Want to make those holiday plans a reality? Dream of traveling more but struggle to find the funds? This six month travel saving plan will almost certainly help you reach those goals and get you across that oh-so-beautiful globe! How do we do it? What are the key steps to follow? Well it’s about getting focused and organised. I’m no Money-Master, but I do know a thing or two about saving. I’m not sure how. I’m not sure why! But I guess it kind of come naturally, because by the age of 21- I had a pot of over £50,000 in savings… And that was after moving out of home just a couple of months after turning 19, being completely financially independent, spending the vast majority of my life up until then studying AND still fitting in some pretty epic adventures worldwide. So I know what you may be thinking…
HOW DID YOU MANAGE THAT?!
Because a lot of people hitting 21 are just finishing Uni and full of debt! Well let my quickly break it down…
I started working at the age of 13, taking over my brother’s paper-round. Small-time things I know. I earned just £10 a week, trooping around the streets six out of the seven days. But it got me working hard. It got me earning. And it got me into the habit of saving. Because unlike most kids who would splash it out on sweets or clothes, I got a real buzz from saving it away and reaching new little goals. I didn’t know what I was saving it for back then, but I KNEW it would be something big! I carried this on until the age of 15 when I then upgraded to working after-school and weekend shifts at a local convenience shop. Minimum wage, paid per hour. But again, it got the right work ethic installed. On the days I wasn’t working there, I also started my own dance tuition ‘business’ on the side: running after-school classes at schools and doing 1-to-1 home dance tuition on the weekends… My first entrepreneurial venture: helping me come on leaps & bounds with my confidence, and giving me that little taster for what would soon come!
From here I went onto college. I took a Business Course, which gave me huge flexibility. It was all assignment-based which meant I could work through it at my own pace and also push for more. In the end I ended up spending just 2-3 days in college a week, I took on additional qualifications along the side, and finished my course early both years, receiving the highest possible grades and maximum UCAS points. It was literally unheard of. But I was so determined and motivated: I just kept working and working. Alongside this, I was juggling THREE jobs. Uh huh, looking back now I’m not entirely sure how I managed it, but at the time- it was no problem at all. One at a start-up company in the week that I’d got offered following a week’s work experience. This was two days a week, my best pay yet, and also enabled me to learn a lot. I then had two jobs on the weekend: one at a cafe in the day, and one at a restaurant in the night. Workaholic I know. But I was dealing with a personal trauma at the same time so keeping busy was my way to escape (Read my story ‘From Broken Teen To Business Woman’) The advantages were: despite being on low pay, I was really putting in the hours, and guess where all of this was going? The savings pot!
Towards the end of my final year at college, during a networking event with my start-up company job, I then got offered a full time job at a start-up recruitment company in the city centre. 13K a year, but for a 17 year old: this would be a big step up and it was a great starting point for my career! I spent around a year here: learning, growing, studying new things in my free time- before then taking a travel break and setting out on my own at the age of 18. Once I was working for myself, the financial goals got pushed higher and higher, taking control of my own income and hours; whilst still ensuring I traveled as much as possible alongside. Yep, I didn’t deprive myself of things; just spent wisely- mostly on travel, experiences and doing things, rather than simply buying things.
I guess the key to saving success for me initially was work as much as I could, earn as much as I could, and put as much away as possible. It sounds like I didn’t have a life right? But I just made the most of all my time, and still found I had plenty left for friends and family. I didn’t really have to compromise on anything I wanted to do or have, but at the same time, I was making great progress with my financial goals and that really paid off.
From there I learnt how to WORK SMARTER; not just harder. So instead of earning per hour or with a set wage, I was earning per client, at much higher rates, and it gave me the potential to earn so much more; which I’ve now started to re-invest. Today my savings are spread into Stocks & Shares, Property Investment (coming soon: I’ll be finding my feet in the market in the next few months) and I have a small pot to fall back on for upcoming travel- although with that, I tend to fund it as I go along… The advantages of having an online business you can take with you anywhere in the world!
Now I don’t share this to brag or try to impress you; but instead to show you how I did it, how it all started through low-pay jobs (which means it doesn’t matter what you’re earning right now!) and actually, if you’re smart with your time and the money you do earn– you’ll find it can start to accumulate pretty damn quickly! (Even if you DO have more bills the older you get!)
The Key Steps for Saving in the Next Six Months:
- Know your goal. How much do you want to save, by what date? So if you’ve created a travel plan you want to start in 6-8 months time, look at your costs thoroughly- what’s the minimum you will need, and what would be the ideal maximum you’d like to take? If it’s starting to become a little unrealistic, look at cost-saving measures for when you’re away or shorter trips just to set you off. Once you’re happy with the end figure, put a deadline to it, then break it down into month by month.
