Sunday, 16 October 2016

10 ways to save money and travel the world

According to research, science says it's OK to spend all your money on traveling. It turns out that material things really don't bring us happiness - it's the experiences like travel, outdoor activities, learning new skills or going to events that creates pure, lasting joy. I wholeheartedly agree!

However, people are always saying they can't afford to travel, or look baffled when they see others on an average wage go wherever they want. There is no secret, and although many people take extreme savings measures, I didn't want to be that way and I wanted to integrate saving into my every day life.
Whether you're saving for a long trip, or simply wish you could afford to go somewhere like Australia, begin by telling yourself that you can. All you have to do is commit to that goal, remind yourself how badly you want it, and then make it happen.

That's exactly what I do. I make sure that I can travel to wherever I want, no matter the price. I make it work. But first, you have to save and get smart...here are my top tips on saving for travel without compromising your day to day life too much...





BE REALISTIC
What really helped me curb by spending habits was this useful budget tracker. Before you look at it and then proceed to freak out - it's really not as daunting as it looks. It's essentially just an excel sheet that is set up to help you track your own spending. Spend three months inputting every single purchase, and you will have a clear picture of where you should cut back. Be honest with yourself, otherwise it doesn't work.

I ended up cutting down on things like gifts (£200 per month of my spend!!), big nights out, meals out every weekend, excessive shopping and work lunches. All things I didn't have to overspend on but did because I didn't really notice.

SELL, SELL, SELL
If you do an overhaul of everything you own, you'll quickly realise how much stuff you haven't worn or used in the last six months. Once you start detaching yourself from these things you don't need and realise the profit they can make you, it becomes a bit addictive! During my last move, I got rid of four big bags full of clothes. I earned over £300 selling things on eBay and still do it from time to time. You'd be surprised how much people pay for things you don't even care about. It also feels pretty refreshing to get rid of things and only have what you REALLY like in your closet! Get started and see the money slowly pile up.

If you're an artist or have a big collection of things to sell, you can also open up shops on places like Depop, Etsy, Art Finder, Asos Marketplace and even Facebook.

PRIORITISE
This is a pretty simple tip. You don't need to be rich to travel, you just have to make it a priority. So do you prefer to buy that £100 coat or can you wait 'till the sale? Would you rather go out every weekend or put half the money away into a travel fund? It doesn't mean you have to live a boring life, it's just about priorities.

Just because I cut down on things like nights out, dining out, alcohol and shopping, doesn't mean that I've completely stopped doing them. Of course you can still go out and spend, just don't do it every weekend and say yes to everyone. This is the death of FOMO!



SHOP SMART
If you invest a little bit more time, you'll soon realise that you can get a lot of popular items of clothing for a much cheaper price online. Whenever I see something I like, I always search for the same thing on eBay and 80% of the time find it cheaper.

Look at this popular bobble beanie for example, £13 on eBay, £70 from a designer.
Or this trendy boho top, £17 on eBay, £150 from a brand.

I also started looking at my wardrobe differently and investing in timeless pieces that I can wear and combine with everything else I own. I actually spend a little more on these items now, but only shop every few months. Additionally, do an online food shop instead of going to the store. You'll spend a lot less when you can't SEE half the things that you could buy, just your essentials.

STOP DRINKING, STOP SMOKING
Pretty tough one for some people...but this really is the BIGGEST way to save money, especially in a city like London where one drink is £5-£7 minimum. Think about that...if you have five drinks per week as a minimum, that's £100 - a flight to Amsterdam, Iceland or anywhere in Europe. If you feel that you can't completely cut down on nights out and drinking, the simplest way to do this is to just set yourself a limit. Rather than spending £100 every Friday night at the pub, take out £50 cash and only spend that much. Put the rest away. Easy.



CUT DOWN ON LUXURIES
Let's face it - if you live in a city like London you're probably buying lunches every other day. That's about £7 per day spent on food you could have made at home for £2. If you get in the habit of meal-prep every weekend and evening, it becomes routine and you only need to do weekly supermarket shops. I ended up saving nearly £200 per month by cutting down on takeaway lunches at work. Do that for two months and you've got yourself a long haul flight ticket!

DOWNGRADE YOUR PHONE
You won't all be able to do this but once your contract comes to an end and you already have an iPhone, ask yourself if you REALLY need the new upgrade?! Most likely not, especially with the latest models being pretty much the same. You can benefit from this in two ways - you can go on a sim-only contract and reduce your monthly payment to as little as £15, or you can get a new contract with your old phone. Either way, it's cheaper than a phone upgrade and saves you pennies every month.

Another cheeky tip I have is to call your provider 1-2 months before your contract ends, and tell them you're going to leave the network unless they offer you a better deal that you saw online. It worked for me and I got off not paying two months of the original contract price.

SIGN UP TO CASSANDRA SPEAKS
Cassandra Speaks is essentially an agency that specialises in gaining research and insight into the spending and behaviour of millennials. The tasks can be anything from a focus group, to a video interview or simply answering 20 questions online. The results of your participation aid businesses and brands in developing products, and you get money in return!

It's 100% legit but most of their surveys and invites are for US-based participants, so work for UK peeps is rare. I've been a member for about a year now and have received over £300 in Amazon vouchers after participating in three projects. It only takes half an hour of my time.

You can try to sign up here, or ask a friend to refer you as that is your best chance of getting through.



EARN EXTRA ON THE SIDE
Nope, I don't mean get a 2nd job and run yourself to the ground. I mean get clever and look around...there are so many ways to earn a little extra cash with minimal effort. What skills do you have and how can you use them? Sites like Task Rabbit allow you to offer your services to anyone, at a time and length that suits you, for an hourly rate. They even pay you to shop!

HAVE TWO SEPARATE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Again, probably a no brainer but you have to be strict with yourself. If you set up a direct debit into a savings account ON payday, you can pretty much pretend that money never even existed. Set up two accounts if you're feeling uncomfortable putting all your money away for just one thing. Have one for travel, and another for whatever else is important to you. But the rule is not to touch either of them unless you really have to...pretend it's not there and live within your means.


Saving money is not easy, and it takes a lot of commitment and handling of judgement and backlash from friends who don't have the same priorities as you. But you should do what makes you happy, and you'll know it's worth it when you've reached your goal.

In conclusion, it was difficult for me to explain to people why I had changed my habits and lifestyle, but your friends will understand and stick around when you have to do things like this:

  • Don't spend too much on gifts, your friends will love you anyway
  • Don't offer to buy things like drink rounds, your friends will love you anyway
  • Cycle or take the bus instead of the tube
  • Don't buy things just because everyone else does
  • Shop for timeless clothes and less frequently, they're more stylish anyway
  • Say 'no' to going out all the time - if your friends really want to see you they will make time for coffee or dinner at home instead
  • Watch TV or download films instead of going to the cinema all the time
  • Buy cheaper food and make your lunches at home

The above can pretty much be applied to any kind of savings plan...not just travel. Good luck!

Ana xx
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