If you are the sort of person who likes to grab their morning coffee at Starbucks, you need to read this. If you spend $4 on a coffee, 5 days a week that equals $1,040 annually just for coffee… Wouldn’t you rather have that money to spend on travel? The good news is you don’t have to massively change your life to start making a huge improvement on your savings.
Society tells you not to be a tight-ass with your money, my purpose is not to avoid expenditure but to be in control of expenditure. For me, an example of being a tight-ass is not buying a round of drinks for your friends, what we want to achieve here is reducing wasteful spending and getting the best value for money – ALWAYS.
If long term travel is a priority for you, you need to make choices that will support that goal. Mortgages are expensive, so is a new car, children, pets… the list can go on, but here our 10 easy ways to start making real progress.
THE TOP 10
1. Make a budget spreadsheet of your monthly spending.
This is the single most IMPORTANT thing you need to do. Do it today! Its really not that hard, and to make it easier here is a basic template for excel so you can log your monthly outgoings: 5DT_Budget_saver Spreadsheet.
Simply put, you need to know where and how you are spending your monthly income in order to figure out where you can save money. If your electricity bill is insane it may be time to turn off the aircon and buy a $10 fan! If you have a wardrobe full of clothes but are spending $500 a month on new ones it may be time to realise that they won’t all fit in your backpack anyway and you just don’t need any more!
2. Set a goal
Its easier to achieve something if you set a goal. Thats a fact. If you are planning a trip then get a rough estimate of how much the trip is going to cost so you know how much you need to save. Fortunately we’ve done the donkey work for you on this, jump onto out travel budget planner page and get the A-Z of trip budget planning as well as a free budget calculator.
Once you have a value you need to save (lets say $10,000) and a time frame (how about 6 months) you know you need to put about $1,700 per month into savings to hit your goal, if you fall short one month you can knuckle down the next month. If you smash the figure one month then you can spend the surplus on that new dress you wanted!
3. Change your eating habits – drink less, eat at home.
This is one of the tougher things to do, but with great results for your bank balance. Its often the little things that add up. It may be hard to change old habits, or to even want to change your lifestyle to be more frugal, but as I mentioned above, even having a coffee everyday can end up costing you quite a lot of money when added up over a whole month. Try limiting your starbucks purchases, buying $5 wine rather than $20 wine and watch as the savings roll in. Also, cooking at home is much cheaper than buying take-out and with the added bonus of often being healthier as you can control what you put in it, and the portion size – benefits all round!
4. Party like a budget traveller
If you were backpacking you’d be (or should be) looking for cheap places to eat out, cheaper attractions, BYO. Well, guess what? You can apply all these techniques in everyday life. Going to a restaurant that is BYO can save you at least $20 on a bottle of wine. Have a party in the park or at home rather than in the pub? Find out what is free to do in your city and do it! Saving money doesn’t have to mean locking yourself in your house for 6 months!
5. Don’t buy it! You don’t need it!
Lets make an assumption here… If you are reading an article about saving money you are probably not on a 6 figure salary… You don’t need a brand new 4×4 gas guzzler when a cheap second hand Ford will get you from A to B just fine. New cars are about prestige, people want to say “Look how much money I have that I can afford this car”, the reality of the situation is actually “Look how much money I HAD, now I’m in debt to the bank on a 4 year car loan”. Only a tiny proportion of society live within their means, most people are always on the edge of their budget, many are in massive debt. Don’t get sucked in to the circle of consumerism!
Think long and hard about any large purchase. WHY do you need something? is it for vanity or is it actually really important. You don’t need to walk around in rags, or live like a monk. As always on Fiver Dollar Traveller we are about VALUE, sometimes you have to pay for quality, and thats ok, but don’t be impulsive always consider your purchases and you’ll find, like us, that most things you want really aren’t worth the money.
6. Take the bus/train, not a taxi! Better yet, ride and get healthy at the same time
The quality of public transport varies worldwide, but if you have not considered it as an option in the past, think about it now. There is no rocket science to this, if it is a viable option then suck it up and do it. A $3 bus/train ride and a short walk or a $20 taxi? Save yourself $17 and get some exercise in the process!
7. Make your own Lunch.
If you work a 5 day week and make yourselves sandwiches (or salad, or whatever!) every day the chances are you can eat for under $2 a meal. Not only is it healthier than most fast food, but its cheaper and will take you the same amount of time to make as you’d spend waiting in a line. $2 instead of $6, 5 days a week for 6 months = $520 in your saving account. Yes, it does add up!
8. Change your supermarket
We’ve been doing our main shopping at Aldi for the last 2 years, and its no exaggeration to claim we have saved thousands of dollars in that time. You probably have a budget supermarket where you live, do a search on google to find out. The main objection to shopping budget is that people assume if its cheaper its inferior… WRONG! Most of the products we buy at Aldi we prefer to major brands, not all, but most, and we are saving sometimes over 50% on our shopping costs. Ignore the fact that products are in ugly packaging and taste with you mouth, not with your eyes. Make sure you buy what is in season, its always cheaper, and read the price labels don’t just mindlessly pick up products. If you save $75 per week by shopping budget that is $3,900 per year.
9. Why pay more?
Shop around for a deal, on everything. When you do need to buy something important, don’t buy it in the shops, buy it on ebay or amazon! Don’t just buy at the first price you see, ever, always check prices from other vendors. Sometimes amazon is not the cheapest option, so always shop around. Often its the little everyday items that you’d just buy at the store that you’ll be massively surprised at how much cheaper they are on ebay – especially if you order them from Hong Kong!
10 . Make your trip cheaper…
Rather than just looking at ways to save more money, also look at ways to reduce the cost of your trip in the first place! We can you help with that, take a look at the tips section of our website to find more articles about saving money whilst travelling.
Find cheaper flights: Airplane Tickets on OneTravel! (Make your vacation budget friendly with OneTravel airplane tickets. OneTravel offer discount on airfares year round.) Plus shop around for the best possible accommodation price by using site comparison sites like HotelsCombined.
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