So everyone has been asking me since I said I was heading off for 8 months just how I have been able to save the amount I believe I needed for it, as well as a little secret kitty for a Rubie safety net. All of this while living in the Money Burning London town. Its hard but sooooo worth it
I will be honest I saved over £8000 in the last 8 months, plus the money I have spent in the money left over to pay for my travels with the remaining money out of my salary. This is due to my luck in a job sense and rent I pay that has meant I have been able to do this. This is different with different circumstances I know a friend who saved £3000 in 8 months is amazing!!
I am going to be completely honest you have to be so disciplined with it, I am in fact a big saver, but at the same time I do spend a lot too, mainly on holidays. My first thing I do when I get paid is transferred money in my savings, followed by probably buying a flight to some where (its an addiction). The other main part of this is that I have no commitments apart from rent, no car, no mortgage, no need to replace a boiler or washing machine so maybe a little more free than others to do what I would like with my money. One thing I did before anything is take out the money for the week I was budgeting, so 50 – 100 for the week so I can enjoy life as well as save responsibly.
Below are a few other ideas and things that I did to save save save so I could spend spend spend…
1 – Food – We love it, we enjoy it, we spend A LOT of money on it! Like literally when I look at my bank balance its pret a manger, restaurant, food chain, street food hut, bar, back to my favourite icecream shop. Instead of being greedy and nip into somewhere quickly, I waited till I got home to see what was in the cupboards first. I have also been prepping more food for the week at home, bulking cooking and loving it! Creating new ways of making my favourites, or even using much more cost effective food to create bigger portions. This has led to saving over a grand the past 8 months from doing this. Which accumulates to a whole 3 weeks of an excursion I have booked. If I have gone out, I have been clever with where I go and what I order, lower priced chain places, and not ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.
2 – Alcohol/ Drink in general! – We socialize, sometimes feel pressurized into drinking, I have decided the last year I could save so much money by pre drinking before the night outs, or even just not needing to drink due to enjoying the evening as it is instead of gaining a headache the day after. Especially in London where drinks are more expensive. I have had soft drinks which are much cheaper but still give the illusion and psychological idea of drinking.
3- No puddings for Rubie – I have been careful when I go out for food to try keep the amount I spend down to a minimum which means no desserts! Nooooo!! I feel bad after them anyways, unless it’s a cheeky brownie treat! If I do have a pudding I have shared with friends to make my little sweet tooth happy but splitting the costs.
4- Clothes – I love the feeling when buying something just like everyone! However I love the click of a button when I book a hostel or an experience away even more! So for the last 8 months I haven’t bought any clothing unless actually necessary. Special occasions instead of buying new I have enjoyed finding things I haven’t worn in ages and re- wearing them with a little bit of a twist. Some clothes I have borrowed from friends. This was my main area of how I have saved so much. As an avid bargain hunter and lover, I probably have saved over 800 pounds just by not having my monthly buying binge! However I am not saying you need to go full turkey
5 – Selling – I went on an ebay spree and also a charity shop spree to wipe out clothes I never wore, didn’t suit me anymore, or I have outgrown. The amount I gained was 3 bin bags of clothes ready for the drop off centres. Plus the ebay app to sell some of the clothing which is in great condition which I feel I could make money from, ended making up quite a good amount in 2 months.
6 – Unsocialable Socialability – Friends would describe me as socialable I love going to see friends, however this year I have been much more reserved, and made sure I have kept certain nights free to go home, and not spend any money to make sure I am getting a better balance. This has meant I had more money to save for still doing things at weekends and holidays. It also meant I had the time to prep my meals! Sometimes ot have the luxury to explore and travel you have to be more strict with how much you spend. Instead I went over to my friends houses and we cooked, had drinks at home.
7. Sharing is caring – From rooms, to houses… I have been very lucky to share a house with 4 others at the moment. Therefore everything is split 5 ways, this meant my rent, bills etc. have all been less than others may have to pay but is one of the key factors of me being able to save for my travels. This also can mean food, sharing with friends on nights out can be a real help with saving money, fancy 2 different sides or desserts, share with friends to save calories but more importantly pennies!
