We all know how it starts…
You’re sitting at your desk on Monday morning. It’s pissing down outside and all you want to do is go home again. It’s 8:59am and you’re already wishing it was Friday. You grab your phone in defiance and start scrolling through Instagram. Selfie after selfie after food shot after selfie – and then – you stop dead.
A Bangkok street food stall has caught your eye. Mesmerised by the array of colours, you’re transported from your dull, dreary office, to the streets of Thailand. You can almost smell the Khao gang and hear the hum of passers-by. Your mouth starts to water. You crave an escape.
But, the cruel reality of it is; your escape is going to cost you money. To get that money is going to take some time. Saving money for your dream trip can be pretty tough but, I promise you, it’s a massively rewarding task.
I wanted to share with you all how I plan to save £10,000 for travel. Yeah, it may sound like a lot of money to some; not enough to others, but it’s all relative to what YOU want to do, where you want to go and how long you want to be gone for.
I’ve put some of these points into action already and plan to do the rest as I go along. I hope that, with these tips and a little bit of hard work and focus on your part, I’ll inspire you to do the same.
Here’s how I plan to save £10,000 for travel.
Review My Monthly Outgoings
I’ve noted down all of my monthly outgoings in a list from biggest at the top to smallest at the bottom. I’ve then totalled them all up.
Then, I worked out the difference between my monthly take-home salary (after tax and national insurance) and my outgoings. Looking pretty bleak, right? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
This seems like a really simple, straightforward task but it’s actually a bit of an eye-opener. You’ll probably find that you’re spending more than you realise each month on regular payments, subscriptions, and the like, but you’ll also see that total amount as a figure that needs to be reduced if you’re to be able to get some money behind you for your travels.
The moment I knew exactly what I was spending each month I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was starting to take control – not only of my finances – but of my dream; to travel the world.
This leads us nicely on to the next task on how I plan to save £10,000 for travel.
Cut Back On Unnecessary Costs
After I’d let my monthly outgoings sink in – had a stiff drink – and composed myself, it was time to get brutal.
Do I really need that £100-per-month Virgin TV subscription when Netflix is so much better – and cheaper? What about my car insurance – maybe changing providers would reduce that? Do I even use my gym membership? Actually, yeah, the gym helps to keep me sane, I need that.
Ok, so maybe you do still need most of the things on your list but the whole idea here is to evaluate every single outgoing and take some action to minimise it in some way. The changes you make could result in a saving of £100-per-month or £10-per-month. Regardless, it’s a positive step towards freeing up the funds for your plane ticket.
Get in touch with each company or provider, one-by-one, and see what they can do to help you cut the costs. If they’re adamant that there’s nothing they can do with regard to your monthly payment then don’t be afraid to ask for some freebies or offers. It’s their job to keep you sweet and it’s better to come away with more for your money than nothing at all.
I managed to shave off a total of £271-per-month by following this method and cutting back on things I simply could not justify paying so much for. Magic.
Keep reading for more on how I plan to save £10,000 for travel!
Seek Out A Decent Savings Account
I had gone through my outgoings with a fine tooth comb and reduced them to a necessary monthly minimum. Now, I needed somewhere to stick these newly-liberated pound notes.
These days, it’s rare that you’ll find an interest-free savings account with a decent enough rate. I spent hours researching various banks to find the best one only to realise that the Santander 123 Current Account offered a higher interest-free rate than anything else on the market for my needs.
Wait, what? A current account!?
Yeah, you use it as you would normally – set up a few direct debits and fund the account with at least £500-per-month – and you get:
• Monthly cashback on household bills
• Monthly interest of 3% AER variable on balances up to £20,000 (minimum of £3,000 required)
• Exclusive special offers and preferential rates on partner products
Not only that but they can switch your bank accounts for you with their Current Account Switch Guarantee. This was absolutely painless and was complete within about a week.
There is a monthly fee of £5 with this account, which comes out of your balance automatically, but this is nothing compared to the all the above. A very small price to pay given the perks on offer. Just don’t forget to factor that £5 cost back into your monthly outgoings!
Now, if you’re the kind of person who gets tempted to spend your hard-earned savings early on, I’d suggest the following:
• Save up as much as you can in your existing current account – as close to £3,000 as possible – before switching
• Then, apply to Santander for the 123 Current Account and get them to switch everything across
• You’ll immediately have the minimum required balance of £3,000 for the 3% interest (variable) when your new account opens – just keep funding it!
That way, one you’ve switched, you will instantly see the benefits of the full 3% (variable) from the end of the first calendar month. This will make you want to just keep adding to it. As long as you keep your total balance above £3,000, you will continue to see this level of return.
It’s a positive cycle of savings and rewards.
Don’t forget though, you should still be using it like a normal current account with at least two active direct debits and with regular funds coming in.
I’ve had this account for a while now and I’m so happy with it that I haven’t even bothered looking for an upgrade. Sometimes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be your best bet and, in my eyes, Santander have got it right.
Set A (Realistic) Monthly Savings Goal
This all depends on your personal circumstances and total savings goal but, whatever they may be, it can seem a lot less daunting if you break it down into smaller goals – or milestones.