- Analyse Your Costs. Everyone’s got bills. Lots of us have commitments which equate to more funds getting eaten away. And there’s some things we can’t compromise on. However, if you’re going to have any hope of hitting those big saving goals, you’re going to have to look at your current expenses, and anywhere you can cut it down. This may mean making a few sacrifices, but think of it in the bigger picture: what are those strong, driving reasons why you’re doing this? It’s going to be worth it, and you know it. So if that means giving up your gym membership to take to road running instead; or downsizing your flat/ moving in with friends or family to pay less on rent: remember, if it’s just short term for these particular goals, it’s worth doing as it’s going to make those targets a hell of a lot more achievable. Also look at the smaller things: how often do you eat out at lunch when you could be taking your own food? How many times do you buy a new outfit when you could be making the most of what you already have? Do you have to buy branded items, when you could potentially use supermarket brands for less? Yep, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty, but it will pay back I promise you!
- Create a spreadsheet. Dorky? Nah. And even if it is: who cares! This bad-boys going to get you where you really want to be. It only needs to be simple but you need to start with any current savings, the saving goals you have per month (set in task 1 above) and the deadlines to hit each one. You want to monitor this regularly. Whenever you get new money in: update it so you can really see where you’re at. If you want to go ALL OUT, you could also track your expenses on here too: to make it easier to see where they can be reduced. Or if these aren’t that high, and you want it that tad simpler: the progress on the saving goals are the most essential. Depends on your situation and what’s your style!
- Track It, and Take Action. Like I said, you’re going to need to keep a watchful eye on this spreadsheet. There’s no point making it and then just forgetting about it, and the more conscious you are of where you are and where you want/ need to be: the easier it is to change your habits. So for example, that way when you’re going out, it will be more likely be in the back of your mind- helping to tame your spending! If you find you’re falling short of that monthly target, don’t admit defeat and give up.. Failing is not an option. Instead, think outside the box- find ways to make it up. Could you do a car-boot sale, or sort through your wardrobe to sell old stuff on Facebook/ Ebay? Are there any extra hours you could do, or more shifts you could pick up? Is there additional income you could earn anywhere else? Babysitting perhaps? Dog walking? Cleaning? The main thing is to be COMMITTED to the targets. If you fall behind one month: sure you can try to make it up the next one and maybe you’ll manage it. But if you keep falling behind you will never hit the end goal and it will only make it harder. The key to success is to really work hard to hit those monthly goals so that you stay on track.(When I do this, I usually start new campaigns to bring on new clients, put more time into growth, do those dreaded sales calls I may have otherwise put off- but by doing so I’d often not only hit the monthly target, but also surpass it! Then you’re left in a VERY nice place. You can either put the rest towards next months saving target, raise the bar with the saving goals as you see the higher potential, or simply treat yourself- splash out on something you really want, because everyone’s got to have some rewards!)
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It’s hard work, but if you keep at it: saving will start to come far more naturally, and once you hit those goals and make your travel dreams a reality- well, there’s no greater feeling in the world!
Top Three Money-Saving Tips to Get You Started:
- Clear Those Debts: One of the worst things you can do when it comes to financial management is pull the wool over your head and try to make any previous debts disappear to make your travel dreams come true. If you do this, you’ll end up in far more trouble once you’re back. Plus: you will be wasting so much money on the interest you’re paying on that debt. So, first things first is to work on paying these high-fee ones back ASAP! I don’t mean mortgages (we’ll accept those!), but any loans, or credit card debts: these must go!
- Cut Something Out: Okay challenge. I want you to think on ONE thing you buy regularly that maybe you don’t need to. Maybe it’s costa coffees, fast-food, cigarettes or takeaways. For the next month, set it your challenge to cut it out and see how much you save! Then: calculate how much that will add up to if you cut it out for the whole year. A nice little pot of money right? And yes it won’t be easy to begin with. Especially if it’s something you’re addicted to, or in the habit of getting. But they also say you need three weeks to install a new habit, so if you commit to it for this first month and actually stick to it- it will only get easier from there. If you don’t need it (especially when it’s doing more hard than good!) – scrap it!
- Make It Natural: So if you’re not used to saving, you won’t really be in the habit of doing it. To get things started I want you to think of these savings you’re putting away, as a bill. Just like any other one, set it up as a monthly auto debit from you account. You can make it lower at first (then top it up to reach those goals) but always make sure that SOMETHING is going across to a savings account every month, or every couple of weeks. Like I said, you can start small initially but it will not only change your patterns and behaviours, but also how you look at it yourself. Saving then starts to become part of your lifestyle and before long- you’ll not only have the funds for your travels, but also to keep traveling more than you ever have before!
I hope this short little guide has given you some new approaches to install into your life; helping you to save more and therefore travel more. If you have any questions, pop them in the comments below. I’d also love to hear what you do and any saving tips you can share with others.
It’s all about making your dreams, a reality! Bye for now.
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