Neither a free-loader or a cheap-skate and certainly not one to live a dull life. I’m going to give you 24 totally do-able tips to help you save money to enable you to go travelling (or for anything else you’re wanting to save money for!)
I’d been in full-time work for a few years since completing my Post Grad and after the regular monthly outgoings (rent, student loan, my car etc.) I’d put the rest away to start my little nest egg. The intention was that one day I’d be able to buy a flat or small house. Said flat or small house never happened. Instead, I decided to quit my job and invest the money I’d been saving into life experiences instead.
Yes, I did have some money behind me in the first instance because I’d been saving up for a few years. However, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain this lifestyle – I’m well into my 4th year – and have done as much travel as I’ve managed to do unless I tightened my belt and started to find ways to be more thrifty.
So here are some of the money saving things I do;
1. I stopped paying nearly £4 to drink coffee.
I used to buy so much coffee while out about; up to 4 or possibly 5 times a week. Added up, that’s huge £16 a week spent just on hot drinks! To make it even more shocking that’s a staggering £832 a year I saved!
Put that into travel terms, that would pay for a long haul flight – WITH some cash left over.
My solution now so that I still get my coffee fix AND the added bonus of it being so much better for the environment is that I have a reusable travel cup. I make my own coffee before leaving the house.
2. I stopped going to the cinema.
My local cinema charges between £12-15 a viewing, then by the time you add on popcorn, drink and so on, there’s not much change left out of £20. Mulitiply that by twice a month, then over a year, it really adds up!
OK, so on the odd occasion, when there is a must-see-amazing-effects movie that really benefits from seeing it on the big screen, I might still go to the cinema to watch it. BUT only if I can use a voucher (my car insurance offers me 2-4-1 cinema nights).
I also save money by not buying cinema snacks too. I either eat a proper dinner before I go to the cinema so I don’t snack on junk food or if I want something to nibble at I take my own food and drink with me instead of paying the extortionate prices at the venue.
3. I stopped eating out.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have dinner with my friends. Eating out is expensive and can easily mount up to £40 (or more) a time. Factor in shared starters, a couple of drinks, a main, the tip; it all adds up!
Instead, if a social meal is arranged, I now offer to cook for friends, or we cook together – hijack their kitchen and share the supermarket bill and make the food at home. It costs a fraction of what it would if we went out, plus there are always tons of leftovers.
On the odd occasion, if I do eat out, like with the cinema, it will be with a voucher or when the restaurant has an offer on.
4. I don't go out for drinks.
Drinking out, even just a ‘quick drink’ after work can be expensive; especially if it then leads on to a few. Then there’s the added expense of getting a taxi home.
For social drinks, I now tend to go over to friends’ houses. Buying a bottle of wine at the supermarket is handy way to save money, it’s way cheaper than going to a bar and drinking out. Drinking at the comfort of a friends house also saves on the taxi fare; I have the option of staying over (I’m really quite accustomed to sleeping on sofas!) and then driving myself home the next day.
5. I don't buy expensive takeaways.
The idea behind a takeaway is that they are convenient for when you don’t have time to cook a full meal. BUT in reality, I’ve had to wait up to 40minutes for a takeout meal to arrive. Not exactly time-saving and they aren’t cheap either. Twin this with the fact that most takeaways are really unhealthy.
Every so often I will cook up a massive batch of Chili/ Curry/ Lasagne/ Soup etc. and divide it into individual portions and put it in the freezer for any time what I want a quick meal. Cheap. Healthy. Fast!
So there really is no secret on how to save money on ‘fast-food’, plan in advance, cook in bulk and be kind to your health as well as your pocket!
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Fuel is really expensive and one of my biggest outgoings per month. To save money I try to lift share as much as possible. This can be arranged so that people take it in turns to drive their car (like a rota) OR you all chip in for fuel for the journey and split the cost between whoever is in the car.
It works out cheaper for everyone and it’s much more social.
7. I stopped buying new clothes.
There was a time when I would buy something new if I saw it and liked it – regardless of whether I actually needed it or not. As a consequence, my wardrobe was full of items I’d seldom wear.
So my solution to save money and keeping my wardrobe fresh-looking is that I do a lot more modifying, altering as well as repairing clothing now. There are lots of tutorials online about how to adapt clothes. Instructables is one of my favourite sites.
I’ve also picked up some absolute bargains at charity shops and even been given hand-me-down clothing that friends have been throwing out. My clothing bill now has been totally slashed!
8. I sold a ton of old stuff on eBay.
Because I was away travelling, then back in the UK, away, UK, my stuff was constantly in and out of boxes and in storage. It was actually getting frustrating having so much stuff!
