When you want to jet off to somewhere far, far away (or to Bali), you need a healthy bank account. And if you’ve been busy living your best life, you probably have a fair few expenses. But if you don’t have a trust fund and aren’t particularly keen on working while you travel, you’ll need to make some sacrifices to get those numbers stacking up in your savings. It’ll all be worth it: every cent you save can go towards another flight, another city stopover, and another amazing meal.
We’re not going to tell you to be a social hermit, make your own lunch every day and pass up $20 cocktails – though all of that helps.
- Put your change in a jar. This is one of my favourite tricks. I can’t stand the sound of coins jingling around in my wallet, so when I get home every day, I dump them into a jar or piggybank (I prefer a piggy bank, just for the dramatic effect of smashing it open when it’s full). At the end of the year, I take the coins to the bank and usually have close to $1000!
- Reward yourself. Take your coin-collecting a step further and have a separate ‘pat on the back’ piggy bank. So, whenever you decide not to buy something – like an ice-cream or Gold Class movie ticket – toss some cash into the jar, or better yet, throw in everything you saved. The #pleblife pays off!
- Say bye to your barista. Say you spend $4 every morning on coffee (and we’re talking a no-frills order – forget it if you’re ‘fancy’/a barista’s pet peeve). That adds up to $1460 a year. That’s a return flight to the US! Plus, a homemade brew tastes even sweeter when you know it’ll buy you a coffee in Italy/Amsterdam/London. If giving up your coffee is simply not an option, try ditching those other extras that you can make at home, like smoothies.
- Sharpen your hostessing skills. So, you’re a social butterfly who flits around from one event to the next. No worries! Instead of going out to dinner and drinks 1, 2, 3 times a week with your friends, invite them over for a homecooked meal. To save even more money, make it a potluck – everyone brings a plate and/or a bottle of wine, and voila!
- Pre-game like a pro. When you’re planning a night out, plan a little pre-game action, too. Half the time, it’s the best part of the night, where the goss goes down as fast as the drinks. And when it’s time to venture out, you’ll be nicely buzzed, not playing ‘catch up’ with $12 vodka sodas.
- Take advantage of happy hours. While we’re on the subject, be strategic about boozing. If you’re in the mood to go out for drinks, try to hit a cheap and cheerful happy hour – and if it’s Margarita Monday, order a margarita! Don’t be the knob sipping on a glass of wine.
- And discounted movies. Tuesday nights are such a non-event, so who cares if you go to the movies? Tight-ass Tuesdays for the win.
- Cut down on takeaway fees. Eating out is expensive, but sometimes, it’s necessary. If you need to get takeaway, opt to pick it up yourself rather than getting it delivered – those fees really stack up! Or, limit yourself to restaurants with free delivery or without a minimum order amount.
- Bulk cook. Obviously, cooking for yourself is an easy way to cut expenses. To up the ante, make bigger batches of food – that way, you’ll have a few meals lined up, and save time and money. Because we know you have better things to do than slave away in the kitchen.
- Invent your own ‘dry’ month. There’s Dry July and FebFast, but if you’re keen to pinch a few pennies in April, do you. And as you’re sipping on your lemon, lime and bitters, don’t be bitter – just dream about enjoying that bottle of wine (or tequila shots) on your holiday.
- Forget about the new iPhone. Or Samsung/laptop/TV etc. Chances are, the tech gadgets you already have work just fine, so don’t get lured into the flashy ads that make you feel like everything you own is outdated.
- Automate your savings. Saving is simpler when you don’t have to think about it. Most banks allow you to set up regular transfers from your everyday account to a savings account. Chat with yours, and choose a monthly amount you probably won’t miss, like $100.
- Give that account a motivating name. Speaking of savings accounts, give yours a name that reminds me of your vacay, like ‘Coachella’, ‘New York’, or ‘Mexico.’ The mind is a powerful thing.
- Paint your own nails. There are certain beauty tasks that should be left to the experts, like brow tinting and dyeing your hair. But you can DIY others: think facials, waxing, and manicures (except if you have a job interview).
- Sell your clothes. As people who work in fashion, don’t worry – we’re not going to suggest you stop buying clothes. Rather, sell your old ones! You can go the traditional route and hire a stall at the local markets, or you can try eBay, Instagram, or apps like Basic Space.
- Downsize. The way you downsize, and how much you downsize, comes down to your lifestyle and travel plans. For example, if you’re buying a one-way ticket with no real return date, you might downsize your home by getting a smaller/cheaper place, a housemate, or even moving back in with your parents. If you’re trying to fund a few months’ travel, you can downsize your wardrobe, furniture, TV and so on till you have a little room to breathe.
- Embrace clothing rental sites. Rather than forking out for a new Zimmy for every wedding (is it just me, or is everyone getting married this year?!), just hire it. Sites like Rent the Runway have a huge selection of dresses just waiting for a night out. You’ll not only slash the cost of that special occasion outfit, but you’ll also have fresh photos for the gram.
- Hold a swap or sell party. Keep it within your clique, and throw a party where everyone brings clothes that don’t fit, don’t suit them, or haven’t been worn and sells or swaps them for deeply discounted prices. Or, start your own ‘rent a wardrobe’ scheme. Bonus points if it’s stocked with Showpo pieces. 😉
- Cut back on subscriptions. Download the app Hiatus – it trolls your bank account and tells you about all the subscriptions you’ve signed up to (and probably forgotten about). You can then keep the essentials, like Spotify and Netflix, and Hiatus will cancel the rest on your behalf.
- Be creative on your commute. Can you walk to work? Do it! You’ll get your glow on, sneak in some fitness, and feel smug all before 9am. If you’re a sweaty type, just walk home – you’ll still slash the cost of your commute in half. Otherwise, opt for public transport over driving, or hitch a ride with a colleague who’s swinging past anyway.
- Limit using your car. Let’s talk about that set of wheels. To save petrol and money for travel, use your car on the weekends only. And when you’re sitting on the bus to work, compare car insurance policies to see if you can score a cheaper deal.
- Turn off your data. You know when you’re overseas, and you dash into every Starbucks just to use their WiFi? Apply the same principle at home, and stick to WiFi or switch off your data when you get the text about ‘buying 10G more.’
- Quit the gym. Train in the great outdoors and work out at home with the help of online classes and apps.
- Buy food in bulk. Hello, Costco!
HEADER IMAGE BELONGS TO @gypsea_lust
Words by Katia Iervasi.