When we talk about quitting our jobs to travel the world one of the biggest questions is about money. I guess it’s a natural thing, we believe there is much more to life than money, that in fact you can make your dreams come true at a much cheaper financial price that you expect (as opposed to paying the price with your time, which is worth so much more)… but, that being said, we are realists, and we know you need at least some money to travel, even if you can make an amazing life without massive amounts of it, you still need a starting fund.
Many people think they need a fortune to travel, or that they don’t have enough to save up… we are here to say BS to that, most people, even on a modest wage, could afford to make their life’s dream a reality in 12 months if they are determined and disciplined. Travel is cheaper than you think, and saving is easier than you imagine… come and make those dreams a reality…no more excuses!
One of the things we have come to realise recently is how the world is set up to make you follow “Normality”, we have spoken about this before in some of our other posts. But basically, we are made to feel obliged to follow a path that someone else created for us, mortgages, 9-5 jobs, shopping at the mall on the weekend, blowing all your wage in the pub. Here’s how to save money for travel!
We shelve our passions away for the majority of our lives, pretending this is what being an “adult” should be.
This is a culture created to be a cycle of work and spending, of entrapment via bills and debt meant to make you feel there is no way out, so you may as well spend that extra money you earn on short term gratification because you will never escape and have that life you really crave. We shelve our passions away for the majority of our lives waiting for retirement or winning the lottery as the only answers, pretending this is what being an “adult” should be.
No more excuses, if you want another life you have to get up and create it for yourself, resist the constructed normality and make work serve you, not the other way around! Any situation can be overcome, don’t give up, find a way!
Our background to saving for travelling:
We currently own our own home in a place called Littleborough, which is in the suburbs of Manchester, UK. We have lived in this house for about 3 years, been together for 12 years and got married in 2013. We will be renting the house out soon and moving back home to help save up and also keep the house as an investment whilst travelling.
Nic works part time as an archivist at a solicitors and get paid minimum wage and has done since graduating from her BA and whilst studying for her MA. Finding graduate work has been hard due to “lack of experience” and is one of the contributing factors to feeling like we need to escape. Sometimes these things give you the perspective you need to realise what you really want.
If I had a “good job” would I have realised this is what I want to do now or in 40 years?
Shorty on the other hand works full time as a lab technician and has done almost straight from school, that’s 12 years ago. For a while he was OK plodding along and getting promotions here and there, hoping to be a manager one day (he is pretty good at the job to be fair). He realised that even a bigger salary would still mean giving up his time to come into this place everyday and the realisation that he had given them 12 years made him see he needed to escape.
Collectively we earn a modest income, shorty earns decent money on 20,000 PA but me on the other hand only around about 8,000 PA. However Nic has been able to save up about £4000 over the last few years and so has a head start meaning for the next 12 months we need to save just over half of our wages…Here is how we will do it, and how you can too.
How to save for travelling/ Travels:
Shop around for your insurance, flights and expenses
Saving up is one thing, but what will extend your travels even further is being clever with your money both whilst away and before you leave. Whilst you are saving, cooping yourself up inside rather than spending money you have a great opportunity to do some valuable research into your most cost effective options for all the essentials along the way. Whilst shopping around consider if age affect travel insurance, if you can work for your accommodation or use point for flights for example.
Make a budget and stick to it:
Write down what comes in and what comes out. Once you have that you can clean what you don’t need and organise what you do need. Set yourself a budget with your spending and set up a standing order to put money straight from your wage into your savings.
Set up a dedicated savings account and don’t touch it:
Instead of keeping your savings in your current (checking) account, set up a high interest savings account and set up a standing order. Workout how much you need to save each month to hit your target and stick to it, don’t touch it at all! But be realistic too, if you put away more than you can afford you might damage your ability to save. Try to put a set amount in when you get paid, and then save some more if you can throughout the month to then transfer in as a bonus.
Cut out what you don’t need/ Luxuries
There is a basic need and want that we have and most of the time the stuff we think we need is just commercialised rubbish. It’s not easy to wean yourself off, but look through your direct debits and think about what you really need, look at your statements and write down all that you have spent that was unnecessary and cut it out! Spotify, fancy hair cuts, new jeans… all things that stop you travelling!
Cut contracts/ Bills
Downgrade your phone, go on a different tariff, cancel your cable/ sky TV, these direct debit payments are eating away at your funds each month. You will need to shed them all before you go travelling anyway so it’s always better to know how long a contract has left. If you can’t cancel until the end of the contract have a look at ways to barter or renegotiate your deal.
You should also look at your cards and accounts and see where you can save money on fees. You can find out the best card options on websites like Upgraded Points
When doing the food shopping for example make sure you have a budget and stick to it, but also shop around. Go to market stalls for fruit and veg, also visit bargain shops such as Poundstretcher, Aldi, Home bargains (in the UK). Make sure you have enough so you don’t need to nip out again during the week. Collect vouchers and coupons, but don’t be tempted to buy something in the sale just because it’s cheaper if you wouldn’t have bought it in the first place.
Stream movies online instead of going to the cinema, dust off your cool stunt scooter, go and explore your town or city, head to the library and read all those classics you always wanted to. There are plenty of things you can do for free, or cheaper things like we do such as slacklining or climbing. Get into a group with other friends etc too so cost of equipment and travel is much less.
Ditch the car:
Cars are a money pit, especially if all you can afford is a banger or you are paying monthly on a contract. Sure, it’s nice to have that freedom, but at what over all cost. We will be travelling whilst others are sat in rush hour traffic on their way into work just to pay for that privilege! Get on the bus or train, or even walk… it’s better for you and good practice for your travelling ahead!