So I figured it would be easier to get rid of things that I didn’t really need. I’d actually forgotten I’d had lots of things as they’ve been in storage so long; out of sight, out of mind! It was also nice to be able to make a bit of money from things that I sold too.
My best sale to date was a pair of second-hand shoes, they were ok, not my favourite shoes but I thought I’d sell them online. After all, they had been sat in the bottom of the wardrobe for a couple of years, unworn. They went for £88 on eBay! I was shocked.
9. I stopped buying the latest tech.
So this is probably the trickiest one for me – I LOVE gadgets! I’m also desperate to save money! Just because my gadgets are a few years old it doesn’t mean they NEED to be replaced. I don’t have the most up-to-date cameras, laptop or phone, but they still work absolutely fine so I don’t feel the need to splash out on new pieces of tech just yet.
Tech and gadgets aren’t cheap so by implimenting this ‘need’ over ‘want’ approach has saves me hundreds of pounds over the past few years!
10. I moved back in my parents.
Years earlier I had moved out of home, to Surrey where my work was based. After paying rent, it was quite a depressing thought that about half of my monthly income had been devoured. Rent was certainly not cheap in that area despite the fact that I was living in shared accommodation! I needed to find a way to save money.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world, moving back in with the ‘rents after having my own space and freedom for so long. It’s certainly awkward if I want to have friends over; ‘let’s go and sit in my room like when I was 15!’
BUT I know this is only a temporary situation and what makes it worthwhile is that my living costs are a fraction of what they were. This has enabled me to save so much more quickly than if I was renting a place of my own. Of course, I pay towards household costs and contribute but to the bills but it’s not nearly as much as I was paying previously, plus it’s nicer than my rent money is going to my parents rather than lining a landlords pocket
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11. When I did move out of home, I woud live with the cheapest rental price I could find.
This always meant sharing a house with other people, either with a live in landlord or other times with friends. These were always well looked after houses and a very relaxed vibe.
On a few occasions, to save money, I’ve shared with absolute strangers, some of them turned out to be total nut-cases who living standards, habits, personality and hygiene have been questionable. They have been really grim and I hated it at the time, although they did make for some brilliant stories! but knowing how much ££ I was saving by house sharing makes it worthwhile.
12. I stopped buying pointless gifts for people.
Christmas is a prime example; when you feel obliged to buy a gift for someone just because it’s the social norm. So much of what’s bought are materialistic things that people don’t really need or want anyway, so a perfect chance to save money!
Unless someone specifically asked for something, I stopped buying gifts ‘just for the sake of it’. Likewise if I was hosting a Birthday get together, for example, I’d state that I didn’t want anyone to bring gifts.
I know we have a rule in our family, a gift can only be bought if its either edible, drinkable or doable (experiences are so much nicer than materialistic things).
13. However, IF they were adamant that they wanted to buy me a gift...
I hate that question ‘what do you want for your Birthday/ Christmas?’ because, in all honesty, I don’t actually need anything. If I do need something then I buy it for myself.
So my generic answer is for money towards something I was going to buy anyway – most likely it’s travel related.
14. I don't own a TV.
When I was about 16, I threw out my television. My opinion was that most of what was on T.V was rubbish and I had so many other things going on (studies, part-time job, hanging out with friends, hobbies etc.) I never actually had time to watch it anyway.
Aside from not wasting so much time, it helps to save money. It means that I’ve never had to pay for a TV License and certainly not pay-for-TV subscriptions (Sky etc).
Occasionally there might be something I’m desperate to watch and on those seldom times, I use either my parents or a friends TV.
15. I stopped carrying cash around.
As a rule, I don’t carry cash around with me, that way I’m not tempted to splash out on little bits here and there. I keep a £10 in my phone case for emergencies and that’s it.
If I do get any loose change I keep it in a jar so I’m not tempted to spend it.
Recently the old £1 coin was taken out of circulation in the UK, so I sifted out these coins from my jar stashes, counted them up and cashed them in at the bank. With all the coins I could find in my various money jars – I had just under £130! All because I got into the habit of not carrying cash about.
16. I use low-cost supermarkets.
As far as supermarkets go, I’m a Waitrose girl through and through! I used to hate food shopping until I experienced shopping here. However, Waitrose isn’t the most pocket-friendly supermarket.
So now, to save money, I try to buy the bulk of my food from cheaper stores such as low-cost supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi. Their own branded food tastes just as good and frequently better than their more expensive counterparts. If I can’t get what I need from a low-cost supermarket, then I’ll get just the last few items from Waitrose.
Local fresh produce stalls often pop up at the weekend in busy town centres. They are fab for picking up fruit and veg, espeically in bulk. You can often get things like a huge bowl of tomatoes or apples for a couple of £1.
