Today’s guest post comes from our friends at OrSaveIt, the UK’s first “impulse saving app” helping the nation cut out bad spending habits and put their cash towards something more meaningful. Keep updated with the best savings tips on their blog and look out for money saving competitions on Facebook and twitter!
If you’re planning to go travelling this year, chances are you won’t be able to afford it straight up. You may have taken on a part time job or cancelled a few subscriptions, but still lack a solid strategy to help you hit your savings target.
Fear not. Travelling the world isn’t just for the ‘gap yah’ elite among us; a modest income can go a long way (literally) if you make a proper plan. Whether you’re a solid or a sporadic saver, we’ve got some tips to help you put away as much as you can towards the trip of your lifetime.
Got a pen and paper? Here are 5 savings tips you can’t afford to miss:
1. Make a financial plan
You don’t have to be a chartered accountant to manage your money. There are several really useful guides to make a personal savings plan. Start a spreadsheet including every single outgoing you’re expecting in the next month, no matter how small. Make fair estimates for the amount you spend on food, travel and bills and decide on the highest achievable amount you can save – making sure you review this every month.
Improve your cashflow by paying off any overdrafts first – the worst thing you can be doing is paying interest on loans and overdrafts. When you spend money, you expect to get something in return, right?
If possible, start a separate bank account for your travel savings. “Out of sight, out of mind” may be the most useful cliche you’ll ever hear when it comes to saving money. If you’ve got enough time before your travels, an ISA may be an option for you, otherwise check out a roundup of the best savings accounts out there at the moment.
My best advice is to set a direct debit for the amount you’ve worked out you can afford from your spreadsheet and not have to push yourself to make a manual monthly transfer.
2. Start shaving
See those estimates you’ve just made for how much you spend on food and travel? Lower them. This takes planning, but shaving a little off each outgoing could save you some serious cash. Cut out just €10 a week on food and drink and you’ll save €150 by summer. That could buy you over a month’s accommodation in some countries!
Living frugally doesn’t mean taking packed lunches absolutely everywhere you go (though that does help, trust us), it means taking 10 minutes to research where you could be getting a cheaper option on everything you spend. Are you paying too much tax? It’s worth checking your tax code early rather than claiming a hefty rebate later on. For purchase decisions, always use price comparison websites like PriceRunner and mysupermarket.com to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
3. Write everything down
You should already have an overview of your expenditure from the financial plan you’ve made, but writing down where you whittle away your petty cash will encourage you to adopt the ‘essentiality’ mentality. Do you really need that take away coffee? Or is it an impulse spend you could go without? Remember: like losing weight or stopping smoking, shaving your spending is easiest to do if you work it into your everyday life.
4. Take up a hobby
All this restraint might make saving for your travels sound like a prison sentence. In some respects, you will just have to sit the weeks out. But a trip like this is worth the wait, right?
Finding an ongoing project to take your mind off things is a good way to stop you going out and spending money. Why not choose something that will enhance your experience when you’re abroad, like learning a language? There many decent free resources out there to make sure you’re in with the local lingo wherever you go.
Alternatively, freelancing is a hobby that’s fruitful as well as fun. Websites like peopleperhour.com are worth signing up to as a means of making money around your schedule, and pretty much anyone can do it.
5. Make a check list
Accommodation is one of the easiest areas to make your finances go further. Hostels are almost always the best option and they’re not just for students; a comfortable bed and a hearty breakfast come in at a fraction of the average price of a hotel – and there are luxury options too!
When it comes travel insurance and currency exchange, make sure you shop around. I’ve just been given free travel insurance with my building society without even asking for it.
Most of the big-name travel guides online offer money advice, so it’s really just a case of doing your research before you jet off to make sure you don’t get caught out when you’re out there with visas, exchange rates and and unusual culture traits.
When it comes to saving for your travels, remember: you’re spending the largest part of your disposable income on what’s most important to you. Each time you’re tempted to splash out, think about what would make you happier – that impulse buy, or sitting on a mountaintop? We’ll let you decide.
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- How to Protect Against Fraud and Overspending on Holiday
- An expert’s guide on how to find cheap flights