First and one of the most important new habit we input to our “saving mode” was to record EVERYTHING we spent money on.
For 14 months we have been keeping track of every expense, big and small, and by doing this consistently, we spotted where we spent the most and what we needed to avoid. You can use an Excel file as we did at first, but a great iPhone app made our tracking even easier.
Erin and Simon from Never Ending Voyage developed a great app called Trail Wallet. It is an amazingly useful expense tracker that you can use while saving at home or budgeting while travelling. You can log your expenses really quickly, create daily or monthly budgets, assign categories, and export as CSV and backup to Dropbox. An excellent app to use every day.
The following 5 actions are the ones that worked for us. Thanks to them we have been able to save 70% of our two incomes. So, what exactly can you do to start saving money for your long-term travels?
1. Stop smoking (or any other unhealthy habit)
The best ever decision you can do for your body and mind. Make a plan as we did, and put money you would use for cigarettes in a special jar every day. Check it at the end of the month for a nice surprise… We wish we could see your happy face. Now, can you imagine what you’ll find in the jar in one year? Well, we guess that after a couple of months, you will need to change the size of the container, too.
2. Stop going out frequently and invite friends to your place.
We know, at a certain age it is difficult to say to yourself is time to forget about the pleasure of going out on a regular basis, but trust us, you can have the same fun when you either reduce your dinners and drinks out, or cut other social gatherings down to once per month. At the beginning, we went to eat out only now and then, but after 2-3 months we have started to invite friends to our place and cook for them instead. We were still having a social life while spending much, much less. Highly recommended!
3. Start to produce your own food
After you go through your list of expenses, you will definitely find something you can make or prepare by yourself. Thanks to a friend who gifted us a starter of precious Pasta Madre we started to cultivate our own sourdough, which we used for bread, pizza, focaccia and cakes. In the spring and summer season, we made homemade pesto from wild garlic and basil. We also grew our own strawberries and aromatic herbs on the balcony, which did not take much space or time.
4. Pick the herbs for your tea… or salad
Just do a quick search on the Internet or ask your mum, grandma or a friend which herbs are good for tea and find a location near your place or town that is not close to the road or any factory. Starting around May in northern Europe, there are dozens of plants and herbs to be found in forests and meadows that can provide a full table of healthy snacks, salads and delicious tea. Some of the most common in Europe are nettle, dandelion, chamomile, yarrow, mint, and wild garlic.
5. Before buying something, think twice.
Consider twice, or better three times if the thing you need to buy is a ‘must’ have. We followed an advice of Paul McKenna in his “I Can Make You Rich’. And however commercial the title might sound to you, his suggestion was worth gold. In practice, whenever we felt fancy to buy anything, we asked ourselves if it is ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’:
A: it is absolutely necessary
B: I want it, I need it, but I can wait (and maybe I will change my mind)
C: I want it, but is really unnecessary.
For us it worked perfectly and after consistently going through this process, we could see how much stuff we would have bought compulsively without even thinking.
While on the road
In case you are a digital nomad or long-term travel is your lifestyle and you need to save money while being on the road, one of the ways how you can save some bucks is to use the best companies to send money abroad. Maybe you’re supporting your family back home, or you need to send money internationally for other reason, so consider using some of their services.
Also don’t forget that your money will last longer if you stick to cheap places when traveling.
All in all, these actions helped us to save for our trip. Honestly, at the beginning they required some effort, but being diligent and consistent they became part of our daily life, and we believe you can make them a part of yours, too.
Do you have any tips to save money for travel that have worked for you? Please share in the comments below.