How To Save Money To Travel For Your Vacation Or Roadtrip
Prepare Yourself Mentally For Traveling - Set Your Intention To Travel
So you have started to think about how to fund your trip. You are wondering how you are going to save the money for your vacation. Whether you are going on a short vacation, a year long roadtrip, or even running away and escaping the ratrace for good. Before any dream can become a reality you will need to get really clear on what you want and set your intention. Many people say they want to travel and when you start to talk to them about it it becomes clear it is a daydream rather than an intention. We ALL have barriers. However IF you really want something you will find a way to overcome them! You may say 'OK, but I have a mortgage, kids, debts...' insert personal circumstances here... Well, that doesn't mean you can't travel! It just means you have to be prepared to think outside the box, get creative about making your dream happen and be willing to make some sacrifices for what you really want.
I had a mortgage and a shed load of debt before I started this process. Even if it seems like your dream is far, far away in the distance, just make a start. Start taking babysteps and get committed. The rest will fall into place.
An intention has power. It is a dream that someone has thought out and committed to. Here are 4 vital steps to help you set your intention.
- Decide what you really want
- Write it down (don’t worry about the barriers for now, just write down exactly what you want in detail. This is your vision. Some people also like to use pictures.)
- Commit to it
- Take positive action.
Now you have your intention set. These steps are really important to get your head in the right place and help you get clear and focused. It's not until we get really clear about what we want that we will actually be able to start to create it. Evidence shows that the process of writing it down can help it to happen more quickly and you can refer back to it when you get demotivated. Committing to it means deciding that you will do whatever it takes to make this happen. Again don't worry about the 'how' for now, this will take care of itself once you commit and follow through the rest of these steps.
Taking positive action. There are 2 main ways you can take action to save the money for your travels. They are:
> Cutting costs
> Increasing Income
We will now look at exactly what you can do in both of these areas.
Cutting Costs To Save For Vacation
Fund Your Trip By Cutting Costs
How you do this is going to vary from person to person. You have to decide what you are willing to sacrifice to make your dream come true. One person might be quite happy to give up their daily coffee (and a coffee a day from Costa or Starbucks can really add up!) and for another person this might be unthinkable. Perhaps they REALLY enjoy their daily coffee, it literally gets them through the day. And so for that person they might be willing to give up something else up instead.
1. Make A Budget And Track Your Spending
I cannot emphasize the importance of this step enough. Most of us leak money, we literally don't notice we are spending it! Doing a budget and then tracking your spending will take care of this. I bet you will be surprised to discover just what you spend your money on, once you start tracking it. And also about how much you actually spend. I have been tracking my spending for several months now and even now I keep finding more ways I can cut back. A classic example came up recently. I like to have a clean car. I have always taken it to the care wash to be cleaned inside and out, however I realised the last time that this little luxury was costing me £13 each time! Expensive when I can do it for a fraction of the cost by doing it myself, or even by taking it through a machine at a garage, and using the vacuum there. This website guides you through the process of creating a budget and gives you a great, free downloadable budget that you can use. The thing I really like about this budget is that it includes EVERYTHING, so you will not miss anything.
2. Cut Your Grocery Bill
There are so many ways you can do this and people have written in depth articles about it, so I am just going to share a couple of the things that have really helped me. This one wasn't especially easy for me because I LOVE good quality food and ingredients, so I had to keep reminding myself that the pennies I saved here each week would turn into pounds for our trip! This helped me to become willing to make some sacrifices.
Shop in a cheaper supermarket for most of your groceries.We now shop in Tescos for most things, although we do get a veg box elsewhere, and if it is a special occasion I will get a treat from Waitrose.
Set a budget before you go to the shop. Our total budget for food and household shopping each week is £50. This includes food, cleaning products, toiletries and pet food, it doesn't include our veg box which is an extra £10 and worth every penny (health is also important to me!). However when I actually visit the supermarket I aim to do my shopping with £30. This leaves £20 for any little extras we might need to pick up during the week. And if we don't spend it all, well happy days!
