Unless you are in the fortunate position of being able to get on a plane with a second’s notice (one day people, one day) then you will have to go through the process of saving for your trip away. Long term travel is not like taking a holiday for a week. Even a trip of a couple of months requires a small chunk of cash to sustain you, unless you are planning on working abroad. Don’t not let that phase you however, as with some careful budgeting, some determination and your end goal at the front of your mind, the process of saving can be both educational and rewarding.
The thing I struggle with is keeping motivation up a couple of months into my saving period where my diligence starts to slip and I find excuses to be frivolous with my hard earned cash. You still have to live, but bear in mind that if you want to meet your target within the set amount of time you’ve got to live like a prince, not a king.
Without further ado, here are 10 ways to increase the amount you can save each month for your trip:
- Get a Plan – once you know your target, and have worked out what is the minimum amount you need to put away each month to meet the target in the right amount of time, you have a base that you can go above and beyond if the mood takes you and you have spare capital knocking around.
- Got Change? – I made myself a rule that every time I walk over the threshold of my room at home I dig my hands into my pocket and empty all the change I have into a money jar. You would be amazed at how quickly the change adds up. Empty it every two months or so and there is usually £60-70 in there, just from coins. This also works well when I am thinking of buying something small. Because I don’t often have coins in my pocket, I have to break into a note. If I decide to buy, then I have lots of change and if I walk into my room, the change disappears, entering the safety of the money jar.
- The Workhorse – I am currently saving to go to New Zealand, and in order to save ALL the money I make from my day job, I needed some extra income for the pot and to spend on myself, which is essential to keep motivation. So I got a part time job in a local pub. Couple of shifts a week, and maybe one evening on the weekend. More money coming in, less time to spend it. Happy days. My day job is in construction and is quite labour intensive, so when I started at the pub I thought I was going to keel over from exhaustion. BUT, I started eating the right food and my body adjusted to the change in routine and now it is not a problem. Fuel your body and you will be fine.
- Clear Space, Clear Mind – Allot of people, myself included, find little reasons to keep all the stuff that we don’t actually need anymore. These dusty objects have well overstayed their welcome, and yet nostalgia is holding us back from moving them on. Well, DON’T SUFFER THE CLUTTER! A clear space means a clear mind, and what better way to knock two birds with one stone, than selling some of that unwanted stuff and putting the proceeds towards getting your feet stuck into that golden sand. Websites like Gumtree or eBay love your junk. Also find the local FORSALE pages for your area on Facebook. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
- Cough, Cough – Sadly, I’m a smoker. I’m not a 40 a day man by any standard, but I do still spend money each week that could be put to better use jumping out of a plane in New Zealand, or riding my bike through India. Every little helps, so even cutting down will bump those pennies up.
- Cold Hard Cash – Leaving my debit card at home when I go out has been one of the best things for keeping my spending in check and allowing me to put more money away each month. Handing over those notes holds you really accountable for the money you are spending. It also means that when I am a bit tipsy and my saving plans go out the window, I’m not packing the plastic which holds the keys to my plane ticket. Cash becomes a finite resource and keeps you that little bit more focused.
- NOMNOMNOM – Do you buy lunch at work every day? I used to go down to the bakery and pick up a panini and a sausage roll most days at work, and it adds up pretty quickly. Some weeks I would be spending close to £40 on lunch alone, and not really getting much to show for it. So I decided to start taking my own lunch in with me. All it took was spending ten minutes dancing around the kitchen in the morning, crafting my perfect lunch out of the goodies in the fridge, and now I am much happier, fuller and richer. It’s a win-win.
- Work those legs! – If you drive to work every day, you spend money on petrol. It’s justified if you work 40 miles away (that raises whole other questions like why do you want to spend 2 hours of your life in a car everyday) but if you only drive for 10 minutes, why not cycle? Forget the money you save, and think of your BUM! Saving money has never been so sexy. I don’t have a car at the moment, because I don’t want to pay the extortionate price for insurance, which would get me nearly three months in Asia alone. Ridiculous. The mornings are also lovely at this time of year, and exercise and fresh air are a great way to start the day!
- Line your stomach! – If you are like me, you like a drink. And if you are like me when you have a drink, you like your food. My appetite coupled with some Dutch courage are not conducive to the saving mind-set. Pizza is just such a good idea at 12 at night! The delivery man knows me by name at the pub… that’s bad. To combat these urges I have started eating a larger meal before I go out and making sure that I line my stomach. Not only does this curb the cravings, it also means I wake up with a hangover less frequently because the food soaks it up! Good for the brain, good for the bank.
- You Gotta LIVE! – The most important way to increase the amount you save each month, is to make sure you SAVE EACH MONTH. You can’t get the extra in the bank if you don’t have the foundation. I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes it’s not easy to make that target when you are a couple of months into it. The key is motivation. Without this you are going to justify spending money you know deep down you don’t want to spend, and push that trip further and further away. No one wants that. One of the best ways I have found to keep myself motivated is to budget into my saving plan some money each week for me to spend on myself. I use this money to see friends or buy the things I need to. In the past I have tried to say to myself, you are going to not do anything for three months and just save EVERY penny you get. I barely made it a month. I am too social to be a caged bird, so allowing myself room to live, even just like a prince, not a king, I can keep meeting those targets month after month.
There you have it, 10 ways to increase the amount you save each month for your trip. If you have never saved for anything substantial before, I cannot recommend doing it enough. Once you have done it once, and got the results, you will not be able to work out why you found it so hard before. You will learn allot about yourself and this process will increase your self-control tenfold.