So, you established a saving plan. You set up a fix amount that goes straight to your travel funds on payday (click if you missed the previous session)! In other words: you took the most important step towards your trip. By taking control over your finances and committing to a monthly saving plan, you took responsibility over your travel project and travel budget.
But wouldn’t it be great to push your saving plan to the next level and increase your travel budget?
hell yeah it would! We need to go a bit more in depths now. Review your expenses in detail and cut them down. As much and as radical as possible. I know it’s sound not like much fun, but I am sure you can get a hold of it. Take it sportive: you score each time you save a coin.
From experience I can tell you that it gets easier to cut down spendings and increase your travel budget as closer the departure dates approaches. Don’t give up if it’s not as easy as pie in the beginning; your motivation will grow proportional to your funds.
Focus on the goal you’ve set: save money to go on a trip. Know that every cent you are not spending will effectively go into your travel funds. How aggressive you tackle that project is up to you.
Maximize your monthly saving amount
Everyone knows the concept of “nah, those 20€ per months are really not changing anything” .. and you are right.. if you’re not spending them on one thing they will disappear just in your monthly spendings and then yeah, it really made no difference.
But; if you increase the monthly amount that you put aside on payday by 20€, you have effectively 720 Euro more in your travel piggy bank, if your saving plan covers 3 years. In other words: your travel insurance is paid, or your Nepal trek, your city break to Hongkong or whatever it is you would love to do but that initially does not really fit into your travel budget. It does make a difference.
My main question -and you should raise that question too – is: how far are you willing to go to pursue your travel priority? There is obviously no right answer 🙂 Saving money for travel does not only mean to cut down on take out food and to stop buying shoes. You rather have the option to turn your entire lifestyle and habits around your travel needs: long term or as a project during a certain timeframe.
You will see it becomes easier and easier to cut down costs as closer the trip comes. Also, it’s another way to identify and set your priorities; save money on something you don’t care too much about after all, but preserve the real good things. If you could choose between a gym membership or a monthly night out with your friends, what would it be?
What can you do to incease the amount that goes on payday to your travel funds?
Now that the mindset is set, we are approaching the details, review your expenses, see what can be cut down longterm and what will effectively increase the monthly base savings:
review your subscriptions and memberships
short: cancel everything that is NOT absolutely vital and add the scraped figure to your monthly transfer
- Do you need that gym membership? Or could you cope with running in a park or follow a youtube course for a year or two?
- does you kid really need the horse riding lessons during the year before departure? Could the cost maybe be covered by Christmas or birthday as a common effort? Or cut you down on swim lessons but visit the community pool together (win/win now that you don’t have a gym membership anymore)
- cancel all newspaper and magazine abos
- don’t have more bank accounts/credit cards than you need
- downgrade your phone contract – most people don’t need unlimited internet when free wifi is available anyway or a landline when they are using their mobile phones only anyway
- review your insurances and assess what you really need
- Amazon Premium, Netflix, Deezer, Spotify… check those ones as well.. the free version of spotify isn’t too bad after all
- Evaluate if you could sell your car and commute or take your bike (I recall: gym membership is gone!) public transport isn’t too bad for a while (it’s temporary, don’t panic.. and you it has other positive side effects: more time to read, less pollution)
- cancel your football/baseball/basketball season ticket
If your trip is still a bit ahead, let’s say 2 or 3 years… review the option of moving to a smaller apartment or to a cheaper neighbourhood. Extreme, I know. But imagine you could save a few hundred Euros extra a month directly to your travel budget?! Potentially you could even double your monthly total savings! Maybe it’s closer to your or your partners job and you really could sell on top of it one of your cars or even both (yeah, touching first world grounds here, I know) But think about it, how far do you want to go?! (by bus haha :D)
- Prepare your apartment to be rented out over airbnb if possible (depends on the city you live in of course and the law that applies) That does not only refers to when you are ON your trip, but even before. Use every day of absence and try to rent it out. Is a festival/convention/tourism thing happening in the town where you live? If yes, take advantage of the high demand and the better rates. Check if it’s worth to find shelter on a friends or family place (or in your car if you still own it) and rent out your place for a better price than you normally could get.
Some hands-on ideas that can help you to scrape
- cancel all newsletters from online shops to reduce temptation
- ignore fashion and don’t buy any clothes. No clothes. At all. That sounds crazy and the relevance of this advise grows proportional to the approaching departure date. But despite all the craziness, think about it: If you are only a year away from departure; do you really need a new winter coat? Or would the one from last year do the job perfectly well? Do you need any new additions to your wardrobe at all? I am sure that most of you guys (and me, obviously) are having enough clothes in your closet to be ok for the next 10 years, if just reviewing it pragmatical.
- if your kids need clothes, check 2nd hand and close a deal with friends that are having older kids
- invite people over instead of going out
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be happy and proud of every evening that you did resist the temptation, stayed home and did not buy that beer.
- don’t get take out food and delay grocery shopping. See ist sportive, try to make dinner from what you’re having home and if that means fried Pasta with an egg and ketchup; every cent you’re not spending means scoring
- don’t by things. Nothings that is not vital. At all. No decoration for your apartment, no kitchen supplies if not replacing something broken (that is indispensable) No DVDs, no books. But get a membership from the library and swap DVDs with friends if necessary. Buy video games 2nd hand and resell them after, but don’t spent money on crap you don’t need.
- Avoid Starbucks
- don’t buy anything for later, anything that would be stored away during your departure and anything that you don’t need ON your trip. Think about everything as an additional item that has to be packed up, stored away and that might have you to go for a bigger storage plan.
- cook your meals and take them to job instead of getting your lunch at the canteen
- don’t go on trips in the year prior the big adventure. If your trip is 2 or 3 years ahead, take low budget vacation until then.
- cut down on beauty stuff: hair dresser, manicure, pedicure … if really needed, stretch it; go 2 weeks later than usual and you made a nice extra saving
- if you get a reimbursement from somewhere, put it directly to your savings. You spent that money weeks ago, the hole it cut into your wallet is flattened out – NOW is extra; put it aside to your travel budget
- every sum you might get supplementary from birthdays, Christmas or your from feeding the lizard of your neighbours aunt; put it aside. Don’t let it mingle, don’t loose track of it.
- try to earn money on the side. Babysit, tutor, walk dogs. Resell stuff on ebay… If you have a certain skill: use it Open a shop on Etsy with your crafts, provide a service on Fiberr or an experience on Airbnb
- be a co-host for an Airbnb in your neighbourhood and welcome guests on behalf of the owner.
Keep in mind, everything you don’t spent will be added to your travel budget. That’s what you’re doing all this sacrifice and hassle for.
Sell your things, everything you don’t need. Don’t make the mistake and think that 1€ for a t-shirt from last season is not making any difference. It does. And you realise it best if you collect every cent you make from sales in a piggy bank. Don’t let it disappear within your budget. Profit from the motivation you’ll get from seeing your funds grow.
If you are following us on facebook (click if we’re not connected yet), you probably noticed the regular pictures of me behind a folding table selling our belongings on flea markets. Our priority lays rather on getting rid of stuff than making the best profit. However, we managed to add enough to our travel budget to finance the entity of required travel gear: Bags, shoes and jackets for the 4 of us.
And the most important: Don’t expect too much from your self. Don’t feel guilty about having a good life; don’t treat yourself with take out dinner without enjoying it and don’t feel bad about things you’ll buy despite all good intentions.
Turn it around: be happy and proud about every item you want to buy but you don’t. Be happy about every take out you don’t order and every drink you won’t have. See it as adding money to your funds, not loosing some. Don’t stop living after all!
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