There are plenty of posts similar to this out there on the interwebs, just about every travel blogger has a post dedicated to the best tips and tricks of how to save money for travel.
I'm not going to lie, the way I have saved for travel is nothing new.
Here's my tips and tricks as to how I have saved enough money to travel for an entire year on a NZD $50 a day budget (you do the math!). While I've been saving I've also managed to fund a 10-day road-trip around New Zealand's South Island and a two week holiday in Costa Rica. For the record, I have a fairly entry-level marketing position i.e. I am certainly not raking in the big bucks.
1. I stopped spending money on unnecessary items. Yup, super basic. I stopped buying new clothes, new makeup, buying my lunch, basically anything that wasn't essential I have completely cut back on. I work in a department store, so this hasn't been easy! However, over the course of the year so far I'm surprised that I no longer feel any desire to buy anything new whatsoever. While I am now totally unfashionable and have no idea what the latest trends are, I'm pleased to not actually care at all which is a very freeing feeling!
2. Kind of an extension of #1, I started relating any spending to what I could buy when I was travelling with that amount of money. For example, why would I spend $4 on a coffee, when I could buy 10 pad thais on Bangkok's Khao San Road for the same amount? It really starts to put the expense of things into perspective. Why buy a $6 sandwich from the bakery when that could pay for an entire nights (or even two!) accommodation in Laos?
3. Selling all of our belongings. We (Alan, if I'm going to be honest) have been selling our belongings on TradeMe for weeks now (for non-New Zealand readers, TradeMe is NZ's equivalent of eBay). I'm honestly surprised as to how much we have been able to sell! Even if only for a few dollars, when you are thinking on terms like Tip #2, just a few more bucks can add an extra day or more to your trip! Xbox and games, Nintendo and games, random toys, old clothes, a box of timezone tickets (!?) all sold for a profit on TradeMe. We are also selling our "big" stuff (washing machine, fridge, etc), and are in the process of selling our cars. We plan to leave barely anything behind - which is a thought that I am very scared and nervous about but also extremely excited about the freedom that will come with it!
4. I made a budget and stuck to it. I planned out exactly where every dollar from my pay check would go each week (rent, supermarket, gym, petrol, power) and how much I could expect to save each week. Usually some sort of unexpected expense would arise however it definitely worked to give me a good gauge go where my money was going, and it definitely stopped any frivolous spending pretty quickly! I definitely think that the closer you are to your money makes you want to continue to keep it close and not spend it.
5. I got used to instant coffee instead of fancy, cafe coffee. In my office we have a morning tea break together each day, and I was stuck in the bad habit of buying a coffee as we sat in the cafe for our daily catch ups. Thats $4 per coffee, 5 days a week, every single week. It sure adds up! I simply brought a reusable takeaway cup from home and started making my own coffee in the staffroom instead (coffee = free). Yup, I'm the awkward person who brings their own coffee to a cafe and sits there with my muesli bar, but as long as I'm saving money I don't mind if I look silly!
With about six weeks to go before we head off, we still have plenty more belongings to sell, a few more pay cheques to bank and a few more lunches to pack from home for work, we are on the homeward straight now!
What are your top tips for saving money?