‘Money, money, money!’
Let’s face it travelling is not cheap. At the time of writing this (2nd February 2015) I have spent £2027.80 and I haven’t even enjoyed one bit of the trip yet. I’ve spent my money on flights, travel insurance and some backpacking gear but there is still scuba insurance, vaccinations, visas that I need to get before we fly out on the 1st April. You can see how expensive this is going to be and it is only going to get worse.
So I’ve decided to compile a list of things that I did to save money for our backpacking trip (there are many other things you can do so this list is by no means exhaustive).
I will list what I did, how much I saved, a little bit more detail and my tips and tricks for you. Finally see my summarised Top 5 Tips and Tricks to take away from this blog post if you forget everything else.
– We moved in together. We saved ~£300 per week (£3,600 a year)
Andrew rented his own apartment that costed him around £700 a month (£450 – rent, £50 – internet, £30 – water, £80 – council tax, £80 gas and electric). We decided to move in together and by doing so it meant all our rent and bills were divided by 2. This was really useful for us because it meant we got used to being in each others company and saved us money immediately.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Could you save some money by buddying up with a friend to share the cost of living? Could you downsize from a double bedroom to a single bedroom? Instead of living on your own could you move into a houseshare?
– Shop around for your household utilites. We saved ~£540 a year with £130 cashback
We had a go at trying to save some money on our gas and electricity. This involved going on some comparison websites like moneysupermarket.com or confused.com. Eventually we settled for Martin’s Money Saving Expert. It’s actually really easy and he explains the process step by step. It worked out that we would save £300 a year by paying less money per unit of electric and gas we used. I also got £30 cashback for switching. Another thing is we got British Gas to come out and see if we were eligible for free loft insulation. They also offer cavity wall insulation but we already has this. A staggering 25% of the heat is lost through the roof, so if your house is not well insulated you are just paying for heat that is doing nothing but going straight out of your roof.
In addition, we decided to re-negotiate our internet package and opted for a slower internet speed, which was still Fibre internet so it was a good compromise. This saved us £20 a month.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Get a free estimate to see if you are paying the right amount for your gas and electricity. Could you easily switch and start saving? Could you turn down your thermostat by 1°C and potentially save £90 a year? Check whether you are eligible for free loft or cavity wall insulation. Could you re-negotiate your internet package for a better deal or because you are a loyal customer?
– We took our homemade lunches into work. We saved ~£45 per week (£540 a year)
Every Sunday I spent the afternoon or evening cooking batches of homemade lunches for the both of us to take into work. I then froze these on the day and then I would take them out the day before to defrost. I really enjoyed this because I love cooking. Even though my canteen at work was subsidised I always felt that I could make my own food that was even yummier. Andrew use to spend around £7 a day on his lunch and for me. With a bit of organisation we only spent maybe once a week going out to buy lunch.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Could you swap your takeout lunches for something you have cooked yourself at home? If not, could you make a little bit more for your dinner and have the leftovers as your lunch the next day?
– Change your mode of transport to work. We saved ~£20 per week (£1,040 a year)
For me I took the bus into work because it meant I didn’t have to pay for parking in the city centre where I worked. A weekly pass meant I could use that pass and have unlimited travel. Andrew took my car instead of his gas guzzler that does around 25 miles per gallon so he saved a lot of money on diesel. It was a bonus that it doesn’t cost me anything extra to add him onto my insurance policy.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Could you car share with a colleague from work? Would it be cheaper to get the bus into work?
– Cut down on your daily coffee/tea beverage. We saved ~£20 per week (£1,040 a year)
It’s easy to nip into Costa/Starbucks or your local coffee shop in the morning or afternoon for some caffeine. It’s convenient but it really does hurt your wallet. A little every day adds up to be a lot in one week. We both halved our visits. We both worked out the maths and decided to halve our visits.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Could you bring your own coffee/tea in your own travel mug? If you often go out for catchups could you go somewhere else like your canteen? Could you get your daily fix from your work canteen for cheaper? Use your loyalty cards to get a free drink after a certain amount. Take advantage when they do a 2for1.
– Get practical Birthdays and Christmas presents. We saved ~£200 a year
We both told our friends and families to give us things we needed for our backpacking trip. A simple ask and we got a multi-tool (£60 new), Eagle Creek Pack it Cubes (£30 new), Cocoon grid it organiser (£50 new), Convertible Pants (£50 new)
Tips and & Tricks for you: Ask your family and friends the same as we have done. Explain the situation and I’m sure they will be understanding. If you don’t know what you will need then ask for a gift card.
– Have less takeaways and meals out. We saved ~ £780 a year
Not only did this save us money but it also meant we were healthier by not exposing our bodies to all the MSG and the fat and oil in all those takeaways. We had one less takeout and one less meal out per month.
Tips and & Tricks for you: If you are going to eat out could you go for an early bird deal that is cheaper? Do they do deals such as 2for 1 with a loyalty card, or deals on a particular day such as a burger and drink for £9 or curry night on Tuesdays for £7?
– Start looking for deals and use your loyalty/cashback cards. We saved £466 a year
There are a number of thing we did:
- Cinema – we took advantage of the 2for1 Orange Wednesdays. With us going on average one a month, this saved us £8 per month.
- Started using our loyalty cards – With £50 worth of Boots points on my card I used this to buy things we needed for out trip like insect repellent. I also asked my mum for her Tesco Clubcard vouchers so I could turn them into 4 times their value online and his equated to a meal out each month.
- I learnt to use cashback websites which pay you a small percentage based on your total spend if you click to your shopping destination via the link on their website. This netted me £200 in total that went straight into my bank account.
- I also started using my M&S credit card more because I converted my points into M&S vouchers at the end of the month which was around £10 in vouchers.
Tips and & Tricks for you: Put your loyalty cards in your purse/wallet and remember to use them. See if there is a special discount if you buy something online. Ask your sister/brother/cousin to go shopping with you and use their student discount.
Buying big ticket items is expensive and I started using sites like Freecycle, where people list things they don’t want anymore for free and it is first come first served. Some are good quality items whereas some just do the job. Most of the time I wasn’t bothered by the brand or aesthetics, I was just interested in it doing the job (I broke 2 vacuums in one week!) I also used Ebay to buy a few things such as a computer desk. You can get items relatively cheap because only people who live nearby will be able to bid (postage would be too expensive) and the only option is to drive over and pick it up.
Some examples are below:
|Item||Money saved using Ebay/Freecycle|
Tips and & Tricks for you: If you don’t know how to use those sites, don’t buy it at full price, wait until there is a sale. Do you have a social news at work where people post things they want to sell and you could get them for a good price?
Phew…..as you can see there are many ways to save money for your travels or backpacking trip.
To summarise here are my Top 5 Tips:
- Spend less or make your money go further
- Cook your own lunches
- Live with someone and share the costs
- Cut down on those daily Starbucks caffeine fixes
- Reduce the number of takeaways you have
How did you save money? Give me some more tips as I can save more money for my travels next time! Leave me a comment below.