If you daydream a lot, like me, then you’ve probably thought about winning the lottery. An endless supply of cold hard cash would undoubtedly be a dream come true, and I can’t help but imagine all the amazing things I could do if I was lucky enough to be rich; such as a lifetime supply of pizza, in Italy, because obviously, I’d spent my winnings on travel. Sadly, I know that the chances of winning the lottery are slim; I’m no fool, contrary to popular belief. I, like most of us, have to work to earn a living, and I try my best to save my dollar dollar bills for travel experiences.
Saving in itself can be a mighty challenge, especially when you suffer from SOSA (Severe Online Shopping Addiction) like I do. I’ve had to change my lifestyle significantly in order to save enough to travel, and I want to share some of my tips to help you do the same.
#1: MAKE SACRIFICES
One of the easiest ways to save money is to sacrifice the things you’d usually buy, but don’t necessarily need, to save for your next adventure. When I was trying to save to quit my job and go on a 3-month trip across Asia & the South Pacific, I realised something very important about six months before I finished work – I only had six months left of regular income. There I was, going to the mall every other weekend and burning through hundreds of dollars of cash on completely unnecessary crap. The $90 top that I desperately needed? I’ve worn it about 3 times in the past year I’ve owned it. A hundred dollars’ worth of makeup? I barely even wear makeup!
After making this realisation, I slapped myself in the face, made a budget and tried my hardest to stick to it. It wasn’t easy at first, but as time went on I realised that I didn’t need material possessions to feel good about myself, and the desire to purchase clothes, makeup and whatever else I was wasting my money on started to fade. I loved shopping, but I loved travelling more. That $90 top could’ve been three days’ worth of meals in Bali, or another incredible night at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo (once just was not enough). Once you realise what is more important to you and your goals, it becomes easier to make those sacrifices.
#2: KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE
It’s easy to forget why you’re saving, even if you’ve already booked flights out of the country. When you’re distracted by the purchase of material possessions, you can find yourself losing sight of what’s important. Once I realised that I only had six months left to save as much as I could, with the end goal being a 3-month adventure, I found myself committing to that goal with much more gusto.
I often kept myself on track by visualising what the money I was saving would do for me. Instead of buying a new top, I’d picture how I could spend that money overseas. I created mood boards with destinations I was visiting, I researched things to do and places to see, and I kept myself occupied with my goal of saving enough to enjoy myself. Keeping your eye on the prize will help keep you motivated, and keeping motivated is essential to achieving your goals.
#3: TAKE ON EXTRA WORK
Despite the fact I was working full-time before my 3-month trip, I still sought extra work to help save money for my travels. In fact, I still do extra work in the form of freelance social media management; despite working in Sydney and commuting almost 90 minutes each way to get there, because I’m always saving for my next adventure. I found this extra work on a freelance website, and was approached by a wonderful woman (Hi Bec) who gave me the opportunity to earn extra cash while still working full-time. This extra income helped line my pockets before, during and after my travels, and even now, every cent I make goes into a designated travel savings fund for future adventures.
Some of you may have skills you can utilise in the freelance world, such as social media management, graphic design, copywriting or photography. Some of you will take on a second job at a cafe or bar, or do babysitting work on the weekends. No matter how you do it, every opportunity to make extra money is an opportunity to travel more!
#4: LIVE SIMPLY
My last piece of advice may also be the most obvious – live simply. To me, living simply is doing whatever I can to minimise the cost of my lifestyle. I stopped doing my grocery shopping at chain supermarkets, and started going to the local fruit market or Aldi store (if you don’t already shop at Aldi, I strongly urge you to start). I stopped buying lunch every day and started making bulk meals at home to take to work instead. I choose to spend my spare time on activities that are low-cost or free. I try to catch up with friends at home over a tea or a walk instead of going out for lunch or dinner. It’s the little things that count, and after a while you really start to realise how much money you waste on things that aren’t that important in the long run. Would I prefer to go out for dinner every other night, or eat at home so I can go out for dinner every other night when I’m overseas? The answer is obvious.
At the end of the day, you’ll only make the effort to save for something that you truly want. For me, all I want is the opportunity to see this big, beautiful world, and if that means I have to make sacrifices, take on extra work and live simply, then I’m happy to do that!
How do you save enough money to travel?