I am well on my way to saving the grand total of $20,000 to travel the world solo for one year.
It is a all-consuming dream of mine and the purpose and goal of my life at the moment. I am far too excited for the day I can finally step on that plane, ready to begin my grand adventure.
The path to achieving that dream, however, is far less exciting. Here’s a breakdown of the situation: I am a 23-year-old girl working a full-time job in customer service. I am living out of home and paying rent and bills. I go grocery shopping fortnightly where I spend up to $200 on food (I eat a lot). I spend $50 on gas every fortnight. I also pay for every form of shopping, entertainment and dining myself. I basically pay for every expense in my life, without any financial support from the government or my parents.
I knew early on in my situation that I needed a game plane if I wanted to travel the world within a years time without any debt or loans. So, I decided to set aside $400 fortnightly into a travel account which I strictly made sure never to withdraw from unless it was an emergency.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been easy – far from it! As a girl who loves going out with her friends, fashion, make-up AND who is quite naturally bad with money (my horoscope says so ), I knew I would have to up my discipline and self-control to new levels. After all, a dream worth having always requires sacrifice.
Here’s how a financially useless, financially independent girl saves $200 per week to achieve her dream of traveling the world:
1. I downgraded my ideal living situation. Initially, while I was still living at home, I wanted to live in a fabulous apartment in the city. However, that would of set me back $250 per week. I decided that in order to save for my long-term goal, I needed to live frugally but comfortably. I found a modest place within a reasonable budget that was extremely close to work so I could save on gas and I don’t regret one bit of it. If you are looking to save big, but earn less than $40k per year, living modestly can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
2. I go to a budget-friendly supermarket and look for the best & cheapest in-store deals. I go out of my way to go to Pak n’ Save as you can get quality food for an affordable price tag. I also brought their eco bags so I can save on buying plastic bags every time I shopped. It also helps that I am a vegetarian and can skip the often expensive meat section altogether.
3. I set spending limits. For example: I will only buy shoes $50 or less or I will only spend $20 on dinner when I’m going out. I especially restrict the money I spend on food, makeup and clothes because those are the things I tend to spend most of my money on. Create boundaries with your money.
4. I bring my lunch to work. I try make an effort every night to pack my lunch for the next day, and once a week I will buy an inexpensive lunch as a treat.
5. I cook at home. Eating out can add up and can often be expensive and unhealthy. Even though I am a terrible cook, I learned to cook at home through vegetarian cooking websites, making big batches of food and using the leftovers for the next day. Once you get into the swing of cooking, you realize how much you can do with the food already in your pantry.
6. I sign up for loyalty programs. It’s pretty sweet how much you can save! Many places gives you x amount of dollars off every time you accumulate a certain amount of points, including Famers, Life Pharmacy and Caltex. If you have a restaurant you go to regularly, a lot of them will give you something free after a certain number of stamps. It may not be much, but all of those loyalty programs are free to join and pays off in the long run.
7. I cut down on buying and drinking alcohol. I used to love drinking when I was younger, but now I am older, I don’t enjoy it as much anymore. I restrict myself to a couple of drinks when I’m out on the town (volunteering to be the sober driver has its good sides!).
8. I stopped buying books and borrowed or read Kindle versions instead. Buying the Kindle versions of books is often half the price of buying the paperback version. You save more money, help out the environment a little and having it as an app on your phone means you can read it literally anywhere.
9. I watch movies online instead of going to the cinemas. One of the best feelings in the world is snuggling in bed watching a movie on my laptop. With Netflix only $12.99 a month and online streaming free, you have almost every movie at your fingertips, saving you plenty of money from going to the cinemas. If you do, go on the days where it’s cheapest and sign up for their loyalty program which offers rewards and freebies.
10. I buy makeup from affordable brands and always buy clothes on sale. I always go to makeup outlet stores or buy my makeup in bulk online at BeautyJoint. I also look for sale items on Asos and Missguided and with its filtering system, it’s so easy to stick within my budget.