Whilst I wish I had a suga daddy or rich parents to fund my adventures, it just is not the case. The recurrent daydream of sitting outside an awesome white cave house atop the cliffs of Santorini with my best friend, sipping some red wine and watching the sun set over the caldera, had to stop and become a reality.
We have ALL been there, hopelessly day dreaming about the holiday we want to have but seemingly cannot attain, either because we feel we cannot afford it, or because we feel we do not have the time.
And I don’t know about you but I have an array of bad spending habits that lately include buying shoes and sports gear, as well as the ongoing issue of me + food, that make the concept of saving thousands of dollars for a long trip seemingly mission impossible.
So how did I save $18000 to travel in 5 months? Sticking to the K.I.S.S principle, I narrowed it down to three key words.
Reduce. Save. Create
Make a list
I am a list-a-holic. They help to visualize the clutter in my head and strategise and prioritise the to do’s to get to my goals.
Make a list of all the things you need to do to get to where you want (which is overseas). Initially, this will be an illogical verbal diarrhea with little structure.
Then break it down into smaller more attainable goals with a timeline.
Mine looked something like this:
Create & save more (get some cash flow)
a) Get a job
The equation here is simple. Job = money. Money = holiday.
Having recently graduated, it was the first time I was applying for a job in a field unfamiliar to my qualifications and expertise (if you even call it that!). Let me tell you, I applied to anything and everything. Including being a pizza maker at Dominos.
Retail, customer service, cleaning, administration, call centres, grocery stores. Until finally I landed a job as a receptionist.
b) Get a weekend job on top
Crazy or logical? Depending on what sort of holiday you are looking for, consider getting a weekend job. For me it meant I could splurge on some niceties to take with me (whether that be clothes, accessories, camera, tours) and have a bigger safety net for the on the road expenses (as I know I can be a princess).
I worked as a researcher within my university earned a bit extra which allowed me to buy some goodies including my backpack, my camera, good quality shoes and sandals and clothes!
c)Have a good savings account
This has potentially been my favourite discovery pertaining to money in 2015. The ING everyday account has no monthly fees and a baseline interest rate of 2.75%. add on a savings maximizer account and deposit at least 1000 a month into it from an external account, the interest rate rises to 4%! How amazing is that.
There are some wonderful tools and tricks on the site you can play around with to determine how much you need to be saving in order to reach your goals, and the extra money gained by interest could mean a few extra beers or activities on your holiday!
At the time of my signing up, I also received a 250 dollar voucher to the ICONIC in Australia. Such a happy customer!
d) Sell your stuff
Some of your belongings that you no longer need or use could be an awesome source of income. Shoes, clothes, electronics etc. Get that gear up on eBay, gumtree, or even word of mouth amongst your mates or on Instagram can help get a few bucks in your pocket to buy things you actually need!
e) Consider a travel credit card
I will be writing a post soon on your best options for cards whilst travelling. But some travel credit cards enable you to earn thousands of points, equivalent to a solid distance flight between major cities which is a massive saving on flights that you can put toward other things.
Some credit cards such as that from NAB also offer interest free periods which could work in your favour if you find yourself short of cash to go on your holiday.
Get the app expense manager on your phone and start logging your expenses!
a) Eat from home
As a massive foodie, this one has been tough. But just record your expenses one week prior to embarking on some serious saving and see how many times you buy nibbles or lunch or dinner out because you are with a friend or just hungry. And it becomes easily your biggest re-workable expense.
You know yourself, so work out a plan to prevent your money going into food.
b) Cut out coffee
A coffee a day is approx. $4. Most people religiously as if reflex purchase one as part of their morning routine and I assure you if you add this up over any period, you will be flabbergasted at the amount you are paying for productivity!
So try to make do with your instants or coffee machine at home and bring one to work and save yourself the chunk of money you could be saving towards your holiday!
c) Clarify what you really need from life/simplify things for a bit
As I write this post, I am on surfstitch.com trying to refrain from purchasing everything on the site out of a neverending lust for their stocked clothes.
But each time I ask myself, can I hold off on this until I reach my money goal? Will this money mean something better when I am overseas? Can I live without it and am I indulging myself? Sometimes I fall short. And that’s ok. You keep reassessing and working towards the goals.
Ask yourself honestly. If you want this holiday, what luxuries can I sacrifice even though I could attain them if I want, in order to have a blast overseas?
d) Can your Gym membership
The gym is a notorious sucker of bank accounts. So many times have I or my friends full of hope, signed up to the gym seeking to workout regularly and too often does the motivation die and the input of workouts is not worth the amount deducted from my account.
I will admit, I was lucky. I hit the jackpot with work as they provided on site training every Monday and Thursday, 1 hr boxing and 1 hr pilates. As well as a fully paid for gym membership to the uni gym down the road. I was so grateful!
Even still, there are alternatives, I am not asking you to become a lazy fat ball that couch sits and tv whores around. Youtube has some wonderful at home workouts you can follow. I love :
Tune out with some tunes on your iPod and go for a run around the block. The fresh air and cardio will suffice if you really want to stay fit.
My favourite however has been the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Workout. An easy printable workout I could do at home that has revolutionised my approach to fitness and my body!
69.97 for a 12week program that you can REDO. And believe me it kicks your sorry little toosh into shape. To me it has been absolutely worth every cent and when you divide the amount you pay over a 12 week period, that amounts to just under 6 bucks a week, cheaper than ANY gym membership out there and even cheaper when you redo the workout.
Something I will definitely be taking with me overseas to continue staying fit on the road!
e) Reduce going out/drinking
Have you ever gone out and woken the next day to sink your face into your hands and think ‘oh god there goes my pay cheque’. I have. I am unfortunately a bit too generous in that state, the ‘wooo this is so much fun’, buying people drinks to prolong the good times.
So I tried to remove the temptation, offering to be designated driver, and have also left my atm card at home on several occasions to prevent that happening.
I am saving the good times for overseas!
f) Move back home
Bit of a no brainer. Rent can be the biggest expense. Try moving back home for a couple of months to increase your savings.
What happens when things do not go to plan?
I didn’t save as much as I wanted each month. Things come up and eat at your expenses. There are friends to see that you won’t for a while, birthdays, you name it.
The last 5 months…
I had 2 car accidents in the space of a week. Kaching.
I had ridiculous phone bills because my data got chewed through. Kaching.
I had to drive to work as it was so far away from where I lived. Petrol in Sydney is not cheap. 65 a week. Kaching.
And of course, the necessary expenses for the actual holiday. My bag, my camera, my clothes, my shoes. The plane ticket, my transport around Europe.
It’s so depressing watching your hard earn money leave your bank account and constantly resetting the balance. But it is just important to keep saving.
But here I am, 2 weeks out from flying, and I have done ok.
Things pop up. But you deal with them.
And all the sacrifice and the work, the planning, the mental stress? It has been absolutely worth the ordeal in order to make my childhood dreams of travel come true. And you can too! YOU can save money for travel!