A high paying job has nothing to do with it. At least not for me. I’ve never really had a high paying job, at least not in Australian salary standards.
My husband and I have been lucky to have had travelled to so many countries over the years either together, solo or with our previous partners.
When we got together, it was clear from the get-go that I was the saver and he was the spender. Many of our friends would refer to me as a tightass but I didn’t feel that I had to justify my saving/spending habits to them – that’s still the case today. I had and still have bigger plans.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”
You could say that I was a late bloomer when it came to travel. I’ve always been brought up in a particular way, whereby studying and profession always took priority. It wasn’t until 2005 when I was bitten by the wanderlust bug and I have never been able to find a cure. Thank goodness.
Travelling is not cheap. Saving up and making sacrifices to build up a travel fund is where I had to practice discipline. Call it being frugal, thrifty or being a tightass, but I decided long ago to make certain lifestyle changes that would allow me/us to travel yearly.
Believe me, I did my fair share of research on how to’s and tips on how to save. Those are just guides and you need to find your own how to’s and tips that will work for you and your lifestyle.
I forced myself to be broke every month. The benefit of choosing to get paid monthly (rather than weekly or fortnightly) is that I can schedule all my direct debits on the same day/week and put the rest away in a savings account. I forced myself to live on a $100 a week excluding weekly expenses (eg. groceries, train ticket), which meant that there was no room to fine dine or go for Friday drinks after work.
I also signed up for a rewarding savings account with a high variable interest rate, $0 fees and loyalty bonus (if any). Basically, I get free money for saving!
Changing my social habits allowed me to save a minimum of $2,000 a month. Whatever I don’t use out of that $100 a week allowance, I would put back into the savings account. You don’t have to RSVP to every event that you get invited to. Sure, you’ll probably get a bad case of the FOMO, but wouldn’t you rather have that authentic parrilla in Argentina, or escargots in Lyon?
Those who know me well will know that I am useless without my morning coffee hit. A café-bought coffee would set me back $4.10 every morning or $82.00 based on a four-week month. So I stopped. Pre Nespresso machine, I switched to quality instant coffee. Sure it’s not the same, but my morning caffeine fix went from $4.10 to $0.40 a day, or better yet $8.00 a month. Now with the Nespresso, $0.68 to 0.78 per cup comes darn close to that barista-made coffee.
This closely ties in with homemade lunches. A simple chicken and avocado sandwich used to set me back $4.50 a day, or a sit-down meal up to $15.00. So I started making my own lunch, which worked out to be $0.80 – $2.00 a day. Once a month, I will treat myself to store bought meal. This is my version of ‘cheat day’.
Then there’s the shopping. Luckily, I’ve never really been into retail therapy. Heck, I still wear clothes from 6+ years ago. I like to shop online when the need should arise. I search for coupon codes, free shipping and special offers. Weirdly enough, I find it quite therapeutic researching for hours to compare prices browsing the WWW.
I admit, there have been instances when I braved the EOFY and post Christmas sales. Unless you’re a fashion blogger or consider yourself a bit of a fashionista, no one really cares that you are wearing clothes three seasons old. Seriously.
Moving back in with our folks for a few years was a bit of a sacrifice on our part. My husband and I were lucky that our folks didn’t mind us staying at their place, so we were able to save on rent. My folks have never been one to ask for rent/board money, but we gave them $100 – $200 a month to cover for our food expenses at least.
I don’t always succeed in saving the same amount every month, but being able to stick to a savings plan has allowed us to see the world one skip, hop and jump at a time.
How do you save money for travel?
Share your tips below.
Featured Image: Dancing on the Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats), Bolivia 2012.