Question time again, another round of conversations have recently lead me to think about another important factor; “how can you afford to take all these amazing trips?”
The first answer that comes to mind when people ask this is simply, I can’t. If I stopped long enough to plan out a proper budget, covering costs for travel, accommodation, food and drink, social activities and any miscellaneous costs I would never get out of the house because I would constantly be thinking “I can’t afford to do this.”
I’ve seen plenty of people say similar things. It’s good to have a rough idea of how much you might need to get by while you’re away from home, but you don’t want to focus too much on the details. Have enough to get you home in the bank and you’ll be just fine.
I’ve got some top tips for you though so check ’em out!
Number 1: Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need.
Stop it, right now. That dress you like, you don’t need it so don’t buy it. That album your favourite band released on Monday, you don’t need it. Goddamn that cake looks delicious, but you don’t need it! Saving is about discipline and compromise, you have got to decide what is most important to you. I think of cost in terms of nights away. That new shirt, that’s a weekend in Prague. What would you prefer?
This is tricky while you’re travelling as well. Ask anyone who’s done a round of backpacking, no matter how well you budget that one beer that turns into ten never seems like a problem at the time. Again though, this is about what’s important to you. Everyone loves a beer!
Number 2: Save Your Pennies.
Obvious, no? It is all well and good you moving your wages into a savings account but if they don’t stay they’re, you’re not going to be any closer to your goals. Leave it alone. Get. Disciplined.
I do as much as I can (be bothered to do) to help hit my targets, I’m currently packing away two hours of overtime a night and sneaking into the office at weekends when I’m allowed. If someone offers you a boost, if you can take it you should. Some people have recommended that I get a second weekend job, ideally at a bar to help with that nasty alcohol problem I’ve apparently developed. I find its a lot more helpful to be on the side where you hand the money over but maybe that’s just me…
Number 3: Get Lucky.
I don’t mean this in terms of blow all your cash on scratch cards and lottery tickets and win it big, that’s not a strong strategy but I’m sure it’s worked for some people I’m lucky in another way, my personal situation allows for me to save easily and I get a lot of support to keep doing what I love. I live at home, I’ve got no serious financial commitments, my place of employment have got the work available to offer me plenty of overtime and I’ve got some family members who are incredibly supportive.
Time for a quick honourable mention; my Great Aunt has got my back every step of the way. Most of my family are telling me this is just a phase but she’s keen to know where I’m going next and when she can expect a postcard, even making demands that I visit places she’s never received one from before. It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve got one person behind you telling you to keep on living that dream. Being one of the family elders she’s got the final word and I know that if I’ve got her approval nothing else matters. Without her I wouldn’t have been to have the places I have, and for that I am endlessly thankful. You know who you are!
This all might sound a little bit obvious, but it’s amazing how difficult it can be to get the basics right. Stop spending, start saving!