Growing up my dad (who had been in the Navy) was forever telling me stories of wild, exotic places; of fascinating cultures and people and amazing sights he saw when he travelled the World. I was always convinced that I would do the same until I got older and started my career and started to feel like Worldwide travel would be forever out of my grasp.
But last year I realised that to travel didn’t necessarily mean to go off and do it full time in the way that my dad did, but that by taking regular trips we could see the World in a lot more practical a way. That being said travel still costs money (despite my firm belief in the quote “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”) and so we are saving up for various trips that we want to take – ticking off our bucket lists tick by little tick.
This past year we’ve been able to go to some amazing places such as Prague, Scotland and Iceland, and we have some amazing trips planned for the rest of this year too such as Croatia and Berlin, so as you can imagine we’ve been putting away our pennies to go towards those! As we are saving as much as we can towards travel experiences I figured I’d share my top tips for saving money up for travel (or any other goals you might have!)
Ha! Yes – seems like a super obvious thing to say right? Well you’d be surprised how many times I’ve decided I’m on a saving mission but haven’t actually adjusted my spending habits accordingly! I’ve always been an impulse shopper, a ‘habit’ shopper, a ‘I have absolutely nothing to wear so need to buy something RIGHT NOW’ shopper, a ‘ooh it’s buy one get one half price’ shopper, the kind of shopper who can pop to Tesco for milk and come out with five bags of shopping…. Those are all habits I’m trying very hard to break and I’ve started a few different things to stop me from spending money in those ways, including:
- Meal planning
- Shopping in Lidl (it’s cheaper plus there’s less temptation as long as I ignore the middle aisle of randomness)
- Getting Scott to do the supermarket shop with/instead of me – he will go in and get everything off the list and get back out in record time, it’s seriously amazing ha
- Building myself a capsule wardrobe
- Avoiding temptation – I used to pop up to the West End just for a browse around on a Saturday but now I avoid going shopping unless I have a genuine intention of buying a particular item
- Removed my ‘one-click’ settings from PayPal and Amazon – now if I want to order something online I am forced to login each time – it only takes a few seconds but it’s a few extra seconds during which I think about whether or not I actually need what I’m paying for
I also hold up an item I’m thinking about buying and really take the time to think about whether or not I need that – for example I was tempted by a pair of jeans in River Island the other day but decided to walk out of the shop empty handed and to return if I still felt as though I needed them the week after – funnily enough I decided that I’d much rather spend that £50 on a bargain flight, transferred that cash directly into my savings account and felt a million times better for it!
I’ll be honest I’ve never been good at maths and have pretty much had the same bank account since birth, aside from a separate savings account I set up last year but didn’t really use) but recently a friend of mine who is a financial advisor sat me down and talked me through the best options for my saving goals. The first thing I did after that was to set up two ISA accounts (plus one for Lily) so I can get a tax break, plus I shopped around for a high interest option so that I’m earning money off of my savings just through them being sat in the account. I’m certainly not a financial advisor but I’d definitely recommend shopping around for your accounts and doing plenty of research to find the right options for you.
It’s not realistic to say ‘stop spending money’, there are so many things in life that we do need to spend out on; from every day living expenses, to random items such as gifts for a friend’s wedding, or even to travel itself. However it is a good idea to use websites such as Quidco and Top Cashback – it doesn’t cost you any more but you earn cashback for the purchases you were already going to make! Also some have regular offer sections with discount codes or extra cashback for certain services so it’s worth looking into for things such as insurance or utilities too.
