Now that this year is well and truly underway, the routine of the daily grind has started and weekends are like gold, it’s time to start saving towards this year’s holiday. Here’s my 12 best money saving tips to save successfully for your next big trip!
1. Make A Budget
Be realistic. Work out a minimum amount that you get paid regularly and determine your expenses. Work out how much you need to save for expenses like food, rent, petrol, phone, internet, electricity and health insurance. Then see what is left. Don’t feel down about this! This is your chance to make your self proud further down the track when you have paid for your trip all on your own accord. Trust me, I even managed to travel internationally as a uni student. Strictly stick to it and the rewards will follow.
2. Save On Food
Surprisingly enough lots of our budget is spent on food. I’m not talking about eating out, that’s yet to come. What I am referring to is the food that is cooked at home. Cooking can be expensive. This is why I try to find simple recipes that have minimal ingredients, yet include a variety of healthy ingredients eg simple stir-fries, curries, salads, tacos, baked vegetables etc. These types of meals aren’t 5 course, but they are reasonably healthy, include vegetables and have a small number of ingredients, leaving you with more bang for your buck. I also find cooking larger portions of meals can be a good money saver also. This way only a little more of the same ingredients are required, instead of purchasing a whole set of new ingredients altogether. And let’s face it, working full time and coming home to dinner already cooked once in a while allows for more time relaxing! I’m not complaining there.
3. Pick The Right Time To Grocery Shop
I think this is important. We all know that going shopping when you’re hungry is a definite budget breaker. Impulse buys and budgets just strictly don’t go together. Another thing to think about is whether you do one big grocery shop for the week and stick to exactly what is on your list or rather do a series of smaller grocery shops. From my own experience, going to the stall a number of times in a week can cause the budget to be blown. Planing your meals and doing one big shop can be a way to combat the food budget. Plus you will be super organised, know what is on the menu for the week and stops those spontaneous take away purchases.
4. Try To Eat At Home
This does’t have to be as bad as it seems! It doesn’t mean that socialising is out either. This is just a way to save on those expensive restaurant meals, tips, taxes and enjoy inviting people over to your home. Asking friends to bring a dish is a great idea or alternatively take turns in playing host and visiting each other’s houses. Whoever’s house it is provides the meal. And again, it doesn’t need to be elaborate meal and turn into a cooking competition! Even the humble backyard barbecue, healthy homemade pizzas or baked dinners can be winning meals.
5. Do You Really Need It?
Before I went travelling last year I thought I ‘needed’ certain clothing pieces for travel. However I soon discovered that there are shops all around the world! And most countries are a lot cheap to buy clothes in that Australia also. As hard as it is trying to save, it’s important to try to stick to your budget. This unfortunately means those one-off purchases are out. You don’t want to be visiting an amazing place and be too strapped for cash to be able to do anything that costs money, wishing that you didn’t buy that lipstick or new shirt. Think how much better you will feel when you are on the road, cashed up and indulging in your travels. Chances are when you are standing in front of the Eiffel Tower you are going to forget all about that Victoria Secret Perfume. Plus it’s less to carry or in my case, send back home.
6. Get A Coin Tin
All of those coins and $5 notes or in America’s case, $1 bills, can be easily placed in a sealed money box or coin tin for a better day. Do this regularly and by the time you open it you will be rewarded with hundreds of dollars for your trip. You wallet will also be lighter minus those coins and value will be added to your tin. Warning: this kind of saving becomes addictive!
7. Multiple Savings Accounts
Divide your savings into multiple online savings accounts, attached to your one main account. This is a great visual trick to saving money. When you see your money in smaller amounts, you are less likely to spend it as it feels like you have less money that what you actually do. I tend to spend more money when I have one account with one big savings chunk. This is also a great way to help to pay bills / rent as you can easily have one whole account dedicated to exactly that. I also like to leave myself with only a small amount of money on my savings account that I use with my bank card. I think this is a good trick to stop those spontaneous purchases as you have physically limited yourself to little money on your card. Of course this is where having your bank app on your smart phone is handy in case of an emergency and you need to transfer funds quickly. Maybe not for everyone but works for me.
Try to walk or ride where you can. This also has health benefits. Otherwise using public transport (and helping the environment) is the next best thing. If like in my case you live in a small rural town away from public transport try to car pool or take turns in driving whenever you can. If you have to go to the shops, try to plan all the things you need to do and do them within the one day, to save on petrol costs. This all helps the number of digits in your bank account increase!
9. Enjoy Hobbies At Home
I hate that saving money has such a negative connotation. Here is your chance to truly engage in your hobbies and all of those things that you have previously been too busy to get around to doing. I have rediscovered a passion for reading, have researched into future travel destinations, started this blog and gone on a lot more beach day trips and hikes around my home town as a result of being on a tight budget. Having more time to yourself is a positive thing!
10. Sell Your Stuff
Travelling makes you realise that we all just have too much ‘stuff.’ We collect it, are given it, buy it for ourselves, feel obliged to keep it or simply haven’t had the chance to get rid of it. Clutter can honestly be one person’s junk and another person’s treasure. I have started a business from doing exactly this! Selling your things is a perfect way to make a little more money to fund your trip. Just make sure when you see it, you actually save it! Plus it’s good preparation for living out of a suitcase with limited belongings.
11. Making Money
Think about what it is that you are good at. What are your talents? You can use these to make yourself money. Whether you are musical and can busk, can bake great cakes or simply offer a service, use this opportunity to make a little extra money. And you will probably enjoy it as you are good at it. I started my own furniture redecorating business. I collected old unwanted items, restored them and resold them to make a little extra cash. I have also offered a home tutoring service for students every afternoon after school. Think about what you are good at and use it.
12. Reward Yourself
Once in a while it is important to celebrate your success. This is the time to buy that one off item, go out for dinner or whatever it may be. This might be the excuse to break the budget or you could even have a section of your budget dedicated for exactly this. Just don’t celebrate daily 😉 Maybe once a fortnight or month might be appropriate. But remember your reward doesn’t always have to be something material or costly. Try to be creative with your rewards!!
Have any other money saving tips? Share them here!