For example, my total savings goal is £10,000. When I look at that figure, it fries my brain. It’s a lot of money to someone like me. The only way I can achieve that amount is if I set myself smaller milestones and build upon each one.
Here’s how I plan to save £10,000 for travel, broken down into manageable milestones:
• 1st target – £1,000
• 2nd target – £2,000
• 3rd target – £5,000
• 4th target – £7,000
• 5th target – £10,000
Personally, I think it’s always hardest when you’re first starting to save money. You’ve got to start somewhere though, right? If you take the final total out of your head and just concentrate on each milestone individually then you’ll find the process a lot easier.
So, having already reviewed my outgoings, cut back on the things I don’t need, and found a place to save my money, I’ve now got a good foundation to start putting some away from my monthly salary.
I’m an ‘all-or-nothing’ kind of saver. I like to put away as much as I can each month and watch my money grow as fast as possible so that’s what I’ll continue to do. I’ve managed to get my monthly outgoings down to under half of what I take home and will be banking the rest. This means that, as long as I can stay disciplined and motivated – come on, we’re talking travel here, of course I’ll stay motivated – then I should be able to save around £800-1000 per month.
I understand that this may not be possible for some people but I would most definitely recommend trying your best to put as much as you can away – even if it’s just for the first month. This bold, positive action will set the bar for your saving habits and, as long as you can stay motivated, you will reach your first travel savings milestone in no time.
Consider A Credit Card With Travel Perks
I’ve spent a good year or so paying off small personal loans. Nothing major; just focusing on becoming completely debt-free – ready for my adventures. At first, applying for more credit seemed a little counterproductive. This is, however, something that I’m looking into at the moment.
You see, when chosen correctly, credit cards with travel perks can actually SAVE you money in the long run.
By transferring your monthly spending to your new credit card, you can accumulate air miles pretty quickly for use on part of your trip. Some savvy travellers have racked up so many miles that its even paid for round-trip tickets that would have otherwise cost an arm and a leg!
Not only that; there are usually a number of other special offers involved with having such a card. You can expect discounts off of hotels, transfers, experiences, and much more.
All sounds great, right?
They can be, but don’t forget; they’re still credit cards and most will have annual fees. You need to ensure that you know exactly what you’re signing up for in the first place and that the balance is paid each month. The idea here is obviously not to get you in to debt but to help you achieve your travel dreams that little bit easier.
What do you look for in a travel credit card?
• Decent sign-up bonus – look for a minimum of around 30,000 sign-up points
• Low minimum spend – spend-to-points ratio should be achievable
• Easy to earn additional points – brands and shops that you use fairly regularly and that are easy to spend with
Travel credit cards can really help when it comes to having that extra edge due to the speed in which you can build your points as well as what’s on offer. Having said that, it really depends on your own personal needs. If you think you’d be better off without the extra considerations of owning a credit card then maybe they’re not for you.
However, when used effectively, they can become a pretty powerful weapon in your travel kit.
I’ll let you all know which one I went for and why in a new post soon.
Make A Money Jar Or Swear Box
Ok, so this may raise a few eyebrows but give it a go. What have you got to lose besides your street cred?
You’ll be surprised at how quickly small change can turn into pound notes. For the expressive among us, it’s going to be tough, as each swear word will now cost you £1. Just think of how proud your parents will be though, if nothing else.
Besides this, a simple money jar will stop you from buying that daily £2.50 coffee on the way to work. Five of those a week is £10. Four of those a month could mean 3-4 days of travel on a budget in Southeast Asia.
I know what I’d rather be doing. And I love coffee!
Get A Second Job
There’s always bar work, cleaning, and admin work about if you feel you can’t save enough on one salary. However, these options don’t always add up from a tax perspective. You could end up working your fingers to the bone in two jobs – maybe even three – and not really having much more to show for it.
Now, I’ve never been shy of hard graft – especially when it’s a case of saving money for my dream travel adventures – but there’s a lot to be said for work-life balance. Why work yourself into an early grave? No point saving this cash if you’re not going to be around to spend it. Yeah, work hard to achieve your dreams but have fun doing it.
Alternative option; start your own sole-trader business or do some freelancing on the side. I’ll cover this in a new post very soon so keep checking back.
Sell Your Old Gear
Here’s another chance to be merciless with your unwanted belongings.
Take a look around your room. Check your wardrobe; cupboards; draws; even the shed for those things that are simply gathering dust. The items that you once said, “Oh, I’ll keep that. Never know when I might need it” – yeah, those things (you’re smiling because you know it’s true) – and sell them online!
Sure, Ebay is always a good shout but we all know that they charge you fairly hefty fees for selling things on their site. The idea here is to MAKE money, not spend it.
I’m talking Shpock, Gumtree or the Facebook Selling Pages for your local area. They’re all completely free to list and sell your old gear, so get to it! Money Saving Expert has some solid tips on how to get going.
Just think of all the free space there’s going to be in your backpack once you’ve sold all your old clothes…
Over To You
There’s so much more you can do but this is just an example of the steps I’m taking and how I plan to save £10,000 for travel.
It may be tough at first but the rewards are going to be incredible. Your experiences will far outweigh the time it takes to bank that cash, regardless of what your own personal target may be.
Remember; memories are priceless.
What are you doing to help you save for your dream trip? Drop me a comment below and let me know.