I went on my first backpacking trip with my friends when I was 21. We travelled through Singapore, Malaysia with a short trip to Phuket, Thailand for four weeks. I was just a uni student with a retail job. No rich Granny or Sugar Daddy (I did live at home at the time). It was one of my most memorable trips to date!
Now, that I’m closer to 30 (Shhh!), I still utilise some of my old savings tricks for my next adventure (Yes, I’m always planning a trip; it’s pretty much the same breathing to me – ESSENTIAL!) I might have regular job with a regular salary these days but I still enjoy using these shortcuts from my good old uni days. I’m not ridiculously stingy and I certainly don’t let my saving goals impact on other people’s fun. Rob and I even consider it to be a bit of a ‘sport’.
Keep reading, and have a look at some of our simple money-saving ideas:
- Live at home with your family – if you’re lucky, they’ll charge you a bare minimum rent, or none at all.
- Sharehouse with housemates – splitting rent and bills relieves some of your financial pressures; allowing you to put more away for your trip. This also goes for those of you with a mortgage, get a roomie! (Just remember to set some realistic house rules)
- (A little bit) fancy – Do you need a three-bedroom house when you rent alone? Do you need a pool that you never swim in? It could be the difference between a few thousand dollars in your pocket than facilities that look impressive but you never use.
- If you’re Australian, chances are, you have your own car. How often do you actually drive it? Don’t forget to also factor in fuel, insurance, registration and servicing!
- Could you share a car with someone in your household? Again, sharing the costs means more money for your trip! Think about car pooling with your housemate, or a work colleague.
- You could also check out companies such as Uber (an app-based transportation network) and Car2Go (point-to-point rentals) for transportation based on request
- The dreaded public transport system – buy multi-trip tickets, or get an electronic pass (if your city has it) with autopay where you can get discounts for automatically transferring straight from your bank account when your balance hits a low
- Walk, cycle or skate to work or school – it’ll double as free exercise!
- Find cheap (or free) parking even if you have to walk a little further – use local knowledge or an app
FOOD AND GROCERIES:
- This is really obvious but COOK all your own meals! Believe it or not, I have friends who eat all three of their daily meals almost every day of the week. Convenient yes, but your savings goes down and your waist size go up!
- Make your lunch, and bring it to work. Say you spend $10 per lunch x 5 days per week, that’s $50 extra in your pocket per week (or $2600 more per year!) Who doesn’t love maths like that?
- If you tend to forget your lunch, put an extra meal in the work freezer, or hit up a nearby supermarket instead of the trendy cafe next door, where you could spend $15 on one meal or $15 worth of ingredients that could be spread over 2-3 meals
- Grab some of your friends, buy bulk at CostCo or Cash ‘n Carry – split the membership fees and divide up the groceries. I’d stick with non-perishables like toilet paper, canned goods, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene, dried pasta and such. Fresh fruit and veg might not work so well, unless you are Popeye or have 10 growing children! (Otherwise, stick to the hardy things like carrot, beetroot, apple, potato, etc)
- Pay attention to catalogue specials, and coupons on the back of receipts or in the newspaper for 2-for-1 deals – Buy it if you will actually eat it. If you hate tuna, it’s not a good deal to buy 10 cans just because it was ‘on special’!
- Check out the supermarket’s ‘clearance’ section where close to expiry (and damaged packing) items go to be discounted. Again, stick to the hardy fruit and veg, and don’t stress about dented cans of corn – I’m sure your stomach won’t mind!
- Also note, I’m pretty sure your stomach also won’t know the difference between no-name branded things like dried pasta, sugar, flour and such.
- Limit fancy dinners to special occasions, or better yet, take turns hosting dinners with your friends. If your friends are anything like mine, their culinary talents are way better than some of your local restaurants. Nothing like a home cooked meal made with love ❤
- Check out the eateries that do ‘pay what you can afford’ – you can control your spending better when you have a fixed amount in mind. Often these types of places run by volunteers or charitable organisations, so don’t be a complete stinge. Give credit where credit is due.
