How to save money for travel? When I was looking to save money for travel I like to think I used a myriad of approaches people tend to adopt in order to save; a little each month of my salary, putting away lump sums of commission, moving back home to live with my parents, having a dead end job and putting all I could into savings. I have done them all, these changes had zero to do with money, it was all based on my illnesses, however I can safely say because of this I have given all these ways a go. This was my process and the changes I made to save money. While I have applied it specifically to life in the UK, the general changes can be applied to any country in the world.
A list of your needs vs a list of your wants.
Suuuuuper boring but this is the most important thing at the start; take a look at your bank statement for one month. In this statement see which is a ‘want’ and which is a ‘need’. Spending money on clothes, make-up, appearance maintenance, social events and I will have to mention it because I know in the UK it’s rife; recreational drugs?
Writing this list was something I did to understand how I was only living pay cheque to cheque. After finishing this list I realised many of my expenses were wants, not needs. Depending on how badly you want to save you can completely cut out the wants. I have highlighted how I made slight changes to decrease the costs of my ‘wants’ and overall saved £264.50 monthly. This was just from slight changes, that apart from needing to be more organised and controlled, didn’t significantly impact my life. For this example and ease of maths I have rounded everything to the nearest pound.
- WANT Sunbed: £17
- WANT Waxing: £23
- WANT Haircut: £35
- WANT Meals out and alcohol: £313
- WANT Clothes and Make-up Shopping: £120
- WANT Recreational activity: (e.g I went to a music event, the circus, the cinema twice and a food fair) £77
- NEED Travel: £144
- NEED Rent: £675
- NEED Utility bills:
- NEED Food shopping: £170
Sunbeds: I really only did it to keep up my tan from summer so I didn’t get burnt for the next holiday I had coming up.
Waxing: I gave it up completely.
Saving: £22 (and pain!)
Haircut: You need a hair cut but I didn’t need a £35 one, shop around. I realised if I had my hair cut mid-week it was £17.50! Often if you sign up to your hair dresser or go to a new hair dresser recommended by a friend you get discounts.
Meals out and Alcohol: I cannot and will not give up eating out, it is my favourite thing ever. I would rather give up all the clothes, make-up and music events in the world for eating out. However I stopped with the slightly drunk after work meals, only ate out on re-arrange occasions and often used vouchers. I would say my budget just under halved as a result. There was also a point made of drinking at home and using happy hours. I explain more about the apps I used below as well.
Shopping: I was quite shocked about how much I bought for the sake of buying. Going forward I only ever shopped in sales, buying when I had ran out or needed a new one of something. Particularly in affluent areas there are some seriously good charity shops you can get new items for at complete bargain prices. Examples include a Zara jacket for £8 RRP £90, my friends got a Hugo Boss suit still with its tags for £30, RRP £280.
Recreational activity: I moderated myself, if their was the suggestion to go to an event in the coming months I would commit to those one to two events and say no to others. Rarely did I do anything last minute, which is boring but because there was a reason for saying no (saving for travel) I didn’t mind too much. I’m pretty sure I also managed to do every free activity that’s available in London.
Total saving from my wants vs needs list with changes adopted:
- Savings I made going forward: £264.50
Lunches, snacking and drinks on the go.
‘Imagine that the high street is like it was in the ‘70s’
One of my dads many ‘wise’ lectures on why people are now so overweight. But it got me thinking and it’s such a good piece of advice for saving money during the week. Simply put, they didn’t have Starbucks, Costa, Tesco Express, Pret or Greggs. You didn’t have a choice in the 70’s, if you wanted lunch and snacks you brought the food to work with you, if you wanted a hot drink you waited until you got to work. The millennial age of convenience everywhere has made it so tempting not to save! But when I took on this concept it was one of the easiest areas to save money in. Make your own lunches, whatever you cook in the evening make slightly more of or get a loaf of bread, meat and salad and make a sandwich. My lunches worked out to cost me on average, £0.75 during the week.
Mid-afternoon will strike and you may be hungry, all you want to do is to go out and get snacks. Try your best to pre-empt that you’ll probably be hungry at around 4pm when you do your groceries and buy whatever you would normally go out and snack on- my go to was a bag of nuts or dried fruit. Live like they did in the ‘70s rather than in the age of convenience and you’ll save money.
- Av. cost of making lunch: £0.75 Av. cost of buying lunch: £5
- Av. cost of snacks from home: £0.25 Av. cost of buying snacks out: £1.50
- Av. cost of hot drinks at work:£0.00 Av. cost of buying drinks to-go: £2.00
Eating out & Drinking.
The best way to save money with this one is to simply not do it, but that doesn’t exactly strike excitement in anyones eyes. Often I would have people over for dinner instead of going out. But as I mentioned earlier- I did not give up eating out. These are the ways I used to save money while I was still eating out:
- Groupon:I quickly learnt to get deals for food and drinks, my favourite example was getting a six course meal and a bottle of wine for two for £60, but this isn’t rare go check it out.
- Dojo app: This is an app to find things to do, but it also has a filter of where is cheap to eat and drink around the city
- Designmynight: Again similar to Dojo but focusing on drinking and going out. It tells you the happy hours and when prices are cheap.
- Tastecard: I feel like its had its hey day but still valid in a lot of restaurants, this gives 2-4-1 on meals or 50% off at certain times.
- Researching BYOB: a real lifesaver as drinks usually make up around 30-40% of the bill.
As mentioned before:
- Eating out and drinking monthly before looking at my spending: £313
- Eating out and drinking monthly with tips I’ve mentioned: £215
Groceries and Dinners.
