If you’re dreaming of a holiday but are putting it off because of lack of funds, try some of these money saving techniques and you’ll be booking that adventure in no time. Just remember to start saving early and stick to your budget.
1. Open a dedicated travel bank account
I’ve written about this before and use this method myself because one easy and effective way to save for a trip is to open a dedicated travel savings account. You set up automatic payments in the account and with all the restraint you can muster, leave it there until it’s time for your trip. If you choose a high interest account you might even get a little extra come travel time. Having a designated travel account is also an easy way to track how much you’ve spent on your holiday.
2. The 52 Week Challenge
I’ve only recently heard about this challenge but really like the concept as it’s a fun, simple and unique way to save cash every week of the year. Basically the amount you save corresponds with the week you’re on so in week one, you’ll save $1 and in week 3 you’ll save $3 and so on. By the end of the 52 weeks you’ll have saved $1,378! That’s a pretty impressive amount to either add to the holiday fund or enough for a holiday in itself in some cases. This is also a pretty customisable challenge so don’t be afraid to double the amount of money or the saving period.
3. The Vacation Change Jar
Similar in concept to the swear jar except you are not punishing yourself in this case. Basically each day when you come home, put any change you have into a jar. The trick is to then not touch it! Once full, take it to the bank and deposit that money into your designated travel account (see above) and then repeat.
4. Limit Trips to the Grocery Store
I’ve written before about how much money you can save by not buying coffees or lunches at work and while I will happily drink water and eat vegemite sandwiches if it means I can get on a plane and go exploring sooner, I realise not everyone is wired like this. I also don’t have kids so giving advice on limiting the weekly shop might not be fair but here I go anyway –
Save money by buying in bulk. This was a new concept for me and I was only recently introduced to it through the surreal experience of shopping at PriceSmart in Costa Rica. I would wander around looking at people’s trolleys wondering how they could possibly ever eat their way through kilos of cereal or litres of tomato sauce but it obviously works.
In Australia ordering your groceries online and having them delivered might be a good way to stop those impulse buys at the checkout or in the lollie/chocolate section.
5. Sell stuff
The old saying of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is never more true thanks to online sites like ebay, Craigslist and Gumtree. You’d be surprised what you can sell and for how much so look around at what you no longer need or want and either post online or have a good old fashioned yard sale to get some extra cash for the travel fund.
6. Exercise for free
Wanting to get in shape to look good in our new bikinis or bathers on our holiday is a strong motivator for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we need to be paying for a gym membership. You can have a great workout outside of the gym and save yourself the money. Work out at home with YouTube videos or get outside by finding a hill, a park, the beach or anything that will get the heart rate up. If you are someone who needs the motivation of others join a free meet up group of walkers, a free Saturday morning club ride for cyclists or swim at the beach instead of the pools.
7. Put your Credit Cards to work
Personally I like cold hard cash when making purchases as it makes me really consider what I am buying and whether it is worth it. Swiping a card is so easy and impersonal that I can easily forget the budget and increase my debt levels but credit cards when used properly can be a great way to get airline points. Many cards allow you to collect airline miles for spending so if you rack up enough on shopping, eating out, taking surveys and other methods you could literally fly for free.
8. Know how much you need
Use a budget calculator or some other resource to work out how much you need for your intended holiday. Knowing exactly how much money you need gives you a target and is easier to save towards than a mythical amount of money being “enough” for a holiday. Knowing you need $3250 for your dream trip instead of “thousands” will also make you think twice before pulling money out for other purchases.
9. Stop spending for 2 months
Similar to what I have mentioned above about packing your own lunches, not buying take away coffee and cancelling gym memberships, this works on the “Dry July” or “40 hr famine” concept of giving things up for a period of time. If the thought of giving things up completely doesn’t appeal then challenge yourself to give it up for a month at a time and divert all that money into your dedicated travel account.
Obviously when I say stop spending I am only talking about the non essentials and not your mortgage or electricity bills or other basic requirements of living. You can pick any 2 months or time periods throughout the year though some people find January easiest as there tends to be a lull after all the festivities of Christmas and New Years and whatever their birthday month is. You can ask people to treat you during this month as a gift or way to celebrate while you save the money.
Finally – go anyway. If you’re into holidays and travel adventure, you know that a life well lived is more about experiences and less about just working to pay bills.
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I’m Anna Kernohan, an Adventure Consultant. I use my 17 years of travel experience and my background in Paramedics and Safety to provide professional advice and travel companion services to those wanting to travel but not in a tour group or alone. You’ll never have to worry about being alone in a foreign country again.
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