So you have a big trip in mind, which you are desperate to make happen sooner rather than later! But you’re probably wondering how on earth you’ll be able to save up the money needed. Sounds like you need to come up with a proper budget and savings plan, which in all honesty takes a lot of determination and hard work, but then again so does anything in this life! So if you’re not already rolling in a bath of $100 notes, read on for some advice on how to make your big trip happen.
First things first, you’ll need to come up with a realistic budget for the total cost of your trip. Some things to consider when drafting your budget:
- Travel insurance
- Extra travel- trains/buses/transfers etc.
- Shopping money- (not essential but a big bonus!)
Do some research into pricing for your desired location and the time of year. Always aim to slightly over budget, as costs will have a way of sneaking up on you and there will be nothing worse than running out of money whilst overseas! Determine what is important to you and what style of traveller you are. For example, most young and single travellers will not care much about fancy accommodation, as long as it’s safe and clean, but if you’re a little older, you’re probably not interested in staying in a hostel. If you know that you love your creature comforts, then allow a sufficient budget to cover this.
Once you have a rough idea of what your trip will cost, you can start to draft a savings plan and work towards putting money away. There are two ways in which you can do this.
Option 1: Choose a set date that you want to travel. Work out how much money you’ll need to put away each week to reach your goal in time. The pressure is on in this scenario, as once you’ve booked your plane ticket, you will definitely be going. So if you don’t reach your target in time, you’ll have to cut back on accommodation, food and entertainment whilst you’re away.
Option 2: Don’t set a date yet and wait until you’ve reached your goal to plan anything. Choose a set amount you’re able to save each week without sacrificing too much. This is the less stressful option, as you’ll be able to be more flexible each week. However, it might take a long time to save up this way.
I suggest drawing up a a chart and ticking it off weekly. If you have a regular wage, this is much easier to do, as you know exactly what your income will be each week and therefore you just need to be strict with yourself. If you’re self-employed like me, or work casual hours, your income may fluctuate from week to week, therefore meaning that you’ll have to be a little more flexible with your savings goal. It might not be possible to put an exact amount away each week. As long as you stay proactive with your savings, then you’re on the right track. Either way, set up a separate savings account so your holiday money doesn’t get mixed up with other income.
Now for some suggestions on how you can actually SAVE more money. The hard truth of the matter is, you will need to make some significant sacrifices to reach your goal. There are only two ways you can save money; either make more or spend less.
1- Take on extra work
If you’re in a position to take on extra work, then supplementing your income might be a good option for you. This doesn’t have to be an actual part time/casual job. Consider online platforms like Airtasker, where you can offer your help on various tasks in exchange for cash. There are many jobs available from cleaning to picking up furniture to buying someone a pizza and delivering it to their home! Extra cash is a great way to reach your savings goal sooner.
2- Cut back on ALL non essential purchases
This means no new clothes, make-up, shoes and basically any luxury item that you would usually spend your money on. This is one of the hardest habits to break, but once you do stop buying things, you’ll realise that you don’t really NEED any of it. Chances are that you have enough clothes to last you for a few months without needing to buy anything else. Of course, you will sometimes need to buy yourself the odd essential item, but if you feel any guilt after purchasing it, it’s probably something you don’t actually need.
3- Cut back on eating out/entertainment
If you usually spend your weekends out on the town, dining with friends, going out for a drink or to the movies, reconsider you need to do any of that! You could get a two month Netflix subscription for the cost of just one standard movie ticket! Cut back on all eating out and cook at home instead. The occasional take-away is fine, but limit it to once every week or fortnight if you can.
4- Stop buying alcohol
If you are usually a big drinker, you can save a lot of money by quitting alcohol for a few months. A couple of bottles of wine a week could be $50 in the bank!
5- Check you bank statement
Put a stop to any monthly direct debit which is not absolutely essential. Make sure you’re not paying for a service or subscription that you’re not frequently using. Also, switch to a bank account that will not charge you a monthly fee. NAB have a good free transaction account, which will save you around $70 per year in unnecessary fees.
6- Switch off the central heating
This might only make a small amount of difference, but being diligent with your electricity and gas usage could save you money on bills. Turn off lights when you’re not using them and throw on an extra layer instead of turning on the heating.
7- Keep track of your spending
Get yourself an app to track your income and expenses. Every time you gain or spend income, enter it into the app so you can keep track of what you’re spending. Monitor this weekly to make adjustments if you’re overspending on certain things.
Most of all, don’t beat yourself up too much if you slip up occasionally, you’re only human. If your savings target is in 3 months, then you will only need to do this for a short period of time. If you’re in for the long haul, then it simply isn’t sustainable for too long without relaxing the purse strings a little bit. I will be honest with you, it is quite tough to adjust to these cut backs. I’m not naturally inclined to be frugal, but I force myself to make these adjustments in order to be able to travel. Just imagine yourself lying on a beach at your destination, or riding in a gondola through the canals of Venice. When you reach your goal you will feel so proud of yourself and then you can really enjoy your holiday!
Do you have any other savings tips? Where do you want to go on your next trip?
*This is not a sponsored post