“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Ever read one of those quotes and get that mixed feeling of adventure but also defeat? I can’t be the only one to log into my Facebook or Instagram only to be bombarded by beautiful holiday photos taken on a picturesque beach somewhere hot and sunny, or in an exotic city I’ve never heard of. I also cannot be the only one who’s seen those almost gag-worthy inspirational quotes for maybe the hundredth time – I may even be guilty of sharing a few of them myself.
Its a double edged sword – part of you feels this massive sense of adventure, the need for more and the want to get off of your a** and do those things too.
But at the same time you also get that feeling of deflation as you look around your room, maybe you even packed your bag for this adventure, but then check your bank balance just to realize you only have enough money to get you to work the next day.
That is what these quotes and pictures lack – the know-how on what to do to achieve these weird and wonderful things. How does Sarah that you went to elementary with afford all of these trips, and how does your mom’s friend Susan’s son manage to go on thirty holidays a year?
For years I felt like this, and sometimes I still do, but I found a way to work and travel.
Even tho I am in a different country doing a job it is still a 9-7 job. It’s not full-time travel and that’s where I wanna be in the next few years. But i made it possible to be in a new country trying new things daily.
MAKE TRAVEL YOUR PRIORITY.
Sounds simple, right? Except I tried to do this for years to no avail. I’ve been trying to save on and off since I was fourteen, I’m now I’m in my twenties. And before this year do you know how much I’d saved? Absolutely nothing. Something more important always seemed to come up or I would order takeaway when I couldn’t be bothered to cook, to get a brand new phone, to getting tequila shot number seven on a night out, to get those new boots I really wanted.
Me this time two years ago was spending stupid amounts of money on alcohol and nights out. The second I got paid I saw every penny of it as disposable and somehow always seemed to find the money for more alcohol or stupid things I did not need. I was living pay cheque to pay cheque with no opportunities to move up in work. If I ever did get any extra money it would just be spent on new shoes or new jeans.
Thankfully now my priorities have changed into something that’s a lot better – TRAVEL.
Believe it or not, people who go traveling and travel the world do not have a magic money tree – or at least if they do they haven’t told me about it. We just change our spending habits to accommodate our travel ambitions.
But of course, this information is absolutely useless if you don’t even know how to save money if you feel you don’t do anything extraordinary and yet still can’t save. The following are simple, realistic tips on how to save money to travel plus how to spend less while traveling.
Food. Everybody needs it, its usually more expensive than we’d like, and it eats up more of your money than you usually intend.
So how do you reduce spending on such a necessity without starving yourself? It can be pretty simple really when you get into the habit.
Step one: keep track of what you buy over a week or a month and when. It may seem boring and a pain in the a** to write it all down but it can be very eye-opening. Record how much you spend on coffees, take out, meals, at the grocery store, etc. Then look at how you can halve it. Seems impossible, right?
Wrong. This is what I spent in a week sometime last year when I first started keeping a record:
Take away – $40.00-$50.00
Food shop – $50.00-$200.00
Alcohol – $40.00
Food shop – $100.00
Take away – $30.00
You need to look at what you’re spending and realize where you’re money is going – what’s the point in buying a meal every day for lunch and coffee on your way to work when you can invest $5.00 for a lunch box, $10.00 for a travel flask and save hundreds?
The organization is key when saving money – plan your meals, make your lunch the night before, wake up early enough to have breakfast and coffee at home, even bulk cook on the weekend if you’re pushed for time during the week. A shopping list is also always invaluable – I’ve been shopping before with no list and somehow spent $50.00 unable to make a single full meal out of the products so ended up caving and getting takeaway.
There is also the option for couponing and cash back apps on your phone. I must admit this is not something I do all too often when grocery shopping. I have known people to get groceries for virtually nothing just by cutting coupons out of magazines and newspapers, buying certain products with cash-back codes, and scouring online before leaving the house. If you do this, however, please do remember that just because it’s cheap it does not mean is a bargain. You do not need stacks of food ‘just in case’ – still only buy what you’ll eat.
TREAT YO SELF
Now nobody can be expected to live their life with absolutely no treats or happiness, even if that is just between adventures.
However, you also don’t need to spend $100.00 a week on date night or a ladies night.
Instead of going out to the bar we would have people over to the house, buy a few drinks or maybe even a bottle of vodka between us and spend the nights having drinks and playing cards while listening to great music. We’ve even done the same but taken some drinks to the bush where we can simply sit with a drink and watch the sunset with friends and have a fire.
Some of my best memories have been huddled under a blanket with some friends, pleasantly tipsy with some country tunes playing from a speaker, just staring at the endless stars in the sky and having a laugh.
If you still want to actually go out on proper dates there is a way – you will find most places will have offers when you have a look for them. You just need a patient and the mindset to save money, so look for the deals!
