By Jade Johnston
How To Save Money For Travel
If you have managed to find your way to this website, then I can probably safely assume that you highly value travel. You are probably the type of person who enjoys long term travel, and who periodically has to go through periods of working and saving as much money as possible. Which is not always that easy.
Stephanie from 20 something travel wrote a great post last week about how she saved 20K in two years, and the general theme of saving for travel is just as common on travel blogs as actual travel tips. And yet, many people still struggling with this and many are dumbfounded that I have been able to travel almost non-stop for 6 years now.
So I decided to share one of my money saving secrets with you all
In Stephanie’s article she has a section on cutting back your spending. But as everyone knows, that’s easier said than done. So I thought I would go into more detail about how I cut back on my spending. And how I am able to make the decisions on where to cut back. Everyone’s priorities are different, and what I cut back on to save money is going to be different than what you do. But with this handy exercise you should be able to figure out a new money saving strategy that is perfectly suited to you.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
I learned this trick in one of my environmental science courses in University. We were asked to review our spending over the course of a week, and categorize everything as either “good”, “bad”, or “ugly” based on their environmental impact. For me, buying something in non-recyclable packaging would go into the “ugly” category, because recycling is something that I value highly.
So why not extrapolate this idea to help you save money for travel? (or for anything)
Step 1: Download a bank statement from the last month
Step 2: Construct an excel spreadsheet with four columns; one for the description of the item, and one column each for the good, bad, and ugly categories. (I have constructed an example here – please feel free to copy it for your own use!)
Step 3: Start sorting out your purchases into these categories based on your own personal values and priorities. Maybe the house party with friends where you only spent $20 on some drinks to bring over will go into the good category because socializing is important to you and you managed to do it without spending excessively…. but that night out at the club where you spend $150 might go into the ugly category.
Step 4: Add up how much you spend in each category
Step 5: Analyze your findings. How can you take the things from the “ugly” category and change them so that they go into a better category? Do you spend heaps of money buying lunch at work, when you could instead bring a prepared lunch? How much money would these changes save you?
Step 6: Make resolutions! Maybe you spend too much money going out and partying… so make a resolution to go out less, or to go to venues that cost less money (like a friends house). This way you can still keep the thing that you value (having a social life), but hopefully save some money at the same time.
Step 7: Start a new spreadsheet for the next months spending. As you progress, you can track how well your resolutions are doing to save you money. Maybe you will find other areas where you can cut back on unnecessary spending.
Step 8: Watch your savings grow, and start dreaming about your ultimate travel destination!