Congratulations on making through to 2021. You may have seen my recent article on how I believe that solo travel could be the remedy we all need after such a horrendous year. Many of you may have read this and thought, ‘That’s all well and good but with jobs being lost and money needed to be stretched even further is this really feasible?’ Well, I am here to tell you, yes it is! The amount of time you may wish to take a solo travel exhibition really doesn’t matter. Saving for doing so is the next issue.
One question I get asked more often than anything is ‘how do you afford to travel as much as you do?’ Saving money seems like a tough topic to talk about for many. Nevertheless, in this article, I will let you into the not so secret ways to save. Whether that is for a trip of a lifetime or even for something closer to home, these little life hacks will help you put money towards whatever your goal may be.
Whether it is a one week getaway to a single destination, 3 weeks backpacking through Europe or several months around south-east Asia, the principle is entirely the same. One thing you do have right now is time on your hand. In England right now we are in lockdown 3.0. There is very little recreationally on offer to spend our money on. Don’t fill your spare time with online purchases to fill the void.
Open an online saver account. Yes, the interest rates are very low right now. However, there is something very satisfying about setting a goal and watching your savings rise. Every time you go to buy something online stop and think. Do I really need this? Is this an impulse buy? What could I get with the amount of money if I were abroad? It could cover a meal while watching a sunset, or even a day trip to something astonishing.
One of the easiest and most obvious things to check when looking over your expenses is your direct debits and subscriptions. You will probably be horrified your paying for old service/app’s or online subscription’s that you no longer use! Start here and make sure there are no forgotten nasties that are silently eating away at your pennies!
Revisit your cable bills, how much are you paying per month just to watch TV? Previously, I was paying £157.50 per year for a TV licence plus around £75 per month for cable and broadband. There are so many LEGAL ways to watch TV online and streaming services nowadays, do you really need anything else? You could literally save yourselves hundreds if not more from just cutting this one bill. I now only pay for broadband and it has helped top up the saving fund no end! Just from going this may save £50 per month at least to get you started. Do you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime account? Find out who is freeloading off you and split the cost, we all know someone who is pulling this trick!
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Are you paying too much for your insurance, gas and electric bills or even your food shopping? The answer to this question is most probably YES! One little trick insurance companies have, whether it be home insurance, car insurance or even health insurance, is to auto-renew. Easy for you right… no need to spend that time changing companies and direct debit payments. 99% of the time, this auto-renewal will actually be higher than your previous year. This may not be by much, but this begins to add up over time and over different companies. Companies such as Uswitch are perfect for helping you find a better deal. What’s more, they do all the work for you! These savings add up to hundreds over the year. It is so worth an extra 20 minutes online shopping for better deals.
Supermarket Savvy Shopping
Why not switch supermarkets and or even try using their own branded products rather than well known and usually overpriced brands? One trick supermarkets use is to put the most desirable and most expensive items right there at eye level in the middle of the shelves. Next time you go to pick something up from the middle shelves, look down. I guarantee an almost identical item will be near the bottom of the shelving for a fraction of what you have in your hand.
Keep your receipts and do a comparison shop of what you would usually buy to a cheaper alternative. You will be amazed at the saving in just a weeks shop. In my own personal opinion, some of these are exactly the same if not better tasting. Aldi superstores own branded label good have actually won copious awards in taste tests against everyday household favourites. The proof in the pudding really is in the eating. Try it for yourself, and watch those $/£ add up!
It also doesn’t have to be big savings at once. Are you still getting your daily fix of Starbucks or Costa coffee? at £3-5 per day, this really adds up. This could add up to as much as £35 a week just in coffee! That is £1820 a year! Ok, you’re not going to be buying a coffee 365 days a year, but you get the idea. At saving £5 a day for a year just on something as trivial as a coffee or sandwich at lunch could literally fund a months travel in Asia with flights!
Tempted by takeaway? How many times a week do you order food in? Why not learn an invaluable skill of how to cook and save yourself £££’s a week just from eating at home? Combine this with your the above advice on your shopping to double your savings! Add up the costs of a Dominoes Pizza and compare that with the price of store brought or even create your own at home. Pizza making is great fun and you’re the boss of the toppings! It can also be fun to save money I promise!
If you are going cold turkey for takeaway Thai, then try this little trick. Head over to your Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just eat accounts, browse and add items to your basket. Then leave the app and wait. I promise you, once the app realises you are looking, don’t be surprised to receive a discount code the next day to tempt you back. But stay strong… think of your waistline and that dress, swimming costume or pair of shorts you’re dying to wear on your dream travel trip! Save pounds in the pocket and pounds on the scales and you will win-win!
Use lock-down as an excuse not to spend money on the little things you really won’t miss and I promise, whatever your savings goal is will come so much sooner. What’s more, if you do allow yourself the odd Starbucks or odd takeaway meal, you will appreciate it so much more!
Grab a pen and paper once you have read this article and literally write down your week’s expenses. Be brutally honest and find out how much of your spending is actually expendable. Then, set yourself a target you would realistically like to save in a certain timescale. Aim high… we just saw how much cutting out the Starbucks coffee a day could save you buy just keeping that £5 in your pocket! Start saving today to make your dreams happen tomorrow.
Set Your Self-Up For Your Travels
During the time you are saving to make that life-changing trip a reality, had you considered taking up a skill that could be used as you travel. Jobs just as plumbing, cooking, administrative work or even TEFL ( Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are always sought after. Even if it is not for paid work while away, learning new skills such as plumbing or even admin basics could help you work for accommodation in hostels for instance.
Small changes can go a long way, especially when looking to save. Follow these tips and watch your savings grow! I would love to know any other ideas you may have to help save money. Drop them in the comments below
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My name is Ryan Cook and I am the founder of Travel With Cooky. I am a travel enthusiast sharing my top travel tips and destination reviews helping you to travel more for less.
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