It’s no secret I used to be the worst with money. I would fritter money away like it was nothing, then still 3 weeks away from pay day I would living off my last £15 and running on the last drags of petrol. When Adam and I decided we were going to go travelling, I had to seriously make-over the way I was spending my money. This started with biting the bullet and selling my car, but I have also drastically changed my habits and have put together some tips to make your money stretch as far as possible (whilst still having a life).
Plan. Plan. Plan.
So this is much easier if you have a steady monthly salary, but still very important if not. Before you even get paid you need to work out exactly how much will be coming in, and exactly how much will be going out. In areas that cannot be adjusted (rent, council tax, phone bills etc.) So if you’ve got £1000 coming in and £600 immediately leaving we know we’ve got £400 to play with.
So you’re left with £400. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to transfer £380 into your savings and leave yourself a fiver a week to live off. You will fail, buy the shoes you’ve been lusting after then hate yourself for it afterwards. Try reducing rather than excluding things. If you normally buy 4 lipsticks a month, try to cut it down to 1. So for example you’ve got your £400 left and think you can realistically live from £200 a month. Whack the other half straight into a separate account. Out of sight, out of mind.
It’s not just about partying.
Obviously, a drunken night on the town is not going to be helping your wallet but I’ve found it’s not just the ‘splurges’ that damaged our balance’s. You know that £20 you take out on a Monday morning and it just seems to have disappeared by Wednesday afternoon? Be more mindful about what you’re spending. That daily Starbucks habit is probably costing you more than a night of clubbing.
Food glorious food.
Now when I lived with my mum I was a self-confessed food snob. I would not be seen dead in Lidl or Aldi and had quite the addiction to an M&S Meal deal. Now I know a fancy sandwich a week isn’t going to break the bank, but the adverts don’t actually lie. We have noticed an enormous difference in our weekly food budget by switching to a budget supermarket. Also making packed lunches rather than buying a meal day each day will save you a fortune!
Still have fun.
It’s like anything, if you tell yourself you are not going to do it – you will most definitely crack and have a blowout. So for me, it’s all about planning alternatives. So rather than a Cinema & Nando’s date night, get yourselves a DVD and some sweet treats from the supermarket, can be just as fun and half the price. Or rather than a cocktail night on the town with the girls – plan one at home. If you get each person to bring a different spirit/wine/mixer it doesn’t cost the earth and can be so much fun creating your own recipes. (Plus you can do it in the comfort of your PJ’s & slippers!)
Ditch the plastic.
Now this for me is a difficult one, but it works wonders. If you’re anything like me, nipping into Primark for a pair of socks often ends up with me coming out £50 lighter. So remember that £200 a month we mentioned earlier? Take that out in cash and leave your card at home. That way you literally cannot impulse spend because the cash isn’t on you. It can be a real shock to the system at first but once you get used to it, it will feel surprisingly normal.
So there it is, my top 7 tips for saving enough money to be able to live out the dream of travelling the world. Do you have any money saving tips?