A lot of people ask us how we managed to save enough money to support our travels which is why we decided to write this particular article. Saving isn’t easy, especially when you earn in pesos, like I did in the Philippines. Both Tom and I worked our asses off in order to save enough money before we quit our jobs. I was tutoring like crazy, normally working an average of 5 extra hours after my regular 8 hour teaching job. Tom on the other hand, juggled a job as a server while he was doing his degree in Aerospace Engineering in the UK. Yes, we of all people know that money doesn’t grow off of trees; however, if you want it enough, you can do it!
So many people think traveling is expensive, but I’ve found that you can do this quite cheaply, especially around Asia. Here are simple tips explaining ways to save for travel. It’s not rocket science and you can do it too!
1.Cut out Unnecessary Expenses
Yes. I am talking about that cup of Starbucks coffee that you HAVE to have. Or how about that new movie you NEED to see. If you are really serious on saving, you need to set your priorities straight. Believe it or not, the costs of that cup of coffee on a daily basis can add up. If you skip out on spending P150 a day on coffee, you can save up to P3,000 a month. Do the math and you can save almost $800 in a year, which to be honest, goes a long way when you live off a $15 daily budget. Buy DVD’s instead of going to the cinema, find fun but cheap things to do during the weekends instead of spending a mini fortune on one night out.
2.Save, Save, Save!
Sit down and look at your expenses and your income. Believe it or not, there is a lot of planning that goes behind backpacking. You need to plan things out efficiently, or you end up missing out on savings. Either you are a planner, or go find someone to travel with that plans (in Tom’s case, that is me!) Figure out your expenses and calculate a percentage which you can set aside every month. Open another account and have the bank automate transfers every month as soon as your salary comes in. This way, you won’t even be tempted to spend the money! I got a promotion while I was working in Boracay, and despite this, I didn’t change lifestyles. I still lived off whatever I was making and the entire portion of my salary increase went straight to my savings.
3. Avail of credit card promos
Now some of you might be wondering how a credit card will help you save. Trust me, it can. Apply for a credit card that can rack up miles whenever you use it. I only recommend this to people who are disciplined enough to pay their full amount every month. I know it is so easy to rack up a credit card bill, but, if you do it correctly, you can transfer all your monthly expenses like gas, eating out, and utility bills to earn millage. I personally have a Citibank premier miles card which I use quite often. I was able to book roundtrip tickets to Cebu and Bohol through my miles! Save it up for a bit longer and you might just find yourself a free flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Really, it’s a no brainer.
4. Set up Shop
If you’re a pack rat like me, your closet would have a so many items that you could do without. I have downsized my closet by half before I left, and to be honest, I could do with selling some more. Find a friend and set up a garage sale. You will be surprised at how refreshing it is to de-clutter. Plus, think of it as practice. After all, you can only have so many clothes in your backpack. 1 pair of jeans, 5/6 tops, 2 pairs of shorts, leggings, a bikini, a nice dress, and a hoodie (yes, the struggle is real!) Even if you don’t make a fortune, you will still be able to add some extra money into your travel fund. I did this before I left and managed to make P10,000. That $200 can go a long way. If you have a knack for business, find things that you can re-sell and make money on the side. This trip alone, Tom and I have downsized out packs and decided to take one backpack instead. We both have only 10kgs each on that backpack, making it a record for me! Sounds impossible? Trust me, it’s not!
5. Live Cheaply
My friends always laugh at how thrifty I am, but hey, I wouldn’t have been able to quit my job and just travel for a year if I wasn’t. Tom and I are actually complete opposites in this sense as he never sticks to a budget. He’s always worked hard his entire life and so he spends almost as much as he saves. To be honest, traveling has made me even stingier, because now, I equate everything to flights, boats, and train tickets. I cringe at spending a lot of money on a single meal in a restaurant only because I know that is almost a week’s worth of daily expenses somewhere in Asia. Learn how to cook at home. Not only is it healthier, it is also a whole lot cheaper. To save for this current trip we are on, Tom and I avoided eating out while in Manila and tried to find fun cheap things to do. In Ecuador, we were cooking on almost a daily basis as going to the market and eating at home was just so much cheaper. Lessen the nights out, and live on a weekly budget. If you have money left within that budget, then go ahead and splurge.
Cutting back on small things will contribute towards the bigger picture. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance and wanting it enough. Trust me, when you’re out and about seeing the world, you won’t even give a second thought towards what you missed out on back home.
Like this but don’t know if traveling is for you? Read Why Traveling Isn’t for Everyone!
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