We all know that being a student means we must live the frugal life; all those Uni lunches, coffee and transportation really adds up. But what if I told you that saving enough money to go travelling during our semester breaks is actually possible? Now, what!? Serious. Here are a few tips to get you started!
1. Research and assess
Figure out how much money you need to save throughout the year to go to your destination. Each country will have different living expenses and air fares.
The biggest upfront expenses will be flights, accommodation, visa, insurance, and immunisation shots. Then, you can figure out the cost of an average meal and transport and multiply it by how long you’re in the country for. Then, add on more for any touristy experiences, shopping or additional travel you might want to do and for some buffer.
It’s a good idea to talk to someone who has also been to the place you want to go - you can also use this method to figure out which destinations are in your budget.
As a whole, places in South-East Asia and South Asia are most affordable since they’re closer in distance and have lower living expenses than in Australia. Eastern Europe and South America are also more affordable places to live in, but cost more to fly to since it’s unlikely you’ll get a direct flight there and may have to switch around quite a bit.
Overall, once you have a general idea of your trip’s overall cost and you have your goal, you are already halfway there!
2. Sign up to newsletters and travel deals
Keep an eye on airfare prices throughout the year. Book early so you don’t miss out on the cheap deals. Look at flight comparison sites like skyscanner.com or webjet.com. If you don’t mind missing out on the added perks, you can also fly on budget airlines like AirAsia (Asia) or Scoot (Asia) and RyanAIr (Europe).
3. Set goals and budget
Make short term and long term saving goals. For example, saving up $50 by the end of this month or $500 by the end of July.
Be specific with the amount of money you want to save up and allocate a percentage of your income to set aside for savings. For a rough guide, it’s usually 20% of your income.
For example, using a savings account which you never withdraw from and receive some interest on top of your money is a good way to limit yourself. That way, the moment you get paid, you’re already transferring into your special account and keeping that under lock and key until you’re ready to use it.
Protip: For those who know that self control is a bit challenging, change your settings for that bank account so that no withdrawals can be made.
4. Track expenses via an app or spreadsheet
Download an app or make a spreadsheet to track your daily expenses to see where your money is disappearing to. Work out what your biggest expenses are and see how you can cut down. You might also discover random unnecessary expenses. Be strict with yourself and put a limit on it - tell yourself you will treat yourself with this overseas adventure!
5. Make your own food
Usually our expenses are towards food such as lunch and dinner on campus which can easily stack up to the three digit figures throughout the month. Start preparing and making your own lunches for uni. Leave aside an hour on your free day to bulk make lunch for a week and put it in your freezer so you can spend less on campus. You can also try having small snacks from home in your bag like a muesli bar for when you’re randomly hangry.
6. THE HARDEST ONE - Cut down on coffee
YUP. That’s right. I made a separate step for this tip. Coffee is a daily expense and is the easiest to forget about as an expense because it’s only $4 right? Well if you add those cups of coffee together you’ll realise that it’s probably one of your biggest expenses. Try making your own at home or switch to tea/water.
As the year goes by, your budgeting and expenses will change, do a quick reassessment to see if you’re hitting your goals you set for yourself at the start, if not, it’s time to rebudget!
Have a quick look to see if the new tips that you are implementing are actually saving you money. If not, time to go through your expense tracker with a fine tooth comb and see where the money is running off to.
Remind yourself everyday about this dream, stick an image of the place you want to go to on your wall or mark it on your calendar and get a countdown app for constant motivation to stick to your plans. Saving money might be hard, but you can do it if you set your mind to it!