If you plan a RTW trip, the big concern is always the same: Money. Obviously, you want to cover all of your travel costs.
It's not as difficult to save a lot of money in a short amount of time as you might think. It's about setting the right priorities. While others save money for a long period of time, I wanted to save money as quickly as possible. Once I committed myself to the new lifestyle, it was rather easy to save up more than 10,000 € within 10 months.
1. Open up a savings account
First thing on your to do list: Open up a savings account for your travels. Also, enable automatic deposits from your paycheck to your savings account. I transferred 200 € each month. Additionally, I transferred another amount each week. Whether it is 100 € or 50 € you can bare believe me, it will add up by the end of the month. Let's say you transfer each week 50 € and 200 € from your paycheck additionally, you will have a total of 400 € each month on your savings account! Within 10 months you will have 4,000 €. See what I am talking about?
2. Use a travel jar
Now, here's something that helped me a lot. No matter if you plan to travel with your partner or alone, place a travel jar somewhere in your apartment where you either walk by often or where you spend a lot of time (living room, entrance..). Let's face the truth. If you want to meet your friends, it's mostly connected to spending money, except if you invite them over or if you go to their place. When we socialize, we like to spend time outside in cafés, bars, restaurants, movie theaters or anything else that comes along with entertainment. Concert, museums, etc.
Believe me, it was so hard for me. But, I had to seriously cut down my social activities in those places. My friends probably didn't always have an easy time with me but they were all supporting me in my plans and were very understandable.
Time for action. Each time you would like to meet your friends and do something where you would spend some money, think differently. There are actually quite a few things you can do where you either don't spend much money or no money at all.
Here's a list of ideas:
- invite friends over and watch a DVD
- meet up for hiking or other sport activities
- instead of going to a café, take a coffee to go (try to buy one with a paper cup instead of plastic) and go for a walk in a park or through town
- invite your friends over and surprise them with a homemade breakfast / dinner
- Skip the clubs and get together for a game night or a house party (not free but still much cheaper)
Now, here's the deal. Anytime you were successful in avoiding to spend money, put the amount you would have spent into your travel jar. And, add all the change you have received over the week into your jar. You'll be surprised how much money you're going to save. We were able to pay for almost four of our plane tickets with the money from our travel jar.
3. Save on groceries
If you want to save on groceries, it really helps to make a kitchen plan. What are you going to cook throughout the next week? This means you're only going to buy what you actually need. When you buy family packages, pack them in small portions and put them into your freezer. I am not proud to say I went to the cheapest grocery stores in my extrem saving mode. At least I bought the organic products in those grocery stores (which are never the same as in an organic store, but oh well...) Be on the look out for good deals.
Quite a no-brainer but still, cook more at home and take your lunch with you to work. Try as much as possible to cut back on take away coffee and take away food. You can do this!
4. Get rid of...everything!
It took me two times to clean out my wardrobe and I got rid of sooo much stuff. We went to two flea markets and made around 500 Euros by selling our stuff. Ask your friends if they have something they want to get rid off. Come on, everyone has something at home which they don't need anymore but they are too lazy to sell it. We were able to sell some nice things from our friends which they were happy to get rid of. Think differently: You're going on an around the world trip, do you really need those high heels anymore? You cannot use them during the trip and you might have a different taste when you're back. Try to sell as much as possible: perfumes, shoes, clothes, accessories, nail polish, old books, etc.
We were also able to donate part of the money we made from the flea market for the social project in Mozambique.
5. Buy only what you need and buy it used
My rule: Don't buy anything new unless you cannot find it used. I bought a Macbook Air 13 used, instead of buying a new one. If you upgrade your equipment, get rid of your old laptop or phone. Try to sell it online first, maybe you'll have more success.
When it comes to birthdays or anniversaries or anything where you need to buy a present. People know you're saving like crazy, so it's time to be creative. Surprise them with a delicious cake and add something small to it. Give them a voucher where you do spend time together. Think of what kind of things you are good at or what you enjoy doing. Are you good at giving a massage? Are you a good cook? Are your cakes the best? Whatever it is you enjoy doing, give it away as a present. Your friends and family will highly appreciate your skills.
6. Cash is your new friend
Do not pay with credit card anymore. You tend to spend more and the shock will come at the end of the month. Only with debit card or cash. Write down all of your expenses, every day into a spreadsheet. See the differences between the months. Control yourself. Where did you spend the most? Gas, food, clothes? Cut back as much as possible. If you have a car, try to use it less. Plan your trips better or even sell it and switch to public transport, if possible. I promised myself to drive less, only to work and back and a few extra trips. It helped me to save a lot on gas.
7. Plan your own Christmas and Birthday gifts
If friends of family ask you what you wish for these two occasions, be smart. I have a friend who always gave me body lotions, shower gels and soaps as a gift. The entire last year I didn't have to bother to buy such things which again, saved me money. I used to spend so much money on these little things. Ask your family for items you would like to take with you for your trip: camera gear, travel diary, water bottle, travel towels, camera battery, etc.
8. Ask a friend to cut your hair
The last few months before our travels I decided it would be better if I'd ask my mum to cut my hair. She has a haircutting scissors and it really does a fine job. I only went to the hairdresser after 5 months to get some highlights again. Lets say you go to the hairdresser every second month. Depending on where you live, this could cost around 100 €. If you know a friend who can help you out you are going to save 300 € in six months. If you still like to get a professional cut from time to time, switch to a cheaper hairdresser. There is always a better deal around.
9. Get an additional income
Whether it is through teaching someone your language, delivering Pizza or working in a restaurant for a few hours. There are numerous possibilities to make more money. It's going to be exhausting, your evenings will be shorter but you'll be able to make your dream come true in a few months.
10. Cut back on rent
Move together with friends, rent out your flat or move back to your parents and pay less rent. If you have a spare room you might also rent it out through Airbnb and put all the additional income into your savings account.
To summarize, set goals and follow them. Keep in mind that the more you save, the longer you can travel. Only spend money when it's really worth it or for things you really need for your travels or for daily life. Stop buying clothes and sell the stuff you don't need any longer. Try to reduce your living costs and cut back on eating out. Switch from your expensive phone plan to a cheaper one, call less or use Skype or Whatsapp calls instead. Instead of buying books, borrow them. It's the little things that all add up.
Surround yourself with people who like to travel and who are saving money as well. Also, families who just built a house are similar ;) They will understand you better and saving up will become easier. Don't forget your ultimate goal to travel the world! Even if you just save for your next vacation, picture yourself at your dream destination and saving will become easier step by step.
Are you already saving up for your trip around the world? Let me know your ideas and strategies. I would love to hear from you! If you want to know how you can save during your vacation in Portugal you can read it up here.