8 – Extra jobs – If this is possible, an extra weekend job could do the trick for that extra little bit of money in the bank savings. Theres an app called oddjobs which means you can do one of jobs and get paid over the app, rather than straight through your bank account for security.
9 – Outside gym – this only happened a few times I have to be honest due to the cold weather in the UK, but I cancelled my gym membership in summer to save money and actually started working out in with a friend to still motivate me in parks around London, its saved my 120 pounds now because of this.
10 – Ditch your luxuries – Netflix, Spotify, Those nail salons every 2 weeks, I even went as far as ditching the hair dressers (no comments on how bad it looks please :P)… I watched everything that was on TV and I player rather than having Netflix, my hair cuts were done less, and to be honest I have cut it myself several times… No negative comments back I have to say, this extended to doing dome home dye kits which was scary but worked a treat! These all led to be saving a big amount on for my travels which is the main luxury I want!
DURING TRAVEL PLANNING
1 – Patience – A few of the flights and also transport options I have chosen I have been looking at and researching quite a while, keeping my eyes open and asking around to see if there are certain times of the year when they come on offer. I managed to save about 500 pounds on my New Zealand and Australian bus passes (Stray and Kiwi experience) because of this. As well as look for several times for flights to change and prices to lower. I normally planned flights to be on week days to make sure they were the most cost effective I could buy. For a girl who is a very impatient person and once I get an idea in my head I want to book everything possible I can this has been an interesting few months.
2 – Off peak seasons… Even though it was rainy at times and not so sunny, Italy in January, April, even December are not the peak times for certain European countries this means the costs go down a lot, meaning you have more pennies to spend on the fun stuff! Or even upgrading a little because of the money you do save! Flights also tend to be a little more cost effective to certain places so even better.
3 – Return is Cheaper – As all travel lovers know return flights are more cost effective, but also this doesn’t help if you are travelling around in a circle. However in Croatia we made sure we did a loop of the country to make sure we flew in and out of the same airport in Dubrovnik , saving ourselves 100 pounds. So definitely plan your route before hand to see if this is possible.
4 – Mode of Transports – Planes are expensive, but also very damaging to the environment. So more cost effective and more environmentally friendly ways of transport are your best friend. Buses take longer but could easily save you 100’s of pounds if you are travelling over land, especially in a large country. It may take longer but if you are a little stretched on time a train could be the answer. Unlike the UK a lot of train travel around the world is affordable, and fast. I am using a group coach through Australia and New Zealand due to the cost of flights and getting round, which
5 – Buddy system – Travelling with more than one person will always save you money, saving on accommodation, saving on food, saving on taxis if we needed to take them from airports for a little bit of safety/ convenience. Even if you don’t travel with one, if you meet someone in a hostel see if anyone wants to half a meal, or a cab to somewhere exciting, not only economic but safe!
6 – Be Prepared – I am so bad at over packing, however I have become much better due to my weekend tripping around Europe and visiting friends at weekends. I know what I need, what a don’t, and what can be bought on the way. It pays less to be prepared though, first aid kit, socks, shoes, shorts, t shirts all available in any country you go but still extra money which could be spent on other things. Pack what you can, the US is the most cost effective it seems for makeup and clothes, so ladies enjoy if your heading over there. But in other places like Australia, UK and NZ the cost can build up … I bought loads of toiletries before I went away so I didn’t have to pay while I was in areas which may not have what I need!
Another prep I have done is accommodation and flights in advance, due to going in peak times to a few places, and options been limited sometimes, I have booked particular hostels or accommodation within my budget when I have looked later and only more expensive ones are available so it does pay more to be spontaneous (I try and fail at booking the day of me needing somewhere haha)
1 – Food – The reason you travel is to sample the amazing tastes of each country, and especially in Asia, Africa and South America food can be cheaper than clothing. However eating can still add up with every day travels. My advice is to firstly make sure breakfast is included at any hostels, hotels and bnb’s, homestays you stay at. This means at least you have a good start to the day. If this isn’t an option make sure you know where there is a local store closest to you to buy some necessities for the time you are staying there. Hostels normally have a kitchen where you can cook yourself. Japanese hostels were fantastic for this, and the supermarkets were as good as the streetfood. Bulk buying if you are in a place for a while can also mean a lot of money saving instead of eating out every night. In Croatia myself and a friend did this and actually had a great time coming up with new dishes to make. We also tried a more vegetarian diet to save money on meat.
