I have been gone from Traveling Miss Lazy blog (again) not because I was lazy (believe me), but because of the complete opposite, I was working a lot and hard to save money for traveling. I could travel on a tight budget for as long as I can but the money I need to spend to keep me going has got to come from somewhere. I still got to earn a living and make a lot of sacrifices so I can keep on traveling (for until I die or something similar like settling down?). And the past year of working in Canada has been the toughest time I have done in my working life. I am so glad it’s all over now. So glad! Seriously, I could cry right now.
Working hard is tough. Working hard with two jobs is even tougher. Saving up is almost like the 3rd job I needed to work hard on. Wait, I almost forgot that in the Summer I even had 3 jobs all at the same time. I’d be lucky to have two days off a month! Who’s lazy now, eh? I forgot what that’s like! I’m sorry for not being on here but I was just really really exhausted.
Anyway, I’m back on the road and if I can afford to travel the world, anyone can too. Do you work minimum wage jobs? No problem. Are you a student? You can do it! No savings yet? Start having one today! You don’t have to be rich to afford to travel abroad and make your dreams of a wandering life come true. I am not rich. Far from it!
I have met a lot of people, who get paid a lot more than me, that are always wondering how I can go to so many places after finding out that I’m obviously quite poor. I always meet people with good jobs and still say they can’t afford to travel. How can they say that? Sure, they can! But if you’re on a tight budget, like me, you have to expect that saving up for travel means a lot of sacrifice and many changes in your lifestyle. It ain’t easy bro, but trust me, it’s all worth it.
Here’s a lot of ways to save money so you can travel the world:
List down your expenses and know where your money goes
This is the very first step and probably one of the most important. Write down what you spend each month and separate the items to ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants’. Lessen your expenses by cutting down what you spend on your ‘Wants’. Eliminating one item that costs you $50 per month will save you $600 after one year. That money could get you a one way ticket halfway round the world!
Know your travel plans so you can set your goals and your dreams
How long do you want to travel and where to? If you travel around South East Asia, you might need a budget of $1000 per month, or even less if you can do it. You need double that amount of money if you backpack around Europe. If you have a goal and a plan, then you would know how much money you need to have and for how long you have to save up for it. You also need something to remind yourself what you’re working hard for when the saving up gets tough, like a reward of beach life in Thailand or a summer of backpacking all over Europe.
Start a travel savings account
If you could put your money into an account that you wouldn’t want to touch, do it. Set up a separate account that’s mainly going to be your travel fund and put a set amount of money into it. If you could save half of your wages each month, move them right away and stick to a tight budget. If there’s any leftover from your expense money, move them too. You had $7 left from this month? Top up your savings fund. A $7 leftover each month adds up to $84 after one year.
Find an extra source of income like another job
I know working one job is already hard enough but finding extra work and income gives a massive boost to your savings. If you save all the money you earn from your part time job, you will be able to save quicker and start traveling sooner. You could save all of your wages from your main job and your part time work wages could pay for your expenses, if enough. Keeping yourself busy with another job could also keep you from activities that will make you spend money instead (which you shouldn’t really). If you can’t get another job, you can try working extra hours or shifts where you are working at the moment.
Sell your old and unwanted stuff
Garage sale! How many junk do you have that you could make money with by selling them? Old CD collection? Books? Clothes you’ve never worn since 1998? If people are going to pay for them, sell them and you get rid of a lot of stuff you don’t need hanging around. Could you get a few hundred dollars from stuff you don’t need anymore? Sell, sell, sell!
Shop less or shop second hand
Some or many of us have the habit of shopping but saving up isn’t going to work if you keep doing it. Remember, you can’t bring everything with you on your travels so how much shopping do you really want to do each week? Save some money by shopping second hand. They’re much easier to leave behind too when you need to set off because they were cheap. If you want to buy stuff like a camera for your travels, try looking for used ones that are still good to use. Second hand buys will save you hundreds and hundreds of bucks.