Sell Sell Sell
I’ve never really used eBay but recently I sold a job lot of clothes that were too small for Lily on there for £20 – not a huge amount of money for two BIG bags of clothes but every penny really does help. Before I would just donate or chuck clothes and other items away but its true what they say – one man’s trash is definitely another’s treasure. Aside from eBay you can also use local selling sites (check out facebook) and websites such as Music Magpie or Preloved to sell on specific items. I’ve decided that whenever I sell anything that money *which I would never have had if I hadn’t sold the item* will go directly into our savings account to go towards our goals – this makes the trek to the post office a million times easier to manage 😉
I’m not suggesting go out and get a credit card to splurge with but they can come in handy – I know plenty of people who use them to book flights well in advance (when they can get cheaper tickets) then pay it all off quickly on each payday. For me, knowing how terrible I am when it comes to shopping and frittering away money, I don’t think credit cards are the answer but they do work for some people!
OK so this isn’t feasible for everyone I know but if you can get a part-time job or supplement your income through selling your skills or things you’ve made then you will reach your savings targets a lot quicker! I knit, sew and crochet and am starting to sell my handmade products online and to friends/family etc – it might not be a lot of extra money but it’s a little more in the pot each month and I’m getting paid to do something I love. Also consider asking for a pay-rise – I didn’t get one when I asked but a friend did when she asked so it’s worth a shot!
Get a Penny Jar
We have a big glass vase in the living room and at the end of every day or week we tip all of our silver change into it, Lily has a separate one which all of the coppers go into. Within just a few weeks we’d saved £25 – again not much but it all adds up. Once the vase is full we’ll take it down the bank and deposit the money directly into our savings accounts.
No Starbucks/ ££ Lunches/ Takeaways
It’s strange because if I’m honest I don’t even particularly like Starbucks coffee (I am in love with the mint hot chocolates they do at Christmas though!) yet even though that’s the case I couldn’t seem to resist popping in for a hot drink pretty much every time I leave my house. Since January though I’ve only had one trip to Starbucks and that was when we were waiting for our train to Canterbury in the Easter half term. Instead I drink coffee at home, I make up my travel coffee mug full of freshly brewed coffee before leaving the house and I simply avoid the stores! The same goes for eating out at lunch whenever I’m in the office – instead of those costly £5 lunches I take a packed lunch into work (usually leftovers from the night before) and eat that instead – not only does it save me money but it also tends to be a lot healthier! On the subject of health I’ve cut out our regular takeaways too – we will both still occasionally go for dinner out together or with friends but nowhere particularly expensive any way.
Eat In Not Out
Whilst we won’t give up our social lives (er I can’t sacrifice beer and cocktail nights completely!) we will be eating in more often but making a special moment of it rather than cooking dinner being a chore. I’m talking Sunday Roasts prepped and cooked together as a family, Mexican nights where the boys come up and we cook fajitas and *perhaps* sip tequila, and even simple things like adding candles to the table for a little dinner time atmosphere. Not only will we be saving money by not going out but we’ll be making an everyday task so much more enjoyable! Not to mention the fact that Lily loves to help out in the kitchen and she can develop her cooking skills too!
I started doing most of our weekly shop at Lidl a while back but they don’t have all of the ingredients that I usually need and so I look for offers in other supermarkets for those things to see where is best for me to do the additional shop that week. If I can I’ll shop online for additional items as there is always way too much temptation in store for me – particularly as our local supermarkets are big stores with home and clothing departments too. I always do a quick google search for voucher codes too before I do a shop – I regularly get free delivery or a voucher worth double clubcard points for example; those little savings really do go a long way.
Well the ones you don’t use anyway! Got a gym membership festering away in the back of your bank account? A magazine subscription for a magazine you barely flick through when it arrives? Get rid of them if you aren’t getting enough out of them. I’m at the gym three nights a week at the moment so I see that as an investment not an unnecessary cost but my Ideal Home subscription has been cancelled – to be honest I get so much more from reading blogs than flicking through the magazines!
And there you have it – a few simple ways to save money towards your travel dreams. Have I missed any you would recommend?
Oh and if you are getting impatient with the savings then why not check out some cheaper destinations to travel around? The Creative Travel Guide have a list here of 32 of the cheapest travel destinations!