Put the actual cash that you intend to spend into your wallet, add up your groceries in your head as you pick them up in the store. Next ask the checkout girl to stop when the total reaches your allocated amount (just in case you miscalculated). This means you will NEVER spend more than you intend, and it is surprising how quickly you will learn to add up your groceries accurately.
Use a list. This means you will know exactly what you need to buy and won't end up buying lots of extra stuff that you don't really need!
Look out for discounts and deals in store and take advantage of BOGOFs (Buy One Get One Free) You can save A LOT of money this way, provided that you don't get distracted by the offers and end up spending money on things you don't need. For BOGOFs make sure that you don't buy perishable goods that will just go off. Instead go for tinned or dried goods or household products that you need (such as washing up liquid).
Use store rewards cards. We are currently collecting Tesco points which we have linked to our Avios account. Avios points can be exchanged for flights or ferry crossings. Most reward cards will help you save money off your groceries, and it all helps!
Doing all of these things has actually encouraged me to cook more, and now we hardly ever waste anything. EVERYTHING gets used. I have really got into this and I am enjoying it. I get a buzz from seeing that we use everything and feed ourselves well, whilst still sticking to budget. Did you know that our grandparents had healthier diets during the war than the average one of us has today!
3. Check You Have The Best Deal On Your Household Bills
People can save HUNDREDS of pounds each year by shopping around. This guide is helpful.
4. Stop Drinking Alcohol
This may seem a little radical to some people, however it was a biggie for me and has helped me no end with making my travel dreams a reality. I am sure that if I had been still drinking alcohol, that this would have taken much longer to do.
Firstly alcohol is expensive. I was spending about £40 per week on a night out to the pub before. This is over £2000 per year! However it is not just the money. Since stopping drinking my energy levels have shot up, which has helped me to be creative and productive. My partner and I have come up with ideas for making money that we might never have had if our brain's had still been clouded by alcohol. And all that spare energy goes on extra work to earn extra money. No more wasted days spent feeling hungover and lethargic.
If you don't drink much this might not apply to you, however it has been a biggie for me. It was quite a turnaround too because I used to drink a lot. I cannot tell you how much happier and healthier I am now that I don't.
IF I still want the odd glass of wine I will have it, however these days I just don't want it!
5. Sell Your Car To Fund Your Trip
As I was working with our budgets I came to realise that the biggest expense we had, aside from rent on the house, was our cars. We had two and with the tax, MOT, servicing and other expenses they took up a big portion of our income.
At first when we started to look at the possibility of having 1 car it seemed impossible. We both work in different places, and I teach community classes at several different venues. Also we live in a small village with poor public transport options. However when we really looked into it we saw that there was some crossover in schedules that we could work with. My partner works as a Chef and one of his jobs is in our village, so when he was there he didn't need the car.
We thought outside the box and I asked my parents, who live nearby, to add me to the insurance on their car - just in case I couldn't get to work one day, I could borrow their car. We also got a pushbike. However so far we haven't needed either of these options. In the end it was important just to take the plunge. Now we do have to be a lot more organised, and communicate about our schedules, however we are sharing one car and it is saving us around £2500 - £3000 per year! So it is well worth doing. And if I ever feel like complaining I remember the savings we are making!
6. Change Your Living Arrangements And Save Money For Vacation
Again for us this was a tricky one. Being a little older now (33 and 38 years old) moving home with our parents probably wasn't going to be an option. Plus we have a dog. However we were spending about £1000 of our income on rent and household bills. This accounted for around 75% of our total income. Just writing it nearly makes me choke.
So I was determined that if we wanted this to happen quickly we needed another option. For us our dream was to travel around Europe in a motorhome. This was we could take the dog, go at out own pace and we would never have to worry about accommodation. The downside is we had to buy the motorhome first. Initially we began saving whilst still renting a house, and I quickly realized that it would take forever doing it this way. The ideal situation would be to buy the motorhome on credit (which normally I would NEVER do now, have pulled myself up out of debt) and live in it, paying it off until we were ready to go. The problem was we are both self employed and couldn't get finance.
