Do you want to know how to save for your travel fund?
There is a lot of information and advice on the internet about how little money you need to travel. This works for many people and could work for you too! That being said, surely it is only an advantage if you have money in the bank to spend if you need or want to?
We plan to spend little and do and see a lot but we are also trying to save as much as possible. If we end up bringing it all back with us, that can only be an advantage!
How much money do you need?
The are two ways of looking at this. The first way is to work out what you want to do, how long you want to travel for and where you want to go. In 99% of cases you can find out how much this will cost you before you even leave the house. Add it all together and you have your target savings.
The second way of looking at this is working out when you want to travel and then working out how much you can save before you set off. This will of course potentially limit what you can do, where you can go and the length of time you are travelling.
Neither of these are wrong, it is just different ways of looking at it. Either way, you will need to be smart with your money!
Which ever method you choose, have a target and write this down. When you write it down it will help you to focus on it. If you are travelling with someone, make sure they know your target and challenge each other on this. If you’re travelling alone, tell friends or family as they will soon remind you of it when you go to purchase those shoes you don’t actually need!
How to start saving!
If you are anything like us, the more you have saved, the more you want to save. But where do you start?
The first thing we did was print out 2 months’ worth of bank statements and performed two simple tasks. The first was to look at every direct debit we had and simply cancelled the ones we didn’t need. We noticed that we were spending a lot of money on rent and bills and with these costs, it would take us years to save. We will cover this later in the blog. The second thing was to work out where our money goes. Simply create a simple excel spreadsheet, create a number of headings i.e. socialising, food shopping, eating out etc and start populating the spreadsheet with the average spend over the past 2 months. This was a massive realisation for us! We didn’t realise how much money we actually wasted!
Once you have completed the spreadsheet, you can then start looking for ways of saving money. This can be simple things such as changing your barbers, I was paying £22 per haircut when down the road I can get it for £8. It may not be as nice but that’s £14 every three weeks I can save which is £238 a year. Swapping expenses lunches whilst at work for the dreaded packed lunch saves £500 in a year etc.
My biggest outgoing was going to watch the football either live or in a pub which always resulted in alcohol consumption and spending money. Paying £20 to have this at home costs me £240 a year but saves me nearly £800 in a year. I could of course give this up but I need some enjoyment this year!
This could be a hard decision for you. We worked out that living in our own apartment was costing us over £2000 a month. That is a lot of money that we can travel a long way on. Lewis’ parents kindly have allowed us to move in with them for the remainder of this year until we travel. My family all live in Wales which doesn’t help when you work in South East England but I am very grateful to them for allowing us to move in with them too! With living on your own comes an array of belongings, junk and memories. Having to sell everything has been tough but all helped towards our travelling fund and the way I look at it is that I had nothing 10 years ago before I moved out and so it can all be bought again. Everything that was sentimental or had memories attached I decided to keep. It started off as a memory box but has turned into a trunk!!
No more holidays sadly…
This was the toughest one of all the saving. The thought of going 12 months without a holiday is tough but at the end of the day, we will be on “holiday” for a long time at the end of it. We can’t justify spending hundreds of pounds on a week away when that will keep us going a month in Asia on food and accommodation.
No more alcohol
We quickly realised when doing the spreadsheet that we spent a fortune on alcohol. This is an easy thing to cut out and make instant savings. Switch your alcohol to tap water and you can save a lot of money if you drink like we did! If you’re T total, this won’t save you anything sadly!
How to get the most out of your savings
Everyone knows that the interest rates are low and leaving your savings in a savings account will not amount to much. Many banks have introductory offers for new customers and I would recommend doing your research. We switched to Lloyds for their 5% introductory offer and put as much into this as they allowed. We also shopped around for an ISA and got the same interest rate. By doing this, you can spread your money around and get the most out of it. The down side is you don’t see your money growing in one place. If you are like me, seeing a large balance helps me to save more. The way I resolved this was to keep a spreadsheet with the overall amount and that is what I focused on rather than the individual balances.
Whenever you are about to spend money ask yourself “will I take or use this travelling?”. If the answer is no, don’t buy it. You will have less to store or dispose of when you eventually leave!
When you are spending money, don’t think about it at UK value, convert this into what it will get you when you’re travelling. £10 isn’t a lot in the UK but in some parts of Asia this will fund 2 nights’ accommodation in a hostel. That will help you to say no! I am always putting back cans of Redbull and sweets as this would pay for another night’s accommodation!
Check out our post on accessing your money whilst you’re abroad for free for more info!
If you have any other tips of ways to save, please let us know.