Money is probably the biggest factor when it comes to travelling. I know it is for me. After being in debt for the last decade enough is enough. I’ve spent the last 3 years working 4 jobs to fight for the life I want. I’m not there yet, I still have a couple of years until I’m in a comfortable financial position but that’s not stopping me.
When I finally hit my limit I was living not only pay cheque to pay cheque but living on the last $100 off a constantly maxed out credit card. I decided that I drastically needed to cut expenses and increase my income if I ever wanted to make a change and fulfill my travel dreams. I relied on my skills, hustled my butt, picked up a part-time job and started taking freelance work on the side. It’s a difficult pace working 6-7 days a week but I knew it wouldn’t be forever and I the found extra work doing jobs I liked and that didn’t cause me added stress. Freelance work as a designer is a great option because I can take on extra projects when I have the time and slow down a little when I’m feeling stressed.
The other side of the coin was cutting expenses. The good thing about taking on extra work means I had less time to spend what I was making! But it wasn’t enough, we sat down and mapped out 3 months of expenses. Figured out how much we needed to cut and started slashing. Cable tv? gone. Expensive internet provider? changed. Groceries? Started buying no name brands, cheaper cuts of meat, buying and cooking in bulk and going vegetarian a couple times a week. No more coffee every morning, no more nights out, definitely no eating out. It was hard and we struggled and failed sometimes but we kept at it. After the growing pains, finally facing that we were living beyond our means and waking up from the denial – things started to change.
The trap lies in the fact that just because you’re making more, doesn’t mean you can spend more. Treat the new income like out of sight, out of mind. Sock it away or have it automatically transferred out of your accounts before you can see it. Pay off those credit cards and pay down your student debt. Once you’re finished tackling your debt start saving! Keep socking it away at the same rate. Best rule of thumb is to have 3 months of living expenses saved in case of a life emergency. It’s temping to want to splurge but make sure you’re taken care of first!
Got all that done? Good – now you’re in the perfect place to travel! Let’s get real, not everyone is going to be able to pull that off before traveling. I know I won’t. Despite working extra jobs and cutting all my expenses to the bare minimum – life happens. My husband’s living in constant limbo of getting laid off. Being in debt that is a terrifying thought. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. Am I cancelling my trip? Hell no. I’m going to continue working and hope for the best. Given that my trip is over a year away things may change. I haven’t booked anything concrete but I’m not going to adjust my trip timeline until I know for sure I can’t afford it. Until then I’m going to keep on trucking and planning my trip and as long as I’m working towards my goal and prioritizing money – I’m happy for now.
What are some of your best money saving tips when trying to budget for travel?