We struggled with this for several months, exploring different options, however every which was we turned the interest rates were astronomical! In the end we were going to go for an expensive Guarantor loan, however when a family member realised how committed we were, they stepped in to lend us the money. Adding that to what we had already saved and we were able to buy our lovely motorhome! We will now pay off what we owe before we head off traveling.
I am not saying everyone should do it this way. If you are planning to backpack perhaps moving home for a few months IS an option for you. It will save you a packet. If not you could become a lodger in someone else's house for a few months instead of renting a whole house. This will save you a small fortune. Or you could look at housesharing with some friends. Most situations are do-able when they are short term and you know they are for a reason (saving the money to travel).
7. Live Frugally
This extends to more than just watching your budget! Before I started this I didn't fully understand (or want to understand) what living frugally meant. We live in a society of plenty (lucky us!) and so we are not used to living frugally. If I am honest this whole concept used to scare me a little. Now, it excites me!
Living frugally applies to EVERYTHING you do each day. From the toilet paper you use to the clothes you buy or don't buy. Yes I really did mention the toilet paper you use! And the shower gel or soap. Think about it, everything you use will need to be replaced. And that will cost you money. So use less of it and you will spend less! Simple. And while we are talking about shower gel, we have made the switch to bar soap. It's MUCH cheaper and yes ladies, my skin is still soft! Also try to stop wasting things. As I brought my attention to this area of my life I felt shocked about just how much we do waste. Yes it can take a little more time to live this way, and it is so worth it. Perhaps slowing down a little bit can actually save us money!
So living frugally is a concept you can apply to your whole life. This is a concept I am coming to understand more as we go through the process of getting rid of all our excess stuff, ready to move into the motorhome. This is showing me just how little we really need. And I am feeling lighter with each item we get rid of. I only keep the things that I use all the time or that make me feel really good and happy! these things add value to my life. Other stuff is just stuff and can go.
8. Cut Out Unnecessary Luxuries
Similar to living frugally and I just wanted to mention this as I found that it's surprising what you can do without and still be happy. For example I used to have my hair colored, always had since I was a teenager. I was convinced that my natural color wasn't appealing. However when I realised that my hairdressing bill was around £800 a year I decided that maybe I could try without coloring. And guess what, my natural hair color is actually lovely.
I am going to be honest there was a period of sadness for me around letting go of this luxury. Until recently I had thought of it as an essential! However as I let myself come round to the idea and let go of the need to color my hair it was liberating. And I now love my natural hair.
What will you let go of? What will take you outside of your comfort zone?
Fund Your Trip By Increasing Income
There are SO many ways to do this and you will need to find ways that suit you. Here are a few ideas to get you started. I am also going to share ways that I have tried, which for me personally were a waste of time, so that you can avoid them, although ultimately you will need to make your own mind up!
Take On An Extra Job
The easiest way to increase your income is to take on an extra job / jobs. Find extra work. Although this will depend on your current circumstances, most people can find something extra to do, even if it is not really glamorous or fun (although it can be!).
Examples of extra work I have taken on while we are saving to travel are bar work (I took on some shifts in the pub next door and ALL that money goes to out travel fund. Cleaning work - ask around your neighbours or put a notice in your local shop. In a similar vein I offer an ironing service. Writing online - I write articles and people pay me for them. OK so not everyone can write, and there are hundreds of different part time online jobs available. You can find out more HERE.
These are just some ideas. There are hundreds more and what you do will depend on your skills. EVERYONE can do something. Why not get a pen and paper and brainstorm it now!
Find A Skill And Sell It
You may not think you have skill to sell. So I ask you, can you:
- cut the grass
- cook a meal
- bake a cake
- iron a shirt
- walk a dog
- write a book...
You get the idea. Make a list of your skills and then think of someone who could benefit from that service. Contact them DIRECTLY! Scary but effective. You may not get a yes with the first people you speak to. That's OK, just keep on asking and keep letting people know you are available. You will get something sooner or later.
