Backpacking for beginners #2 – Saving money for that bad ass trip
A lot of people ask me how I can afford to travel that often. No, I’ve never won the lottery. No, I don’t have an amazing bank balance like Bill Gates. No, there isn’t a rich sugar daddy and I’ve never inherited a great amount of money from an unknown relative. Life is not always like in the movies. Money is one of the main reasons why people don’t go and travel the world. Do you want to make that bad ass trip, but you think it’s really difficult to save up the money? In this First Aid For Backpacking I share some tips so you can make that trip!
It’s sounds a bit dull, but make a balance sheet. What are the incomes and expenses each month? Are there opportunities to save? Are there things you maybe don’t really need? You wouldn’t be the first person that realizes after a year that you’re paying for something you no longer use. If you’ve made the balance you will know how much money is available for saving each month. Most important part: keep your goald (that really cool trip) in mind!
1. Put your money in a piggybank
I try to put a small amount of money in a piggy bank. It’s money I don’t really miss, but at the end of the year it’s a nice treat. Even with only a few euros a week you have bought a nice plane ticket.
2. The 52-week challenge
This challenge is really simple. In week 1 you put 1 dollar/euro in a piggybank or on your saving account, in week 2 you put 2 dollars/euros, and so on. After a year, in week 52, you have saved 1378 dollars/euros! You can also change the challenge and start with 52 dollars/euros in the first week, 51 in the second week and so on.
3. Online saving programs
It’s not like winning the lottery, but every dollar or euro counts, right? With the online saving programs I use I save like 30 euros a year. I open some emails and occasionally I fill in a survey. It’s not much, but so wasn’t my flight to from Holland to Venice and back (yes, it really was 30 euros!). There are a lot of online saving programs. I use some Dutch websites, because it’s easier to get the money on my bank account than on PayPal.
4. No more weekly pub visits
Example: you spend 25 dollars during a night of dancing and drinking. That’s 100 dollars per month. Try to reduce those visits to the pub as much as possible. Instead of going out every week, try going only two times per month going out. You will easily save 50 dollars in one month. You can buy a lot more beers and cocktails with that saved money for sure in Thailand or Guatemala!
5. A lot less visits to restaurants
No more weekly dinners at restaurants with friends. Cooking a meal together at home can also be a lot of fun. I don’t really like to cook, but if even I can prepare a taco, some pasta or sushi you can do it as well. If the weather is good, you can also eat your lunch in the park, on the beach or in a nature park.
6. Cashback programs
With cashback programs you will get back a small amount of money that you’ve spent online. Usually it’s 5-10% of the money you’ve spent. But every little bit helps, right? Find some cashback programs you like and that are easy to use. When I want to buy something online I always check if these cashback websites make it possible to get some cash back.
7. Enjoy the sale
Do you need some travel gear? Try to buy it on sale! Are you an addict of snow and wintersport? A lot of stuff gets a discount around april, while you can buy a lot of backpackers gear with some discounts in autumn.
8. No more full closets with useless stuff
15-year-old Jessica LOVED to shop and wander through the city, looking for some new shoes or clothes. But did I actually need those things? No, most of the times I didn’t. Nowadays I ask myself the following questions:
– Can I exchange this new thing for something old? For example, if I’m throwing away an old pair of sneakers I can treat myself on some new ones.
– Do I really need it? When you’re traveling you realize how little things you actually need to live a good life.
– How much do I like it? I was an impulsive shopper, but not anymore. If I like something I put it on my wishlist. If I’m still excited about it after a while I will eventually buy it.
9. Sport smart
If you want to go to the gym you will pay at least 15 dollars per month. If you exercise regularly, it’s a good investment. But there are also plenty of free ways to stay in shape. I follow online yoga classes, the YouTube channel of Adrience is for example really nice. You can also check out the neighbourhood while hiking or running. Even climbing some stairs is good for your body and condition. Also cleaning your house is in my opinion one of the best ways to stay in shape at home.
10. DIY travel decoration
Travelers like travel decoration, right? So why wouldn’t you make it yourself? Coasters, wall decorations, lamps: there are a lot of cool things you can make! Pinterest is your biggest friends here. Just search for some ‘Travel DIY Decoration’ and you will get hundreds of examples, including a guide to make these decoration. Do you have a friends with wanderlust and not a lot of money to buy a present? Just make a travel present! Budget friendly and your friend will probably appreciate the time and afford you put into the present.