This is my version of how to start saving every last penny to take that round the world trip you’ve been wanting much sooner while still living a fairly normal life wherein you are not eating noodles every night for dinner and stuck in your house each week while your friends go out without you!
First of all I would like to make clear that my way will not work for everyone as you may not all be living the same circumstance I was in but I hope you will still take at least a few of my tips on board. Secondly I would like you to understand that in doing what I did I saved more than 60% of my monthly salary. This might help to give you some perspective of just how much you might be able to put toward your holiday.
My first tip: If you’re young and single and fortunate enough to have parents with a spare room/ apartment/ granny flat – move back in with them! I was lucky enough to have parents with a two storey house – basically two houses stacked on top of each other – with the only shared room being the laundry. The top storey had three bedrooms with 2 occupied by my younger brother and one very large master bedroom empty for me to rent at a steal! Not to mention my extremely cheap rent included everything (rates, electricity and wifi).
Second: All offers for dinner at your parents house should be graciously accepted and never ever leave without leftovers! The same goes for any other friends and family (though maybe leftovers from your friends is a stretch: I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends who never let me leave their houses empty handed). Also where you can, take as many food supplies from your parents house that you can while there; or if you’ve moved back in with them sneakily take something each day or every other day like I did! A box of pasta here, can of tomatoes there, they’ll never notice! 😉
Third: Plant as many of your own herbs and easy growing vegetables as you can… essentials like tomatoes grow in no time whatsoever and require little maintenance. The same goes for herbs. You don’t even have to buy herbs from the garden stores – go to your local farmers market and grab a small potted starter herb from them.
Fourth: Of course while you are at the farmers market scout out the stalls with the best produce at the best price, it’s important not to just go for the cheapest of everything as sometimes it ain’t worth eating!! Eating only organic produce myself I purchased all of my organic meats, eggs, fruits and vegetables from the local markets once a week at an extremely reasonable low price. My friend and I would walk around the entire markets and I’d note down costs as we went of the products which looked and felt the best, than after seeing every stall we would go back through and buy our produce.
Fifth: Stop buying clothes, shoes, jewellery and anything else that is not necessary to staying alive. Just STOP! Even you shopaholics, if I can do it you can!!! I went from spending most of my paycheque on material items to saving every last cent of that money for my holiday! Of course the occasional slip is bound to happen but the best way to avoid this is just to steer clear from any shopping centers’, malls, strips, streets etc, etc. If you’re absolutely desperately in need of buying something new for a dress up party or an event you cannot possibly miss than head to an op shop after exhausting all of your friends wardrobe choices. Even better put unwanted clothes on a buy, swap and sell site to either trade your clothes for something you need or sell them for the money you require.
Sixth: Sell anything you no longer use… as the old adage goes; if you haven’t used it in the last year you probably will never use it.
I don’t know if this list might seem exhausting and a lot for you to take it but I will leave you with one last important tip.
Cut out all ‘extra’ expenses:
- Instead of going out to dinner with friends invite your friends to have dinner at your house, then the next time have dinner at theirs.
- Instead of going to the cinema to see a film wait for dollar day at your local video store and chip in with friends or family to grab a movie, you might even splurge and grab two or three if you’re sharing the cost!!
- Buy a travel mug and take your coffee with you to work rather than stopping on the way for that $5 latte.
- If your workplace has any type of food or drink available freely take full advantage and eat there plus take home everything you possibly can.
- Skip expensive exercise classes or the gym and use the great outdoors – filling a couple of water bottles with sand makes an excellent set of weights 😉
Of course you may choose to just take one or two of these tips to help you out but if you’re on an average salary like I was and want to do everything in your power to take an amazing adventure around the world before your next birthday than it’s important to implement as many cost-cutting strategies as you can.
Finally I will leave you with this, nothing happens overnight, the best thing you can do is save in one area at a time. If you go cold turkey you are more likely to slip up and spend an entire paycheque in one hit. Just take one idea on board this week, another next week, a third the week after and before you know it you will have saved more than you ever thought you could.
Please feel free to comment below or email with your own tips and advice or any queries you might have about my budget strategy.
Until next time.