Is your New Year’s Resolution to travel more? Then you’ll know one thing’s for sure – you are going to need money.
For some, saving money for travel can seem like the impossible, especially with living costs on the rise.
On top of mortgages, bills, and all the other extra expenses life throws at us, sometimes it can feel like there’s not always enough left to put away in the piggy bank at the end of the month.
But let’s face it, there are probably things in our everyday lives that we could cut back on or ditch all together! And there are definitely certain lifestyle habits we could change to make our money go further.
If you are serious about saving money for travel, then even just a few small changes can go a long, long way. Here are some tips on how to be more mindful with your spending this year and make your travel dreams a reality…
1) Cancel your gym membership
Whether you are an active gym user, or you’re someone like me who has probably bought the membership only for your brand spanking new trainers never to set foot inside, it’s time to cancel it.
Membership costs obviously vary from place to place, but let’s just say on average people spend around £30 a month. In a year that totals to £360, which is enough to get you a flight ticket somewhere exotic!
Instead, why not buy a fitness DVD or watch some YouTube tutorials and work out in the comfort of your own home? You could also take up a free fitness hobby like running, walking or cycling.
2) Learn to cook
Regularly eating out or getting fast food and takeaways is another quick way to leave a big gaping hole in your wallet.
Of course we all need to eat, however reacquainting yourself with that Jamie Oliver cookbook that has been gathering dust on your shelf, could actually help save you thousands of pounds each year.
According to a study in 2015, the average British person spends around £4k on dining out each year. That’s enough for an around-the-world flight ticket right there!
3) Quit the coffee
Love your daily Costa or Starbucks? Well, guess what, this daily habit could be costing you up to £900 year! Shocking, right?
Even though spending roughly £2.50 a day on a coffee might not seem like that much at the time, this daily expense can quickly add up and drain your bank account without you even noticing.
So switch your daily latte to instant coffee, and you could find that you have enough savings to pay for that month in some faraway land you’ve always been dreaming about.
4) Use your car less
If you own a car, you’ll know first-hand how crazy expensive they are to run. Between insurance, loan repayments, repairs, and fuel – the monthly costs soon rack up. And with fuel costs currently on the rise, this expense is only going to get greater.
If ditching your car completely is not an option for you, one of the easiest ways you can reduce the costs is by using less fuel. Next time you need to make a relatively short journey, why not consider walking or cycling there instead?
5) Ditch the Cable TV subscription
In a digital age where you can easily (and legally) stream TV programmes and films online, there is no reason why you need to be spending around £60 a month for Cable TV. Think about just how many of those channels you are actually watching and if you are getting good value-for-money?
Alternatively, you could opt for Freeview if you don’t want to ditch the TV altogether. Or you could consider subscribing to Netflix or Amazon Prime to get your movie or TV programme fixes.
6) Change your mobile phone plan
If you’re due an upgrade on your mobile phone soon, consider ditching the contract, keeping the phone you have, and moving on to a monthly sim-only plan with.
There are plenty of affordable pay-as-you-go bundles that will provide you with enough texts, call-time, and data for the month. For example, I pay £10 a month with O2 and receive 1,000 texts, 250 minutes, and 500MB of data – which is more than plenty to get me through the month if I make use of Wi-Fi when it is available.
7) Pay in cash
With the introduction of contactless payments, it’s now even easier to mindlessly spend away and lose track of where your money is going. Paying in cash rather than using a debit or credit card for discretionary purchases is a good way to start monitoring how much you spend.
Each week, plan ahead and set yourself a budget to cover things like food, transport, and social activities. Withdraw that amount and don’t spend any more than that. This way you can make more of a conscious effort to think about your spending. And if you have anything extra left, pop it into your piggy bank!
8) Question everything you buy
Before you buy something, ask yourself…is this something I really need? Or is this something I want? Would I rather spend my money on this…or would I rather save it for my travel fund?
While it is inevitable that you are going to need to buy “things” from time-to-time, try to make more well-thought out purchases rather than spur-of-the-moment impulsive buys. Remember, consumption is a necessary part of living, but excessive consumption is not. Some material things are not always a necessity.
If you want more tips on taking a more minimalist approach to life, I can definitely recommend reading some of Shelly and Al’s advice at Sell All Your Stuff.
9) Reduce meat in your diet
Ok, ok…so I am not trying to preach that you should go full-on vegetarian, BUT this is a great way to save some extra dollar.
When you think about how much meat costs and how much we consume of it on a daily basis, the cost soon adds up.
For example, you want to make some burritos for dinner. You could spend £5 on 500g of minced beef OR you could spend £1 on a tin of kidney beans and mix it up with some delicious veggies. That’s a saving of £4 on just one meal, so imagine how much further your money could go if you did this for practically every meal!
10) Go sober
Hahaha…I am having to laugh at myself as I write this tip, as let’s just say I do love a tipple and a good party. HOWEVER, we all know how expensive drinking out regularly can be.
Depending on how much of night you want to make of it, you could end up spending anywhere between £40 to £100 for just one night out. If you’re doing that once a week, that could be costing you up to £5,200 a year. That is one mighty expensive hangover if you ask me!
Simply cutting down the amount you drink and go out is an easy way to save money.
11) Cut back on beauty treatments
Like to splurge on spa treatments such as manicures, pedicures, spray tans, colour hair treatments, waxing etc. etc.? Keeping up appearances is an expensive business!
While it’s always nice to feel and look good, are these treatments really necessary? Cutting your hair less frequently and using cheaper at-home alternatives for other beauty treatments, could save you a wad of cash.
OR you could even completely embrace your natural beauty – your travel fund will thank you for it!
12) Look for cheaper alternatives
Clothes, food, and toiletries are everyday items that we all need. However, there are always cheaper alternatives that could save you extra pennies. Instead of purchasing products that have a high price-tag, shop around for something more affordable. Take advantage of sales or search coupon sites for discounts and great deals that could save you a small fortune!
Following the above tips may feel like you are having to make a lot of sacrifices, but it doesn’t mean you have to become a complete hermit.
We all need to have a bit of fun or treat ourselves from time-to-time, however, the key is to be more mindful and remember “everything in moderation”. Even if you only make a handful of changes, every little helps and could make your travel dreams a reality much quicker than you think.
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