- Limit food wastage. Before you do your grocery shopping, actually check what’s inside your refrigerator and pantry cupboards. Use your leftovers in fried rice, stew, and frittata. Check out apps like Big Oven, where you can input your leftovers and it’ll find recipes to use them all up!
- Invest in a decent water bottle. By not buying plastic bottled water, you save money and the environment
- Drinking: cut down your coffee and alcohol purchases. Stand down coffee addicts – Don’t look at me with such disdain! Remember your original goal – If you consume 2 cups at $5 each over 5 working days, that’s $50. Drink your coffee before you come to work, or BYO your little Nespresso capsule.
- Wear things that are classic and suit your body – don’t buy into every trend every season
- Accessories are cheaper than buying a whole new outfit
- See something at a high-end place, take a walk. Will you still want it in two hours time? Check out discount department stores; they’ll probably have the same thing
- If you’ve got the time and the patience, go to the op shop (or thrift shop)
- Need a repair? Hem your own pants, replace your zips and thread on a new button. Seriously, do it yourself. Or be nice to your Mum and she might do it for you. YouTube is your friend.
- Going on a cold weather holiday? Check out the clearance racks at travel clothing stores like Northface, Mountain Designs, Patagonia, etc at the end of the season.Oh and since you’re reading Bag Most Travelled online, shop around online – there can massive savings between different retailers (Remember to factor in shipping costs!). Alternatively, buy seasonal clothing at your holiday destination.
- Invest in decent thermal underclothing (such as Icebreaker). Nothing like being too stingy in -20°C.
- Go digital – Amazon Kindle books or eBooks are cheaper than hard copies. You don’t even need a Kindle, just download the app to your phone, tablet or PC here.
- Google ‘free (insert item here)’ – you’ll be surprised what you find. Check out Gumtree, Craigslist or TradeMe. Just today, I saw a free dishwasher!
- Watch DVDS with friends. Or support your local outdoor cinemas where the proceeds go to charity. Again look for 2-for-1 deals!
- Play your Xbox – or consolidate all your gaming consoles and sell
- Hangman, and Naughts and Crosses is actually fun!
- Check out opshops (or thrift shops) for boardgames. Or raid your family home. Or download Cards Against Humanity for FREE! Click here.
- Do you need a landline phone? Check that you’ve got the best deal for your situation
- What about your mobile phone (cell phone)? Have you got the best deal? Is your contract giving you exactly what you want? Don’t forget about the prepaid (or pay as you go) services.
- Scan for free WIFI when you’re out. I’m looking at you, AppleStore! 🙂
- Do you have a gym membership? Do you use it? If not, CANCEL IT!
- Walking, running and hiking are free! So, is swimming at the beach!
- Many parks and playgrounds have body weight equipment that you can use for free
- Get off the bus or train a few stops earlier, and walk to the rest of the way. Exercise and potentially paying one zone less in fares
- Use the stairs whenever you get the chance!
- Use sacks of potatoes (or a friend) for weight training
- If I want to buy something, I leave the shop and go for a walk. I ask myself, do I really NEED (not want) it? List three occasions you will use said item. If after a few hours or days, you’re still pining over it. Buy it.
- Again, if said item is not an emergency, wait for it to go on sale
- Don’t touch your credit card unless you’re paying it off!
- Sign up for newsletter deals for flights and hotels
- Unsubscribe newsletters that have nothing to do with your goal. This helps unnecessary online shopping
- Some shops charge for carry bags, bring your own
- Minimise your truffle eating!
There are endless amounts of ideas for saving money. Get creative and really look into your expenses without doing anything too dodgy and breaking the law. Have you any ideas that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you.
Bag Most Travelled 🙂
DISCLAIMER: I advocate for saving money on luxuries (caviar, anyone?) to achieve travel (or other life) goals, but not at the compromise of personal safety. Always use caution.