This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure.
We get asked by many people, “How have you saved enough money to travel the world for one year?” – well, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s also not impossible. It takes some planning, determination and even some creativity – and once you incorporate some money saving tricks in your lifestyle it will be hard to get rid of them. Here follows a list of the most important tips to save money in our opinion. These are obviously based on our experience and you might need to adapt them to your own situation.
Ready? Here we go!
TRACK YOUR EXPENSES – Among all these tips this is the most important one: understanding where you spend the most money and reduce those expenses if you can. Start with small savings working your way up to big numbers. You don`t have to cut out everything expensive though – do you like going to a particular gym with an awesome community? Then don’t leave it to save money, find other expenses to cut.
Insider tip - An Excel spreadsheet is the best way to keep track of expenses and will do the math for you. Some banks let you export your transactions into an excel sheet so you only have to categorize them.
BUY ONLY IF NECESSARY – a.k.a. cut all extra fluffy expenses and don’t impulse buy! You will thank yourself when packing for your big trip and you won`t have to give away all those dresses you wore once at a party. This doesn’t mean not to buy anything ever again, just be conscious of your spending. Check out spending more on long-lasting equipment.
Insider tip – Avoiding big shopping malls helps immensely. Buying on sale is also helping – again, be conscious of the pricing before the sale and ask yourself “do I really need this?”
Insider tip 2 - Use the “Rule of Three”: if you already own 3 items for the same purpose, you won’t ever need a fourth! (three t-shirts, three pants, three undies, three pair of shoes…) For some items even one or two is enough (one toothbrush, one jacket, one hat, one pair of sunglasses…).
SPEND MORE ON LONG-LASTING EQUIPMENT – “The more you spend, the less you spend” (Italian common saying) has always been accurate to me – for example: invest in a good long-lasting weather-proof jacket for your hiking, no matter how expensive. In the long term you will have spent less money then buying one mediocre jacket each year and you will have been much more comfortable and dry during your hikes. Forget about fashion trends – they don’t last, but a good jacket does!
Insider tip – Here are some items which are worth some spending to save money in the long term:
- Umbrella – our pick (light, compact, stormproof): Blunt Umbrella
- Backback – our pick (amazing suspension harness, lifetime guaranteed): Osprey
- Jacket – our pick (extremely light, ideal for any season, city or mountain): Icebreaker Merino Jacket
RENTING – If you`re preparing for a long trip or want to live abroad for a while, buying a house might not be the smartest move – renting is the way to go, already furnished is even better (otherwise second hand stores offer great furniture at cheap price). For a transition period you can also consider living with mum and dad or sharing with friends.
Insider tip – Renting can become expensive though when your apartment is way too big for your needs or in a fancy neighborhood – consider all variables when choosing the right one for you. And as much as you can, try to stay close to work, supermarkets and gym – choose a vehicle-free life: walking to commute will reduce stress and improve your mood daily!
COOK YOUR OWN MEALS – Eating out everyday for lunch? Ordering take-away every other day? These habits might make your life easier but not cheaper. Choose only one day per week to go out for lunch/dinner and stick to it, rediscovering how much fun and healthier home-made cooking is. You don`t need to be MasterChef to cook delicious meals for yourself. If it doesn’t happen naturally, then plan it – decide what to eat each day (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner), make a list of the ingredients you need and make time everyday (after work, gym, in the morning…) to cook. Practice makes better and faster!
Insider tip – Get creative! Use food left-overs from dinner in your lunch the next day – with a different sauce or spice it will seem a different meal. Freeze those uneaten pizza or soup and eat it the next week – the flavor does not go away.
STAY LOCAL – Stay local for short or weekend trips. Too many times we try to squeeze a 6-day trip into a long weekend, spending long hours in our car or on a bus to reach the planned destination, very often in the traffic because everyone’s on holiday. Too often we forget how beautiful is our backyard – take a map and pin all locations in a 2-hour-drive radius you want to visit. Pencil in dates for each trip in your calendar and make them happen!
Insider tip – Join a Meetup group or organize trips with friends – You can share the costs for petrol, accommodation, food… and it will be much more fun!
Insider tip - Some of the best outings ever are the unexpected ones – organize a walk in the forest and end up playing disc-golf with your friends: what about this one? =)
CAMPING – Are you still sleeping in hostels to save some money? Buy (or borrow) a tent, an inflatable mattress and a sleeping bag and GET OUT THERE. You will love it in no time, the amazing sensation of waking up to bird songs and surrounded in nature, and your wallet will love it too. Sometimes it`s even for free =)
Insider tip – Camping is for everyone if you are well prepared. See MORE TIPS here.