So you want to travel the world and your bucket list is getting longer and longer, but saving enough money for that dream trip is hard work! The plane tickets alone cost a bundle, then you need money for accommodation, food, beer, souvenirs, shopping, entry fees to all those places you want to visit and all the crazy things you want to do, like skydiving and bungee jumping, festivals, cocktails, more beer…
Saving thousands of dollars for that dream trip to see the Eiffel Tower, visit the ancient city of Petra, sail the Greek Islands, or come face to face with the Taj Majal is not easy, but there are ways, in your everyday life, where you can cut back and be on your way to having the best adventures! To help you get your finances in order and your pocket stacked with travel-funding cash, here are my favourite money saving tips – and they really work!
I cannot recommend housesitting enough and it’s my number one money saving tip. I literally save thousands of dollars by housesitting. That’s my flights paid for!
I decided to housesit during a six month hiatus between overseas adventures. Housesitting means you live in someone’s home while they’re away and your responsibilities may include looking after pets, watering the garden, taking out the bins, collecting mail, and keeping the house occupied. I pay no rent, electricity, water, or internet. Sometimes I even get Foxtel or Netflix. I don’t even pay for toilet paper, washing powder or cleaning products. Sometimes the people I housesit for even leave me food! All of this really adds up in just a few weeks.
Housesitting is also a great way to explore new neighbourhoods. The traveller in me loves exploring a new neighbourhood every couple of weeks. New cafes, parks, sights, running circuits. What’s not to love? You can sign up to become a housesitter in Australia at Aussie Housesitters. You pay a $65 annual membership fee but you essentially make that back on your first housesit. You can also housesit around the world through Trusted Housesitters.
2. Don’t spend your money on material possessions
This is a simple one but it’s also hard to do. For me, it’s all about priorities. That handbag, that watch, that shirt – do I REALLY need it? Will it affect my life if I don’t have it? Usually the answer is no. Sure they look nice but I’m sure you have many other similar items at home – and at the end of the day, they’re just material possessions, they won’t enrich your life, you won’t make lifelong memories out of that new handbag, it’s just money you could use to see the wonders of the world.
Before you buy anything material – think about if you really need it or you would rather spend it exploring the hillside towns of Italy’s Cinque Terre or seeing the bright lights of New York’s Times Square. The way I try to think about it is – I have clothes on my back, a roof over my head, and food in my belly. That’s really all I need and then I can achieve my travel goals.
If you really need new clothes, you can always head to local flea markets or thrift stores. There’s always people selling their clothes and they’re often in pretty good quality at dirt cheap prices! I often head to local flea markets or suitcase rummages to try and grab a bargain. Garage sales or EBay are also great to buy things like furniture.
3. Set up a bank account just for travel
One way I save money is by putting everything I earn into an account not connected to my bank cards. This means I manually have to move money into an account I can access when I need spending money. I usually have no more than $200 in my spending account at any one time. This is for day to day expenses – which means petrol, food, drinks, phone credit etc.
If I spend that $200 before the end of the week, that’s it – I can’t buy anything else that week unless it’s an emergency such as car repairs or a doctor’s appointment. My savings account is only used for large bills like car insurance, and travel expenses – I can’t dip into it for anything non-essential that’s not travel. You can also maximise your savings by locking your money into a term deposit for a few months and earning a higher interest rate.
4. Bring your lunch to work
This one’s easy. Don’t buy takeaway. Prepare your own meals and you’ll save so much moolah! I always bring lunch to work – usually cooking more than I need for dinner the night before and bringing the leftovers into work. It saves me at least $10 a day. I also try to limit myself to eating out only one or two times per week – saving my eating out budget for birthdays or other special occasions.
5. To market, to market
If you’re looking to cut down your fruit and vegies bill, head to your local farmer’s markets. Fruit and veges are so much cheaper at farmer’s markets than supermarkets – and it’s fresher and tastier!
6. Explore the great outdoors
Looking for something to do on the weekend? Then go for a hike or to the beach – or take a road trip. All it costs is time and money for petrol. The world has so many beautiful places to explore so get out there and see it. You’ll be amazed what you find in your own backyard when you start looking for activities.
Having a fun weekend doesn’t need to cost money. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out my blog The Little Adventurer – I have lots of outdoor destinations across Australia and overseas for you to check out. We Are Explorers is also a great resource for outdoor inspiration!
7. Ditch your gym membership
Ditching your gym membership and moving your exercise outdoors is also a great money saver. How much do you pay per month for your gym? I paid $85 and didn’t even go that much. I cancelled it and moved my exercise outdoors. I run along bikepaths during the week, use park benches for tricep dips and step ups, and borrowed weights and a skipping rope from a friend.
I exercise on weekends by going for hikes and it doesn’t even feel like exercise because I enjoy it so much. And, you know what, I actually do way more exercise without a gym membership because I find it more fun, I’m getting fresh air and exploring while I’m working out.
8. Revise your phone plans and take advantage of free wifi
Is it possible to reduce your phone plan? I bought an unlocked phone outright and moved to prepaid and I only pay $30 a month. I don’t make a lot of calls and use wi-fi at home for data and free wi-fi when I’m out and about. If I don’t use all my credit in a month, which I usually don’t, it rolls over as long as I recharge before it expires. I just keep my credit rolling over – it eventually adds up.
9. Check you’re getting the best deal on your insurance policies
Are there policies or plans in your life that you could revise? You’ve probably had the same health insurance for years but maybe it’s time to revise your policy – could you reduce your level of cover and save some money? I did just that and now I’m saving $10 a week. It all adds up. Think about the bills you pay each week and where savings could be made. Maybe you can get cheaper car insurance if you shop around?
10. Use public transport – and be smart about it
Another way you can save money is by using public transport on weekends. For example, in Brisbane, if you take nine paid journeys from Monday to Sunday, everything from your ninth trip on is free until 3am the following Monday morning. I reach my ninth trip by Friday morning because I take public transport to and from work, so on the weekends I take public transport where I can because it’s totally free! It works a similar way in Sydney, if you take eight (8) paid journeys from Monday to Sunday, enjoy free travel for the rest of the week. Or on Sundays, you can travel as much as you want on applicable public transport services from 4am Sunday to 3:59am Monday for only $2.50.
Lisa Owen writes travel blog The Little Adventurer. Her blog documents her adventures around the globe in more than 40 countries. You’ll most likely find her at the beach, hitting local hiking trails, trying out some adrenaline charged activity like skydiving or rappelling, chasing waterfalls or weaving her way through cobblestoned streets. You can follow her current six-month trip around the world on Instagram.