When I finally decided that I was going to travel, and I made a rough budget about what I thought this trip would cost me and I looked over my economy. To do the trip I wanted, I needed around 40.000 SEK more (about 5700 USD). I had some freelance jobs planned in, so I thought that I might be able to save up 10-15.000 SEK before leaving (all though, it didn’t work out because I got sick in chicken pox when I was supposed to do the freelance job, and another time I was stuck in Zürich because of a snowstorm, so no money there). The rest was about cutting expenses, selling things I own, and getting jobs during travel.
I noticed, that when you are short of money, you get creative!
Every day was ”How am I going to survive this day without money?” (preferably, saving money instead). Usually, money just disappears every day, one banana there, one coffee there… not ok!!! Having future economy problems helps you keep and eye on your account and notice how much money that just ”disappears”.
TIPS: Write everything down! Every expense, no matter how small it is! It really helps to see where your money is going. After a month, review it, see what you can change/cut, and stick with it. Is that pack of gums at 7-11 really necessary? Remember what the purpose is – to save money for the trip of your dreams (or a trip, anyways).
Also, do this while you travel too! I’m bringing a notebook with me where I’m going to write eeeeevery expense. No income = need a total control over my budget.
Here are some other ideas of how to save money for traveling:
Cutting monthly expenses:
Big saver: You can go and live with your parents again, maybe ask them nicely to stay there for free and you could save most of your income. Or, if that seems slightly too much, get a coherent. This does actually cut your monthly rent with 50% and is a fair deal. (I did the second option, he he)
Other stuff you can cut down;
– Transportation card (do you need to take the metro or can you bike/walk it/share ride?)
– Training (run outside, strength training at home, both for free etc)
– Phone bills (just stop texting and calling everybody all the time, put a limit on the phone),
– Electricity (turn your lights off when you leave home and just have the lamp on in room where you are in, saves quite much in the end of the month!)
– Food (Don’t eat out! Always make lunch boxes!! It’s not so difficult, you must have an afternoon a week you can plan in to cook, do 2-3 different plates of the same raw materials and freeze it in!)
– Party (exact how much money do you spend on alcohol/club entrances every month? This is a big thief. Cut your expenses. Is it really necessary to pay such an over price for a beer? Here in Sweden it’s so much cheaper to drink at home, invite some friends over instead! Or just stop drinking! At least, start thinking. Out partying to forget your life or saving that money to live your life?)
– Shopping (Why the hell do you need a new pair of shoes if you aren’t going to be able to wear them while traveling???)
Sell your stuff:
If you have a car, a bike, clothes you don’t use, a laptop, etc. Everything counts and e-bay is hot now!! (Swedish: blocket och tradera!) . Just check at the attic and I’m sure you’ll find things you haven’t even thought about for 5 years. Do you really need them if they have been in the storage forever? Every penny counts!!!
Well, that’s just a start!
Also, you can cut your expenses during travel.
Of course, everything depends on the reason why you travel, but this works for me:
If you don’t want to live in hotels or do the typical touristic thing, but rather have an experience with local people and their community, you can volunteer; for example stay at a farm and help the owners there for 4 hours a day, and get free accommodation and food. I signed myself up at workaway , a community where local businesses can sign up and ask for help from volunteers all over the world. Most of them are free to volunteer, some of them you pay a symbolic payment of 2 dollars or something. I got in contact with both of the places I’ll be volunteering at there. Sign up at http://www.workaway.info/, it costs 22 euros for 2 years.
Another way of having an experience with locals but without working for it, is to do CouchSurfing. If you haven’t heard about it before, briefly – you ask a local if you can sleep on their couch while visiting their town. But it’s not about getting free accommodation, but more about opening your mind, exchanging thoughts and sharing experiences. Lovely!
As I mentioned, I got a little bit creative when I didn’t have money. I had the idea of selling things to friends at home and tourists along the road to earn some extra money for the day. I thought I could sketch people up, so I would bring my pen and notebooks to make small sketches and sell for like 5 USD or something. That would give me food for a day. The sketches wouldn’t need to be that good either, it’s mostly about giving something back if you ask for money, so it doesn’t feel like you are begging for it. Also I had the idea of taking pictures of texts that was ordered of friends/future costumers through e-mail, for example, holding up a sign ”Happy Birthday First Name Second Name!” in a cool place like Macchu Picchu, or just writing it in the sand of a great beach. Isn’t that a good idea?
How it has worked out for me? I did sell my apartment and cleared my loans and got a little bit over to be able to do my trip, but I also lost some of my saving-money-energy. I won’t need to bring my sketchbook overseas, sorry to tell you that, haha. It bugs me that I really was focused while being broke, and today I see my cash withdrawals everyday and get really disappointed of myself and my bad discipline. So writing this posts really gives me a new push up to myself. Time to shape up! No more income for 200 days – I HAVE TO!
Do you have any more tips about how to get your costs down and save money?