Sell Your Excess Stuff Before You Travel Or Take Vacation
Do you really need all that stuff? I bet you don't! Why not turn some of it into cash? We have been doing this and with each sale I feel lighter and we are less cluttered. And I have yet to miss anything we have sold. So far we have earned around £900 this way. It is surprising what people will buy.
We have sold stuff at bootsales, on Facebook groups, on Gumtree and to people we know!
Earn Money Online
There are literally thousands of ways you can do this, and I have tried many of them. Here is a list of some and then what I really think of them:
- Online writing for content platforms such as Hub Pages
- Get paid to write articles for companies (try Elance and odesk)
- Become an affiliate marketer
- Take online surveys
- Get paid to search the net
- Creating and monitize your own websites and blogs
OK so you can only really write articles for companies and get paid for it if your writing skills and English are pretty good. Otherwise it might be better to choose something else. If you are a reasonable writer and you want to pursue this I suggest using Elance or odesk to find work as these are reputable online companies and you are less likely to be scammed.
However MOST people can write for platforms such as hubpages and earn some money. As long as you have something unique, interesting or useful to share and you are willing to create original content (ie all your own and not copied from anywhere) you can do this. You may need to be willing to spell check your work if you know your spelling isn't great or ask a friend to proofread before publishing if your writing and English aren't good. My fiancé is a Chef. He is also dyslexic and hated writing. That was BEFORE he discovered Hub Pages. He now has several very successful hubs published which are ranking in Google and starting to earn some money. He shares his recipes HERE.
In my opinion becoming an affiliate marketer is not that easy. Some people will have you believe it is, and that isn't my experience. I am not ruling it out, however there is A LOT to learn here and the internet is forever changing. However it CAN be a good long term option if you are willing to learn the ropes and the stuff you create can earn money into the future without you having to do much to it. If you are really interested in pursuing this path steer clear of promises that seem too good to be true or you will end up spending more that you make (remember these people are VERY GOOD at selling things). A good starting point is with a lady called 'Potpiegirl'. Look her up.
Taking online surveys and getting paid to search the net. These options may suit some people and in my opinion they are a waste of time and it's not worth the effort. You spend a lot of time filling out questions and then often get ruled out of the survey because you don't fit the criteria. The same with the paid to search the net option. It sounds good and actually it was just a drain on my time. It didn't earn enough money to justify the time spent. Plus the search bar download clogged up my whole system and made everything go really slow (and it was a b8gger to get it off!).
Creating and monitizing your own websites and blogs. In my opinion the most fun and rewarding option, although again definitely a long term project with a lot of learning involved. It may take a while to get anything that actually earns anything, however I love creating sites and writing on my blogs now!
Find New Customers
If you run a business there are two ways to make more money. Sell more to the customers you have or find new customers. You can also increase your prices if it is appropriate to do so. Selling more to existing customers is a good option because they already know (and hopefully trust) you. Get your thinking cap on - what additional product or service would your customers want?
OR you can find new customers. This will involve getting out there and letting people know what you do. I used to spend a lot of money on advertising and now I prefer free or cheap ways to promote myself. Obviously it depends on the type of business you have. I ask local shops to carry posters for me (which I design and print myself) I do showcase classes at local events and I am always telling people about my services. Even getting one extra customer to one of my fitness classes can increase my income by about £5 per week, EVERY week. It doesn't sound much but it all adds up. And if I pick up a PT client that can be an extra £25 - £30 per week.
Ask For A Payrise
In the same vein as getting more customers, this is about making the most of what you already have / do. If you are doing a good job at work this will make it a lot easier to ask the question. You can list all the things you do and the benefits you bring to the company / establishment. If you don't do a good job maybe now is the time to start! How can you help your company? How can you contribute? How can you solve a problem for them?
Make yourself indispensable.
Having said this it's confession time as I have not yet had the balls to ask my boss for a payrise! I will do though... I will...
Save Your Pennies
OK so this is really less about increasing your income and more about stretching it, and it's still useful I think. Before I used to save my pennies they just used to kind of disappear into all the rest of my money. However now we just pop our spare change and pennies into a pot. When it gets full we change it up and add it to our travel fund. It averages a couple of hundred quid every 4 or 5 months.