I am yet to find that elusive money tree, and I’m losing faith fast that it exists! Up there with the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, winning the lottery, and marrying a millionaire, money trees are the stuff of legend, although it doesn’t stop me in my search!
Considering I am not known for my saving expertise in general, I did something amazing recently – I actually managed to save up enough cash to fund my travels for a year, and although it was tight at times, I survived and didn’t go hungry once!
How did I do it?
I’ll let you in on a secret or two.
Before the trip
Save, save, save
Before I decided to take off and explore the world, I basically worked every hour god sent and saved up everything I could. Yes, this did mean no social life, but you can’t have everything you want in life, and if it’s a trade-off between travelling and living your dream, and not having a night out once a week for a few months, then I’d always go with it.
Get a second job
Even if it’s just a few hours a week working a bar, anything you earn can be put in a high interest savings account, and left there until you need it. Do not touch under any circumstances! I found it hard when I had the spending urge on a Saturday afternoon, but I just tried to remind myself of what I was saving it for, and that took the edge off somewhat.
Cut any unnecessary expenditure
I found I was paying for a gym membership that had lapsed three months ago and I never used! Of course I never went whilst the membership was active, but that’s beside the point! Look at all your expenditure and cut out unnecessary items. Whatever you save, throw it in that savings account.
Sell your junk
You know what they say about one man’s junk is another man’s treasure? Well I found that one girl’s old clothes, are another girl’s new ones! eBay is your friend here, so get sorting out your wardrobe, and anything you haven’t worn for the last six months – sell it!
During the trip
Budget, budget, budget
Keeping a tight rein on what you’re spending is so important when you’re traveling, especially at the start. I found it hard to change my mind-set at first, from being on holiday when I usually spent more than I ever would at home, eating out all the time and shopping etc, to realising that I was living there whilst travelling in a way, so I couldn’t spend like a tourist would. I set myself a budget per week and stuck to it, and anything I didn’t spend, I put into a pot for any special occasions that cropped up along the way.
Work on the go
I am a freelance writer, so I am able to do my job anywhere in the world as I move around, which is great for earning some much-needed cash whilst travelling. I found this a great way to top up what I was spending and it gave me a safety cushion too. You don’t have to do an online kind of job or freelance, you could pick up shifts in a bar for a few weeks, or helping out on a farm, fruit picking etc. The options for earning cash are endless, but just be sure to check out the rules on working in the place you’re visiting, as some don’t allow foreign visitors to work.
Saving isn’t easy, but when you think about what you’re saving for, the task becomes much easier. I was never a saver before this trip, but it’s proven to me that I can do it, and no matter how high that mountain may seem, I could do it again.