My favourite way to save money, do a weekly shop online rather doing ‘What should I have for dinner tonight?’ each day after work. Here you can plan what you’re eating for the week; breakfast, lunches, snacks and dinners. Buying all or the majority of your food in one weekly expense is particularly useful to know your exact outgoings. As a plus, grocery websites save your previous shopping lists so you can literally go over it the following week and take 10 minutes to do your weekly shop. What a breeze. Before you think ‘but its costs X amount to be delivered’, scroll to the bottom to see just how much better off you’ll be spending that £1 on delivery.
Avoid walking into expensive supermarkets; M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s-their is no excuse while you can get shopping delivered to you online by Tesco and Asda. If you’re near to one alternatively, or have access to a car, shop at ALDI or LIDL.
I also have a load of go to recipes that are cheap to make, can be done in bulk and even someone with poor cooking skills can rustle up. My three meal, money-saving meal guide is here if you still feel like your not saving money despite cooking at home.
N.B Do not do home delivery meal kits-these are only for people who are not saving.
- Average cost of food per week shopping online and planning: £25
- Average cost of food per week shopping every few days/each evening: £65
You do not need one. If you are capable and motivated to plan a round the world travel trip, you are more than capable to motivate yourself to exercise in other ways than gym classes and personal trainers.
- Often offices have sports clubs (netball, running, rugby etc), paid by work.
- Does your office have a shower? Cycle, walk or run to work. I know there are ample free sports sessions up and down the country so research your area and you will find them (yes even London).
- Exercise Apps. I have an app on my phone for my exercises; circuits, yoga, pilates all free so I could exercise whenever and wherever I wanted.
If you feel you absolutely can’t scrimp on a gym membership look to memberships of sports facilities partly owned by the local council. These are always a fraction of the price, albeit slightly less fancy with equipment potentially being slightly older. But if you really are a gym bunny this should not matter to you.
- Monthly gym membership:£45
- Cost of using an app, a club at work or a DVD at home: £5 monthly (at most, mine were free)
How to save money for travel: Dating.
It’s expensive and if you’re planning on being away for a long period of time in the future are you really that bothered? I did it because of what was happening with my life at the time, I had that feeling of being obliged because I was in my twenties, single and in London. This one is particularly for boys, wouldn’t you rather spend your money on time with friends or save the money for travel? It’s each to their own but I know the choice I’d make doing it again.
How to save money for travel: Utilities and bills.
A fixed cost that you will need to pay, but be conscious and sensible. Having the option of TV programmes was very important to me as I was having to sit on the sofa pretty much every weekend being ill. But when the renewal came and the price of my TV bill went up, I called my provider and the price pretty went back to what we paid when we started our contract, saving £20 a month. If you think you could completely cut it out, do.
Normally I would renew my phone contract every 24 months and upgrade my phone, but at the renewal point while I was saving I didn’t, I kept my older model and as a result I saved myself £30 a month.
- Monthly satellite contract price increase: £27.50
- Monthly satellite contract price post-phone call: £17.50
- Monthly phone contract with renewed model: £45
- Monthly phone contract with older model: £12.50
How to save money for travel: Travelling to see friends.
Got friends dotted around the country? Or want to go home and see family while you’re elsewhere? Book in advance. While I was at home living with my family in Nottingham I used to book my train tickets early on. The cheapest time to book train travel is six weeks in advance in the UK, any earlier and it seems there isn’t much of a saving.
- Return ticket to London from home a week or so before: £45.50
- Return ticket to London from a home over six weeks in advance: £17.50
- Return ticket to Manchester from Nottingham a week or so before: £80
- Return ticket to Manchester from Nottingham over six weeks in advance: £26.50
Annual savings that could be had by making basic changes:
How to save money for travel: Wants. (excluding eating out)
- Costs of ‘wants’: (12x£272) £3,264
- Costs by reigning in ‘wants’: (12×105.50) £1,266
- Annual potential Saving: £1,998
How to save money for travel: Lunch, snacks & hot drinks during the work week. (I have assumed 5 weeks off a year.)
For this I will do an example, so previously lets say you brought in lunch once a week, you have three coffees a week on the go, you also bought three snacks a week.
- Av. cost of making lunch: £0.75
- Av. cost of buying lunch: £5×4
- Av. cost of buying snacks out: £1.50×3
- Av. cost of buying hot drinks on the way to work: £2.00×3
- Per week: £31.25
- (I have assumed 5 weeks off a year)
- Annually £31.25×47= £1468.75
Instead, lets say you bring in your lunch and snacks and don’t buy drinks on the go.
- Av. cost of making lunch: £0.75×5
- Av. cost of snacks from home: £0.25×5
- Per week: £5
- Annually: £5×47=£235
- Annual potential saving: £1,233.50
How to save money for travel: Eating and drinking out.
- Eating out and drinking monthly before looking at my spending: (£313×12) £3,756
- Eating out and drinking monthly with tips I’ve mentioned: (£215×12) £2,580
- Annual potential Saving: £1,176
How to save money for travel: Groceries and meal planning.
- Average cost of food per month shopping every few days/each evening: (£260×12) £3,120
- Average cost of food per month shopping online and planning: (£100×12) £1,200
- Potential Saving: £1,920
How to save money for travel: Gym.
- Gym membership: (£45×12) £540
- App/Sport club: (£5×12) £60
- Annual potential Saving: £480
How to save money for travel: Utilities.
- Phone and TV bill pre-changes: (£72.50×12) £870
- older phone model & asking satellite TV for a discount: £360
- Annual potential saving: £510
If you are a culprit of all things mentioned above and are still thinking of how to save money for travel then your total annual saving simply by being more organised and cutting back slightly could be. £5397.50
A total saving of £5397.50
(NB. when considering how to save money for travel these figures are all figures I got while I was living in London, for different cities the savings may be more or less in the variouss sub categories I have mentioned.)