Cut down your utility bills or eliminate extra bills like Cable, Internet or Gym Membership
Turn off that A/C once in a while and put extra layers of clothes when it gets cold in the winter. A little bit of sacrifice helps you cut down your energy bills. Change your mobile phone contract to a cheaper one. Do you have Cable TV and still pays for Netflix? Save money by cutting out cable or going for a lower price of internet connection. Paying for Gym? Take a bike to work or do workouts at home. If you cancel your Gym membership, you can save $30-$100 a month, which makes up to $360-1200 savings in a year on top of what you will save on your other monthly bills. Trust me, working extra and spending less money on food and stuff will make you lose weight anyway!
Eat out less and shop food from cheap supermarket
Eating out is never an option for me when I’m on a saving up mode. You save so much when you cook your own food instead. After quitting your eating out habits, you can cut down your food expenses down to a third. Even if you just save $5 a day by cooking, you will save $150 each month on food and that’s $1800 in a year. Doubling that would be sweet! Shop your groceries at big discount supermarkets and when you see anything on sale, buy and stock! There are plenty of recipes for you to learn and even if cooking isn’t your thing, who needs skills in making salads and sandwiches, eh?
Drink at home and avoid going out
You don’t have to stop socializing just because you don’t want to spend your money on night outs (which are costly as we all know). Drink at home and invite your friends for dinner parties or movie nights. How much does seeing a movie in a Cinema these days cost? Too much for me and that’s all I need to know to not even think about it. You can still be fun and cheap at the same time. It might just take a little bit of creativity. You can save more than a hundred bucks by staying in each weekend.
Smoke less or quit
Cigarettes aren’t free and also not good for you. If you can’t quit, cut down to half and then more if you can. If you spend $100 a month (seriously?) on cigarettes each month and cut it down to $50, you can look forward to an extra $600 to your savings and maybe a healthier you. Or $1200 if you quit.
Make your own coffee
It’s shocking how many people need their caffeine fix each morning and all throughout their day. If you stop buying your $2-$5 cup of coffee, which you buy 3-5 times a day probably, you can save tons of money. You can save from $5-$25 a day and you don’t even have to quit the caffeine by just making your own coffee. Might not be as nice but isn’t having an extra $150 (or more) of savings each month nice too?
Save on rent
How much do we pay on rent? A third of our wages? Maybe half? If you’re paying more than that then you should probably move somewhere cheaper. Find a roommate to help pay the rent or, if possible and is really not a bad idea, move back in with your parents. Knowing you’ll be leaving after a few months anyway, they’ll probably let you stay and you can put your rental money straight to your travel fund.
Save more with a piggy bank
Got some loose change hanging around a lot? Make use of a piggy bank and put any loose change you rarely think about in it. You’ll be surprised how much you can get after a year of putting in a few coins each or every other day. Bring your own water with you at all times and save that money you were going to buy a soda or a bottle of water with instead into your piggy bank. You’ll love an extra hundred bucks of cash after a year of working hard and saving up.
Take the public transport instead of driving
If you can get to work and around easily with public transport then it’s about right to just get rid of your car. Stop paying extra bills like car insurance and parking fees each month by taking the public transport instead. Save even a lot more if you can bike or walk to work. If your job is too far, ask around and see if you can arrange a car pool.
In short, just live simply and be very frugal
And never be ashamed! I have never hid to people my need to be cheap to save up money. It’s a time of sacrifice, for something I love doing. I have had workmates who felt bad for me that I couldn’t go out and drink as much as them or buy takeaway meals like they do. I’m used to people noticing me wear the same set of clothes for months that they even thought that I couldn’t afford clothes so they gave me their old ones. I don’t feel bad and never felt bad because I chose my priority and that is to see the world. The reward I give to myself after months and months of hard work is sweet.
And there are always people around that will give us a helping hand knowing we are tightening our belts and working hard for our dreams. May it be as simple as giving us some free food every now and then, or a free ride home from work, any little thing helps make our sacrifice a little less hard. I have those people in my life and I’m ever so grateful. So, never be ashamed. Some of us aren’t as privileged like other people, but if we work a little harder, I know we can get ourselves somewhere or around the world.
Steph – Traveling Miss Lazy
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