Living life on a budget is an opportunity for growth and personal development with the added bonus of there being an awesome end goal, your big adventure!
The first place you’ll want to start, is by setting a ‘SMART’ goal which, is a great method to use in order to save for your travels.
‘SMART’ stands for; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound.
♦ Specific. The goal should state precisely what is to be accomplished.
♦ Measurable. Progress against the goal should be visible and trackable.
♦ Achievable. The goal should be reachable (based off your current savings, but, pushing a little harder)
♦ Relevant. The goal must tie into what you wish to achieve.
♦ Time Bound. The goal must have a defined time for completion.
Once you’ve set your goal you’ll be one step closer to getting on that flight and off on your adventures.
Now some pointers on how to meet your end goal.
♦ Establish your minimum living expense. When we say minimum living expenses we are referring to housing, food, water, bills and transport. Once this is established you’ll be able to see the maximum you can save per month. This can then go into a savings account or somewhere where the funds cannot be used as dispensable income.
♦ Set up automatic payments into a savings account. As most of us have automatic payments for bills you should have an automatic payment after all your bills are paid for savings. Create a specific account for travelling and transfer whatever you can afford into it after each paycheck. Ensure that this account isn’t your daily user otherwise it’ll be difficult to track your savings. TOP TIP – Do not withdraw anything from this account.
♦ Share and question all purchases. With almost everything that we purchase we discuss first. From rice and beans to equipment and clothes. Everyone can be impulsive at times and often you need someone to ask if your making a purchase out of necessity or desire, more often than not, it’ll be the latter.
♦ Not taking it? Don’t buy it. A fantastic question to ask yourself before buying something is ‘Am I going to take this travelling with me?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’ then it’ll be on your Kit List. If the answer is ‘No’ and it’s not an expendable or consumable then don’t get it! You need to be strict with yourself here – Start as you mean to go on. Sew up your old clothes and wear them until they sport holes. This is really where you save a lot – Don’t spend your hard earn’t money on junk!
♦ Eat cheap, stay heathy. What does our weekly diet consist of? It’s the foundation of a bodybuilders diet. Oats, Medium grain brown rice, kidney beans, garden peas, egg, carrots, broccoli, soy sauce, garlic and herbs. We have it boiled, 6 days a week and you’ll feel great. It’s an extremely healthy, filling meal that will literally cost you spare change. We spend approximately $25 NZD a week to feed the two of us (and the cost of food in New Zealand is high). You can save a huge amount of money by not being picky on food.
♦ Dine in, not out. Instead of going out for a meal we have a treat night once a week. We’ll spend a fifth of what we would if we were to go out for dinner and it’s much more enjoyable. On Fridays or Saturdays we’ll cook something nice together, sit on the deck outside, have a bottle of wine (or two) and chat all night long. Sometimes we’ll go down to the beach and have a BBQ or take a picnic to a nice local park. Once you do this a few times you’ll really enjoy it. We much prefer it to going to a restaurant.
♦ Buy the cheapest. Go to the cheapest supermarket and buy the cheapest rice. On your way back home fill up your car at the cheapest petrol station. You’ll save a heap if you just shop around. We’ll save about $10 per week on petrol by going to the cheapest petrol station in the area. Over a couple of months that’s an extra $100 you’ve earn’t to go into your savings pot.
♦ Don’t use it, sell it. All of us are guilty of owning many items that live in the attic, under the stairs or at the bottom of the wardrobe. Join your local Facebook ‘Buy and Sell’ page and start selling that stuff. One mans rubbish is man’s gold when it comes to this method of selling – You’ll be amazed as to what you can sell. We’ve made approximately $1000 though selling items that we could have happily thrown away. If you can’t remember the last time you used something, then sell it!
♦ Make your own entertainment. Wherever you live I can guarantee there will be something free to do in your area. Go cycling in your local woods, walk around the lakes, get away – Go camping to test out your gear, go for a hike or walk through your local county side. What do we do? We like to go to the beach, surf or body board, open cinema’s, local fetes and get away on camping weekends. There will always be events on in your area to keep you entertained, google it.
Apply the above tips to your life style and saving goals and you’ll be well underway in no time. We saved for a year, travelled New Zealand and are astonished at the outcome. Once you’re in the swing of things and you want or need to save more, here’s some advice to step it up a notch.
Stepping It Up A Notch!
♦ Sell your car. If your circumstances permit, sell your car. It’s likely your most significant outgoing and if you can live without it for a few months then you’ll be rich! Start biking whenever you can. If you need motorised transport then buy a cheaper, smaller car that won’t cost as much to run. Alternatively, if you do need a set of motorised wheels, get a scooter. In most countries, providing you’ve got a full drivers licence, you’ll be able to drive a 50cc scooter. It’s not a luxury but remember, we sometimes we need to cut out a little luxury to meet our goal.
♦ If you smoke, Stop. We know – Easier said than done! We both smoked for a while and quitting was the best choice we’ve ever made. Along with getting fit and healthy for your travels you’ll be quids in and pumping even more cash into that savings account than ever before.
♦ Stop drinking. Where would you rather have a beer, at your local or on the gold coast? Go down to the pub but don’t drink. Have a few waters instead. For argument sake, if you have 5 drinks out a week at $5 each (which is cheap), thats $25. Over a couple of months that’s $200. Drink quickly adds up and it’ll put a significant dent in your savings pot if you go out on a bender. Be the sober driver instead. All your mates will love you, you wont burn a hole in your pocket and you wont have a banging headache the following morning.
♦ Quit the Gym. We like to keep fit and we like to do so when travelling as well. Ditch that gym membership and start running outside. Do some push ups and burpees. You’ll feel much better for getting outside for your daily workout. We’ve made it easy for you’re here. Head over a take a look at our Fitness On The Move It’s quick, easy and effective!
♦ Work overtime. More overtime equals more money and more money means you’ll be able to travel longer and go further. Put in the hard yards now and you’ll reap the benefits on your travels.
Saving isn’t easy and you’ll need your own mental hook – Something which will motivate you when the times get tough and the decisions get tougher. What’s ours? We know that for every extra $20 we save we can spend an extra night in Fiji, Australia or an extra 4 in Thailand.
Know your end goal, work hard and save harder!