(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

How to save for travel is one of the questions I get asked the most when people email or DM me. And it makes sense, right? We spend our lives scrolling through picture perfect Instagram feeds of people we follow who seem to be on the road all the time. How do we have that life? Or maybe you’re stumped as to how you’ll ever take that bucket list trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Well, I can’t promise to solve all your problems, but I can share exactly what I do to save for travel AND save money on the road. 

1. Round up those savings!

I use a couple of applications to round up every purchase or bill I spend money on to the nearest dollar or three and either invest the extra couple of dollars or plonk the extra in a high interest savings account. Recently, I read the Barefoot Investor book and switched all my banking across to ING Australia – opening an everyday account and a high interest savings account. The savings account has the option to round up my spending automatically, so I don’t even need to think about it and around $6 – 14 AUD goes in there everyday, depending what I buy.

I also use Raiz (formerly Acorns) to round up my purchases and use the extra plus a monthly investment of around $200 to invest in the sharemarket. Again, this is a set and forget kind of operation where I link my accounts to the app and it does the work for me. Not bad for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the sharemarket. If you’re interested in checking out Raiz, then use this link and get $5 in your account to start off with on me!

2. Complete Online Surveys

This might seem a bit silly, but there’s some nice extra cash to be made if you have the patience to complete online surveys. There are so many survey providers around, but I’ve definitely had the most success with Swagbucks, who reward you for completing surveys, daily polls, watching videos and even just using their website as a search channel. Swagbucks lets you cash out your points in the form of PayPal vouchers, which I’ve found super helpful to help reduce the bill for AirBnBs and flights when I need to! To check out Swagbucks and start surveying click here.

3. Take Public Transport

Some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking ‘duh, I already do this’. But I guarantee, there are some of you that are still sliding into that comfy car each morning when there’s a bus stop or a train station in walking distance who have been avoiding doing the maths on this. And I get it. I love hopping into my little Mazda3, switching on an audiobook and driving off to work in comfort. But when I worked out how much this was costing me a day versus catching the train, I knew that the extra comfort and saving 10 mins a day just wasn’t worth it.

For example, in Sydney where I live, a return trip to work on the train costs just under $9. A car trip, when I add up all the road tolls and petrol costs me around $15 a day. And that’s WITH free parking at work. If you’re paying for parking in a CBD, then it’s at least $24 a day and likely more. It might be a pain in the ass, but it will save you in the long run. 

4. Hire Your Car Out

Now that you’re not using that car during the week, rather than have it sit idle, why not rent it out? Car sharing is taking off around the world and whilst it’s not the kind of money you can quit your job over, it IS money for nothing once you’re all set up.

If you’re Australia based, then Car Next Door are a great company who come and get you set up. They also include insurance when you pay a monthly fee (which works out way less than comprehensive insurance elsewhere) and at the time of writing guarantee that you’ll earn at least $2000 in your first 12 months of peer to peer car sharing.

Just like AirBnB, you’ll be able to mark in a calendar when the car is available for use so there’s no messing around with dates you need the car. To check out Car Next Door, click here. 

5. Become a Driver

If you can’t bear the thought of just hiring out your car to anyone without you in it, then maybe it’s time to think about embracing the sharing economy in another way and becoming a driver. There are so many ridesharing opportunities out there right now with a multitude of different apps and that way you get to be completely in control of your car. For this one, you’ll need to follow a few steps to get set up, and need to have enough time to devote to being out on the road otherwise the extra cash you’ll see will be minimal. 

6. Do your grocery shopping in one hit

I couldn’t believe the difference in price when I looked at what I spend when I go to the shops each day for groceries vs what I spend when I do my weekly shop in one fell swoop. Making a meal plan at home is now my regular Sunday activity and I then build a shopping list based on what I have in the cupboard. I also find if I go into the shops with a list, I don’t buy junky snacks or go off script and buy things ‘in case’ I need them.

With my weekly list, I’m prepared, I know what I need and I don’t stray from the path. I plan to make leftovers so I can use them for my lunches, I try to buy fresh and eat vegetarian at least a few times a week for the double reason that meat is expensive and eating vegetarian is better for the planet. To make it even better, Raiz (see tip 1) give me cashback if I order with my local supermarket online via their app. So I make money from grocery shopping!

7. Marie Kondo your house

As humans, we all have a lot of stuff. And to be honest, we could live with a lot less. One of the best ways I found to put some extra cash back in my pocket was to log onto eBay to get rid of some unwanted clothes, furniture and university books I no longer needed. It took about 5 mins to set up an account, take some photos and write a description of the items. I felt better because I got rid of things I wasn’t using (they weren’t sparking joy) and someone else got to treasure my unwanted items PLUS I got paid for them!

8. Ditch the Gym and get outside

If you’re living somewhere perishingly cold, this may be impossible, but for those of us who live in fairly reasonable all-year-round climates, it is time to ditch those gym fees and embrace the wonderful, FREE, outdoors as a training centre. Gym memberships spike around new years when everyone makes the annual resolution to get in shape and in about mid-Feb most of those people drop off and are never seen around the gym again.

So, if you’re paying for a gym membership that you’re not using, think about taking on a free outdoors exercise program instead. There are plenty of running apps to use and it would even be cheaper to pay for an iPhone App exercise program you can do yourself outdoors than let that gym membership waste away. 

9. Check your direct debits

This might seem super obvious, but it just doesn’t happen with most of us millenials. We set up direct debits to pay everything under the sun but then we forget what we’re actually paying for, we don’t remember what date things are coming out on and sometimes we don’t even use a subscription anymore but we still pay for it because its a direct debit.

Go through your accounts for the last couple of months and record EVERY direct debit. Then evaluate what you don’t need. Can you live without Spotify and save the $12? Do you need that app subscription you haven’t looked at since 2017?

Go through those debits methodically, cancelling any that you no longer need or can live without and feel better about your financial health and also the fact that all of these companies no longer have access to your money!

10. Make Your Savings Work For You

So, it’s all very well to be saving money BUT to ensure that money works for you and goes towards your big trip, there’s one more step.

Instead of keeping your ‘saved’ money (either additional cash or savings you’ve made by changing up your routine) in the same account as the rest of your money, create a high interest savings account that is connected to your daily account and actually put those savings away. Otherwise the risk is that you’ll just assume you have more disposable income and spend the extra cash rather than put it aside.

You definitely want to avoid incurring debt to pay back after a holiday (I’ve been there and I wouldn’t recommend it!). Use that separate account to store the money, grow your pool with a good interest rate and then use it to fund that amazing next trip!

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