This one is slightly more difficult to achieve, and admittedly not achievable to everyone – however it is also a great way to save money. Downsizing is a great way to cut costs and increase savings.
You only have to do what you’re comfortable with – either lose a spare bedroom, move to a cheaper area of the city or a little further out, look for live in work, live in a shared house with two other roommates, or live in a shared house with eleven other roommates. Maybe even rent out a spare room on Airbnb!
Downsizing is also a fantastic excuse to get rid of what you don’t want – there are so many apps you can use to depart with what you don’t want anymore which can earn you a tiny little profit. I used Facebook to sell plenty of things I no longer wanted.
I touched on this previously with the food but honestly, it is so important. I have always been the sort of person to spend the second money hits my bank account, and only save money back that I hadn’t spent by the end of the month. Quite often that amount was nothing. The biggest thing to do is budgets – if you only use one bit of advice from this, use budgets.
What helps to do a budget is keeping track of everything you spend for a month so you can look at what you can alter, where you can cut back, and go from there. A budget isn’t finite either – you can go back and alter it to your requirements.
You can use any means you want to help you organize your own budget: I use a budgeting app on my MacBook but I know people who use Microsoft Excel or other phone apps.
Another great bit of advice is saving the pennies.
If you don’t use cash very often there are apps out there for spending on your card. For every purchase you make it puts the odd pennies into your savings account. So if you spend $3.99 it’ll put a penny across, if you spend $4.65 it’ll transfer the 35 pennies. It may seem small and it’s hardly the amount of money you’ll miss, but if it’s used it every transaction you’ll start to see it add up in no time.
A SECOND JOB
This isn’t for everyone but it can help massively. Another income is always going to help people save.
Three hours an evening is neither backbreaking or unbearable, even an extra six hours a week would add up to a lot over the course of a year.
Another option is a ‘side hustle’- if you’re good with business, skilled in any way or have something people are looking for this may be for you!
There are thousands of options out there for someone looking to create a small business or start freelancing. Just a few options would be tutoring, teaching English or another language, proofreading, copywriting, web design and more. Business ideas couple be drop shipping on eBay or Facebook market place, to creating a new product. There are even more complex/risky options of laying bets or online poker.
I do see some people even start selling for different multi-level marketing companies but this is not something I can happily recommend – the majority of people who start these end up losing money or take years to start making money back on their original investment. Instead of buying into one, even if you’re passionate about it, I’d instead recommend doing your own thing within that passion. Just remember that not everything you see online is true so even if it looks like everyone who sells MLM is making thousands it doesn’t necessarily mean its true.
With the internet at your fingertips, there is just so much you can do and so many great resources to find out exactly how! These things can be hard work and take a certain amount of time and risk, but the possibilities are endless.
From a lot of these, you can also start working towards what you want to do for remote work. I see far too many people only try to start this while they’re already traveling but this simply does not work – you need to start beforehand and work on building it up before you take off. It takes a lot of time and effort to start them so for this you’d probably rather be at home where you don’t have the thousands of distractions from the bustling cities to the crystal clear waters to take you away from your work.
Some people don’t want to work remotely at all which is fair enough, for them work and travel are two separate things that should not be mixed together. But for those who do there is:
– Online tutoring in anything from maths to languages to science to history at all learning levels and abilities.
– Web design if you’re tech-savvy – people will pay good money to have their website designed and even run for them.
-A virtual assistant or virtual chat support – this one doesn’t require as many skills as some of the others. If you love speaking to people and helping them this could be for you and is something a few places employ for now.
-Writing/blogging – For those of you with excellent writing skills you may be able to make money from blogging, publishing books, or even as a freelance journalist. This is a competitive game but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.
– Translating – if you can fluently speak or write in multiple languages why not show this off and use it to your advantage? I know I certainly would be! This is a very skilled position but it is something that can be done remotely.
-Proofreading/ copy writing – Again for those who are very skilled, there are people crying out for help doing these sorts of things.
Most of these skills can be advertised on websites as well as your own personal websites and social media accounts.
If you feel you lack certain skills for these jobs there is no need to worry. A lot of universities from around the world offer free online courses, or if you’re really dedicated you can even do an online degree with an Open University.
The best way to keep you on track whilst saving to travel is setting goals. Make these achievable and realistic. There is no way you can save 95% of your wages and get a job that pays $150 an hour right off the bat unless you’re very lucky. By setting goals that you can actually achieve it will keep you on track and it feels amazing when you actually hit these goals and targets, if you set ones you can’t achieve it will make you feel worse.
By setting goals you make improvements without even realizing it and it gives you a sense of purpose in life.
THAT’S IT, THAT’S ALL
How you save your money is up to you and you only. How much you can afford to put away is also something only you can know or decide – maybe its more than me, maybe it’s less. What I do know is that the tips and advice on here can be used by everyone to whatever extent they choose to use.