My Tips on Saving for Travel

piggy bank

If you haven’t already, START SAVING. I think the easiest way is to have a separate bank account set up just for travel savings. You can get ‘free’ accounts with no monthly fees and often with high interest. But you could have an old fashioned piggy bank, have a meticulous spreadsheet tracking your account balance, or a sock under your bed. Whatever you do, if you don’t have a savings stash stop reading and go set it up now. No time like the present, it won’t take long, just do it and you will be surprised at how motivating it is. If you already have one, congratulations, you are well on the way to taking that trip. Now, let’s see what we can do about plumping your savings up a little.

Take a look at your BUDGET, or if you don’t have one take a slap on the hand and go do it. It is easy and actually quite cathartic to know where all your money goes. There are plenty of templates, just Google it, or design your own. It is easy to know what money comes in, just be sure to account for every dollar you spend. The aim is to try and cut back and funnel money into your travel savings wherever you can.

There are the tried and true and over-used SAVINGS TIPS that I will briefly mention just to be sure they didn’t slip your mind, along with a few, maybe not unique ideas, but certainly something to make you think outside the square.

*Take your lunch – go on, all the cool kids do it

*Cut back on your caffeine hit (coffee or cola) or make it at home

*Stay in – avoid $20 cocktails, overpriced popcorn and Thai-wannabe restaurants

*Cancel your beauty appointments – DIY your spa treatments, get a low maintenance haircut and colour

*Learn how to grocery shop – yes, it’s an art form

*Free-cycle

*Sign up for freebies

*Use reward points

*Cut Cable TV – do you really need that many channels and isn’t there something better to do than watch TV?

*Collect all your change in a jar

*Get rid of credit debt – it is really sad to see all your hard earned money going straight to the bank

*Ditch the gym – get out in the great outdoors for your exercise, make your own weights, use equipment set up in your local park

*Review your regular bills – can you downgrade to a lower cover, pay a higher premium, change providers, use less power/internet/phone credit etc. This is a pain in the bum to do and is time consuming but you may be able to make some significant savings here.

I advise that when you do your budget that you list your flexible costs separately. This way you can take note of what you spend your “extra money” on after the cost of living (this is all the stuff you must pay). Ask yourself, IS IT MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN TRAVEL? Do you really need to go out to dinner every week – maybe once a month is ok or maybe you can cook an ‘exotic’ meal together once a week instead. Is that magazine subscription necessary – you could borrow it from the library or a friend, get a cheaper e-subscription, or cancel it because you never get time to read it anyway. I’m not saying you need to stop all the nice things, just be sure to look at each one and decide what you really want and put aside a set amount for them and stick to it.

You may be surprised where a lot of your money goes every year. I find that GIFTS are an often-overlooked expense and can be a big one. Do you really have to buy everyone a Christmas gift – can you set up a secret Santa system instead and only buy for one family member, opt out of office gifts (do you really need another tacky mug), do you have to spend that much on a gift, consider homemade gifts from the heart, don’t buy for your third cousins husband you only ever met once. Even consider stopping birthday exchanges – at some point you realize that you start getting things for your birthday that you don’t really want or need. Either ask for money or items towards your travel or make an agreement to simply not do gifts for each other. This can work for friends and family. It is all about cutting costs and clutter.

Cars are money guzzlers. First you have the initial outlay, then comes the regular maintenance, registration, CTP, insurance, and the regular stops to fill up with overpriced petrol. Assess if you really need a CAR, or even 2 cars? Look at other options and see if they will save you money and if they are feasible. Can you car pool, use public transport, walk or bicycle? We decided to replace our second car with a scooter, which is much cheaper to run. You may decide to sell your car (ka-ching!) or to just simply cut back on it a bit – either way there is usually a dollar to save somewhere here. If not, shop around on your insurance and mechanic to be sure you are getting the best deals and find out what day or which station is cheapest to buy your petrol at, use vouchers, and you can even lift the hose to drain those last precious drops.

For fellow BOOK LOVERS find your local library, pool e-books with friends, buy used books, have swap parties. This could actually apply to all sorts of ‘hobbies’. Think outside the square.

SET A GOAL, either an amount or a deadline, and keep track of your progress. Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t hitting your targets, just reassess. Are you being realistic? Are you doing everything you can? Is there a hole in your pocket – are you accounting for every dollar?

Always ask yourself before you spend any money; do you really need it? Do you want this more than seeing the Eiffel tower, more than white water rafting the Zambezi, more than {insert travel wish here}?

Do you have any savings tips you would like to share? What was the most helpful tip on here for you?

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