. They have some really low cost plans that you can still get unlimited texts and a decent amount of data and minutes on. Plus, you don’t have to commit to a contract.
Next, think about your luxury expenses. Have a Now TV AND a Netflix subscription for example? Ask yourself if you REALLY need both of these (I mean, now Game of Thrones has finished, who needs Now TV anymore? Netflix definitely wins out for me because…Stranger Things 2! Need I say more?!)
Another thing I did when trying to save money was to stop going to the gym and expensive yoga classes and to make the most of free outdoor exercise instead. I took up running and made the most of the free outdoor bootcamps that you’ll find in many cities and towns across the globe. London in particular is great for this – check out Nike Training Club (free running clubs, park bootcamps and yoga classes) and Our Parks (free outdoor bootcamps).
Even if you just cut out a few £/$/€ each month, it’ll add up to a lot in the long run.
3. Make packed lunches your new best friend
A great way to scupper your money saving efforts is giving in to the temptation to buy food and drink whenever you’re out and about. Those almost daily sandwiches and coffees from Starbucks will quickly add up to a small fortune.
Taking an extra few minutes to make yourself a packed lunch or to cook a little bit extra at dinner time to save for lunch the next day is totally worth the extra effort.
You don’t have to let it stop you from socialising with friends or having fun though. Treat yourself to a Friday night takeaway or that grande-mega-fancy-frappa-latte-cino-with-ten-extra-pumps-of-hazelnut-and-a-cherry-on-top once in a while. Instead of going out to restaurants frequently, you could suggest meeting friends for a picnic or a good ol’ home cooked meal instead.
This applies to alcohol as well – we all know how easy it is to blow £50+ on a night out! As an alternative, you could buy a couple of beers / bottle of wine / whatever you fancy to have at home instead. Your wallet (and liver) will thank you for it in the long run!
I don’t believe you have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. For me, it’s all about the experiences and making good memories!
4. Go back to basics
Take a look at your toiletries and cosmetics to see if you can narrow down what you use and just keep it to the essentials. Try to buy products that you know will last you a long time (Lush shampoo bars, conditioner bars and facial soaps are great for this).
When it comes to trips away, look for cheaper travel alternatives. In the UK, train fares have sky-rocketed over the past few years and getting coaches is often a much better option. Yes, it takes a lot longer, but when you know you’re saving £100, sometimes it’s worth it!
For your weekly grocery shops, embrace the supermarket own-brand basic ranges. You don’t have to commit 100% to the basic alternatives (nobody wants to live on sad cardboard cornflakes instead of Kellog’s – that’s just depressing), but you can save a few pennies here and there when it comes to things like pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans, where there’s very little difference in taste between the value and other brand ranges.
5. Tell your money where to go, don’t wonder where it went
When it comes to managing your budget, I’ve found the budget planner template on Google Sheets to be really useful.
You can input your monthly incomings and outgoings to figure out how much you can afford to put aside into your savings. It’s also a great way to figure out which costs are essential and which ones you can afford to cut down on.
It’s easy to get a bit obsessive about budgeting things down to the last penny (I know I have the tendency to do this), but don’t worry about always sticking rigidly to your plans. Things will vary from month to month. Set yourself realistic goals and your saving will be much easier to stick too. From my own personal experience, I advise against leaving yourself a measly amount of spending money for the whole month – you’ll soon find yourself being unsociable, miserable and dipping back into your savings!
6. Bonus tip: Got a birthday, Christmas or any other present giving occasion coming up?
Why not ask for a donation towards your travel plans instead? If you know the destination you’re going to, you could even ask for a donation in that particular currency to give you a head start.
Make saving money your priority and with a little patience and dedication, you’ll be jet-setting off to the place of your dreams soon enough.
Remember to find the right balance between being dedicated to saving those pennies, while also still allowing yourself to have fun though. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself once in a while – much like a fad diet, you’ll really struggle if you feel miserable and deprived all of the time!
Be good to yourselves and happy saving!
P.S. What are your top tips for saving money? Let me know below!