2 – Drinking and partying – Its unheard of to not being socializing and drinking with your fellows hostellers and travelers. However, it’s the drinks which will soon build up costs. This maybe boring but I tend not to drink a lot on holidays, I would rather save it for a big night than continuously every evening. I don’t need to even though a love a vodka cranberry. I recommend the cheaper options like beers and ciders if you fancy a treat. Also being with friends mean its more cost effective to buy the 6 tinnies from a shop than individual ones. Bottle buying rather than glass is helpful too, but probably quite dangerous when it comes to wine!
3 – Transport – Bussing about can be as cheap as 1 pound, the UK has mega buses and national express coaches which go all over the UK and do take longer but the money you save is fantastic. The over night buses can also help save on the night of accommodation so think about this when heading to Japan their over night buses are fantastic, blankets, hooded seats, so comfy!
Trains are also a great idea for getting round, cost effective (apart from maybe the UK), and amazing views normally from one place to the other. Look up for midday trains which tend to be more cost effective.
4 – Walk! – I can’t recommend this enough, instead of using transport all together use your own two feet. This means you can explore freely, save money, and even find unexpected sites on the way to the more well-known ones. It also means you get a good sense of direction from doing this. I have gone to a city before and only spent £10 on food before due to no transport. Tip – Walking tours can be found in almost of city I have been too, try to find one and do it! Exercise, Socializing and Information!
5 – Hostels – The best friend of any traveler, solo or with others, for an adventure when you are hardly going to be in your accommodation why spend more than you need. Hostels have developed in the last 20 years, some have pools, saunas, bikes you can borrow, bars, private rooms if preferred, and options for mixed or female only dorms so everyone can feel comfortable. They can be anything from £5 to £50 a night depending on breakfasts, locations and countries. I couldn’t recommend these enough to meet people and keep the costs down for any holiday.
6 – Sim Cards Connected – I am told every time I go away to get a sim card, and every time I don’t because I am stubborn. However it’s the best thing you can do, no worries about roaming, or going over the data limit, helps with directions using maps, as well as rates on phone calls and texts for keeping in touch with family or new friends. You can buy these from any airport when you land, and if not airports ask your accommodation who can help you with the nearest shop that does.
7 – Stay within the budget – I know this first hand how budgets can go out the window, especially when you arrive somewhere and completely loose your cool due to being so excited being there. Take Egypt a place I have wanted to go since I was little, and with all the beauty and sparkly things I went a little (actually a lot) over budget. No more!! With the extras I bought, other things needed to be cancelled out or wound back to balance my budget. Make a list or just keep in your head exactly what you want out the trip, I probably didn’t need 3 of the camel’s statues I bought instead of 1 haha! I have budgeted to £1000 (£250 a week) a month, in whatever country i am in, this is just for food, accommodation and activities which haven’t already been booked. A lot of friend’s budgets are around 35 – 45 pound a day. This cost will also move over if I spend below this budget.
8 – Work, work, work – Bare this in mind when you are in a place for a while, it could help along the way for a few nights or few weeks. It means you have some stability and can stay money neutral sometimes depending on where you are working to kindof have a little normality. (make sure the kind of work you do is allowed within that country, some visas mean you can’t work while in the country). Volunteering is also a good way of working but being paid in meals and accommodation for a very low price, while giving back more than money can buy. Workaway and HelpX are two of these organisations, with global option for different kinds.
9 – Keeping the change – I used to be terrible at letting people just keep the change, or rounding money up to the nearest pound on holiday to make it easier, but you could loose quite a lot in the long run from doing this. Also change is good when in countries who haven’t got access to contactless change is needed for taxis, food, markets etc. I also try to make sure I always keep the money I have left within that country for economical reasons like Egypt and India (India wont let you take money out the country due to wanting to keep their ecomony level). Try not to take out to much money, so you can make sure you haven’t wasted money once you leave the country.
A few ideas to think about, some of these I have learnt the hard way, so believe me when I say I have lost money as well as saved money along my adventures. Hope these help some of you think a little more about how you save to spend!