17. I don't buy bottled water!
For starters, the World does not need more plastic waste, but add to that, buying bottled water is also really expensive! Using a refillable bottle is another really easy way to save money.
The tap water in the UK is absolutely fine to drink – a lot of people moan about the taste; if you really don’t like the taste of tap water, then the easy solution is to add some fresh fruit to it – lemons and limes work a treat!
I know some people worry about the impurities in tap water, but this can be solved with a filter jug. Shunning the bottle is no only good for the planet, but good for your pocket too!
18. I have a side hussle.
Yes, that sometimes means I can end up working a 7 day week as well as evenings but it all counts towards money I can put towards travel.
My side hustle is teaching dance and fitness classes, both are hobbies that I can earn a little bit from and because I enjoy them it doesn’t feel like work.
You can earn up to £1000 tax free per year with a hobby-based income. Check out .gov for full details.
Think if there is anything that you can do? or a skill you have? Could you make a little bit of pocket money from anything?
19. I don't get my hair or nails done.
I used to get my hair highlighted and a regular trim or restyle every couple of months. Depending what I had done and the salon I used it would cost anywhere between £25 – £70!
I don’t bother with the highlights now at all, firstly the chemicals aren’t exactly great for your hair and now I’m away travelling so often that the sun does this for me naturally. A win-win situation to save money! I also invested in my own pair of good hair scissors and now ask friends to trim the ends for me when they are looking a bit dry and split. I have long hair which I generally keep tied up anyway, so any fancy style is wasted on me.
With regards to nails, I now do my own. It takes a little bit of practice and patience to get it neat, but this saves a wadge of cash too.
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20. I take my own lunch to work.
Rather than spend £5 each day when I’m out at work and to save money, I became more organised and took my own lunches in. Either a salad of some sort, but more frequently left-overs from the night before.
I got into the habit when I cook my evening meal, so make an extra large portion so I knew there would be enough for lunch the following day.
As well as saving up for £25 a week, generally, home cooked food is healthier too than buying a premade lunch from a shop.
21. I browse online for the cheapest flight deals
There are so many countries that I want to see, that most of the time I don’t have a preference over which one I go to.
I’ll browse the internet for the best flight deals and will generally book the destination I can get to for the lowest price airfare. It takes a bit of patience to shop around but you can save money, litterally hundreds of pounds by being flexible with travel dates, times and destinations. I also look out for top ways to save money while I’m away traveling.
Don’t forget to set your browsing device to Incognito/Secret mode when you are browsing.
22. I try to self-teach myself rather than paying a pro to do it.
Obviously, there are going to be times when you need to pay a Pro to do something. BUT for lots of problems you can work out the solution by self-teaching (like how to start a Blog!). All the information is available online through forums, websites, other blogs etc all you need is a bit of time and patience. It’s a really self-fulfilling way to save money.
I could have paid a pro to set everything up for me on my website, but it would have cost so much money and I wouldn’t have actually learnt anything. Yes it has been a steep learning curve and I’ve still got A LOT to learn. It’s taken me hours to work out how to achieve things, BUT it’s worth it in the long run.
23. I choose the cheapest mobile tariff.
I try to keep my monthly mobile bill down by opting for a tariff which has just the essentials of what I need. To save money, I’ll use Wi-Fi as much as possible rather than pay for bolt-ons which are really expensive.
My phone contract is coming to an end soon, my mobile is still in really good nick and still has tons of life in it. I will be dropping down to a sim-only deal to take advantage of an even cheaper tariff!
24. I drive an old banger.
Despite my car being 18 years old, it still drives absolutely fine. Yes, it’s not the trendiest set of wheels and the once ‘chilli red’ exterior is now a dusty pink colour, but it’s still mechanically sound!
I’ve hardly have to spend anything on it, just wear and tear items (replace windscreen wipers, tyres etc.) but you’d have these expenses on any age car. It gets me from A-B and it’s low maintenance so I don’t see any point in spending a fortune to get a new car. It’s also really cheap to insure which is a double bonus for me to save money.
I’m going to keep my cheap run-around for a long time yet.
And that is how I saved a fourtune to travel. Lots of little every-day changes REALLY do add up. There are so many other little things you can do in your own life which will help you to save money!
By combining all of these money saving tips I’ve managed to save so much money and I’m actually annoyed at myself for not doing this sooner in my life.
True, it does take a bit of discipline at first, but when you get into the routine of it and start to see how much money you’re saving, even just over the space of a few months, you’ll start to wonder why you didn’t do this before.
Do you have any other tips you use to help you save money? I’d love to hear your ideas. Please comment below.
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