Make your own food/ Lunches:
Learning how to cook with both save you lots of money and also make cutting back easier. Take a packed lunch into work instead of buying one, take in a bottles of water from home. Rummage through the cupboards and make something amazing with hardly anything instead of getting a take away or going for a meal. You can make that food budget go much further if you learn how to cook good cheap food! Beans are always filling at least!
Don’t take your card out
The best thing to do sometimes to stop yourself spending is to just not have the option, take enough cash with you that you need and leave the card at home to avoid spontaneous purchases… especially in the internet! Also workout how much you will need that week to avoid withdrawing more money than you need and make sure to keep the change in a pot and not fritter that away not matter how little it might seem… it might mean you don’t need to get another tenner out!
Move back home/ Get a room mate:
Our biggest outlays most definitely relate to the house. The mortgage, the bills and upkeep. So we decided to rent out the house and move back in with the parents. We decided not to sell as we wanted the house as an investment for the future and why not let someone else pay our mortgage for us. When at home we will pay a fixed “board” each month to cover everything, even food, internet etc. So the savings will be massive! If you can’t do this then consider downsizing, renting out a room or getting a roommate to help with costs.
Don’t go to the pub!
This is the place where budgets go to die! Alcohol is great, but it’s expensive and gets you nowhere other than the bottom of a toilet bowl. Don’t flush your money away! Stay in, invite friends around and watch a movie or get the old computer games out. If you must drink then either buy your booze cheap and have a house gathering or limit yourself to once a week and only take out as much as your budget allows.
Smoking is stupid full stop, not only does it kill you but you are actively spending money on killing yourself. We have never smoked (well, apart from rebelling a couple of times around the bike sheds at school). But so many times people tell me they have no money for anything but yet spend literally thousands of £s on smoking every year! What a waste… get yourself healthy and save money!
Clear your debt:
The best thing to do before you set off thinking about saving and travelling unfortunately is to pay it off otherwise it cost you more. There are loads of ways to make it easier and even some ways you might not have considered. Consolidating your debt somewhere interest free is a good way to pay less and keep track of them. We had about £3000 worth of debt but we managed to re-mortgage with an “advance” to pay that debt off and in fact we ended up paying less per month. So make sure to do some research and get some advice instead of feeling hopeless.
Workout at home!
The gym is great, but it can be silly expensive. It’s easy to work out at home, grab some trainers and get out in the fresh air then come home and do some “calisthenics”… which is a posh word for using your own body for example sit ups, push ups etc. It will save you a massive amount of money!
Sell your stuff!
Ok, so you don’t need to sell everything you own, but most of us accumulate so much stuff that we really don’t need at all. It will be good for you to sort through your things for when you go travelling anyway. Figure out which is really important to you and ditch the rest. It will make you feel much freer too having less “stuff” and you can make some extra cash from it to put straight into your savings account!
Cut down on energy use/ get on a better tariff:
Keeping the lights on all day and the heating on max runs up bills like no ones business, help save the environment as well as your wallet and turn down and off when you don’t need them. Bring the duvet down stairs and put on some long johns! It also helps to be on a good tariff and to shop around too and get your prices fixed.
Get a second job/ Over time:
Sometimes you just need more money to be coming in, don’t overwork yourself and burn out. But at the same time a second job or getting overtime where you can will really give your savings that added boost you need as well as added experience for your travel CV.
Be determined and disciplined, but cut yourself some slack:
Saving up is a lot like losing weight, it takes determination and lifestyle changes not just quick fixes. You need to be strict with yourself for sure, but at the same time, be too strict and it’s a recipe for failure. One of the best thing to do is to think of the bigger picture, associate each temptation with your dreams.
But also be sure to allow yourself some controlled lapses. By that I mean, give yourself some “pocket money” each week or month to treat yourself with, whether that be a take away, trip to the cinema or whatever. Budget it in and it won’t affect your savings and it will make it easier to stay on plan.
Consider your expensive commute!
Commuting in London is expensive, in fact it is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live and work. Taking the tube in and out of central London everyday takes its toll on your bank balance as well as your sanity! People literally spend thousands of ££ a year to squeeze into a tightly packed train day in day out. Just imagine how much money you could save and just where that might get you. You could exchange the East India to Victoria journey for 7 nights in Malta with capital city Valletta showing off its rich heritage and sites as the European City of Culture for 2018 or Archway to Green Park for the sandy beaches and fresh seafood of The Algarve.
Remember that experiences are worth more than things… stay focused on your ultimate dream and don’t allow commercialisation to distract you
Cut back on as many expenses as you can – Needs vs. Wants.
Simplify things – Eat basically, entertain yourself, Stay in!
Don’t buy stuff for the sake of buying it, rein yourself in
Make extra money however you can
Get a separate savings account and don’t touch it
Make a budget and stick to it!
Give yourself some leeway and budget it a few treats here and there.
The main thing to remember is the reason you are saving, you want to travel and see the world, you realise there are more important things in life than possessions, it’s about experiences and really living. In turning your back on a regimented way of thinking you are already part way to freedom, work, 9-5, shopping malls and advertisements, it’s all a constructed lifestyle created to keep you in a cycle which ultimately you sell hours of your life away for pointless “things”… Make those hours in the office count, save up, escape and make a life worth living… surely that is more important than a new handbag!
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Travelling and especially backpacking is a wild adventure, but make sure you are covered just incase something goes wrong, which if you’re living it up to the fullest it’s always a possibility!
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Once you are travelling or just heading off on that trip you scrimped for there are plenty of ways to make your hard money go further such as free or cheap accommodation, booking at the right time, Travelling in the off season, and travelling to certain regions such as Eastern Europe…