Almost everyone I know say that they would love to travel, but 99% of the reasons why people don’t comes down to the same thing: MONEY.
I think the #1 trick to saving enough money to be able to afford something you really want is that you really need to want it. Otherwise finding the willpower to make the sacrifices necessary to save enough money is gonna be really tough.
Money is my #1 biggest concern when it comes to my year in Australia. The best way I could probably be saving money for my year abroad is by having a steady, full-time job here in Boston. Ironically, that’s the exact thing I am trying to avoid doing by embarking on my trip to Oz. So instead, I work three part time jobs and take every shift I possibly can.
I live at home but still find that I have a lot of random (and unavoidable expenses) that distract from the Oz saving. The first of which is something a lot of other people my age are also probably struggling with: student loans.
I do not want to have to worry about paying my student loan while I am out trying to have a good time in Australia. I know I am going to have enough to worry about money-wise while I am there. So for that reason, 100% of my pay from my job at a boutique in my town (about 10-15 hours a week) is direct deposited into a savings account dedicated to paying my student loans.
My goal is that by the time I leave for my year abroad I will have enough money saved in that account to cover my student loans for the entire year so that I won’t have to think about (i.e. stress about) paying my student loan each month that I am away. I opened a separate account with Santander to put this money into. I usually do banking with Bank of America but Santander was having a promotion where if you could direct deposit $500 into a new checking account with them within three months they’d give you $150. I opened my account with Santander on December 31st, 2015 and on March 6th, 2016 I had a “gift” of $150 deposited into my account from Santander— which I then used toward my GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition that I got off Groupon for $219 (marked down from $299 to $229 and then I searched around for a $10 off Groupon voucher… in the end I only spent $70 out of pocket for the $300 camera–score!).
The $150 promotion with Santander was such an awesome way to make money by doing absolutely nothing… I’m not sure if this promo is still going on but its definitely worth keeping an eye out for similar promos from different banks. I also opened a Travel Rewards credit card with Bank of America while they were doing a promotion that if you spent at least $1,000 with the card over the course of 3 months they’d add 20,000 extra points onto your card which worked out to be about a $200 credit toward anything travel related. I immediately handed the card over to my mom (because I trust her and I knew with her bills she’d be more likely to spend $1,000 over the course of 3 months than I would be) to use and got the 20,000 points in no time.
About 20 hours a week (28 if I can get extra hours) I work as a receptionist at SoulCycle, an indoor cycling studio. 75% of that pay gets direct deposited into a savings account specifically for Australia… visa costs, plane tickets, insurance, accommodation, everything. The other 25% of the SoulCycle pay gets deposited into a “life” savings account which is what I use to pay my American Express credit card bills/ is my emergency money in case all else fails in Oz. Direct depositing is KEY because on payday it does the work for you. The money was never in your checking account so it’s harder to spend. It’s automatically saved for you–how great is that!
I also have six or so families that call me on a regular basis to look after their children. These are the most unpredictable hours but also the best pay. I can make anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour babysitting. Some weeks I won’t be working a lot of hours at my other two jobs but I can make $100 in one evening of babysitting that makes it all better. My babysitting usually gets split pretty evenly between the “life” savings account and the Australia account.
The last way I make money is by constantly combing through my clothing and my possessions and selling anything I haven’t worn or used in more than a few months on eBay or Poshmark. There are a ton of articles for tips and tricks of cleaning out your closet, definitely give those a look if you’re thinking of doing this. It doesn’t make a ton of money but an extra $10 here and there for old t-shirts and sweaters I never wear anymore certainly doesn’t hurt!
Luckily, I live at home so I don’t have to pay rent to buy groceries. I definitely wouldn’t be able to travel to Australia if I didn’t have a full-time job and if I wasn’t living at home. My parents are not financially backing my travels–as in they certainly won’t be paying for my flight, my rent, my groceries, etc… but they are supporting it in the sense that I live rent free, eat for free and don’t pay car or health insurance.
My regular monthly outgoings are:
- $188/month for student loans
- ~$50 month for gas (all my jobs are a short drive from my house)
- $50/month medications/medical costs
- $10/month Spotify Premium account
- I probably spend $200-$300/month on random entertainment things
- $150/month on coffees/meals out/groceries, etc.
I try and use my American Express for absolutely every purchase I make. I don’t have a great understanding of what to do with American Express points but I know enough to know when it comes time to booking flights the points could potentially be extremely helpful!
The hardest thing for me is making sacrifices from other trips and day trips that I want to do between now and Australia. There is also a lot of temptation from friends as most social activities involve going for food or drinks. I try and combat this by inviting friends to go for walks on sunny days, or to work out with me at SoulCycle (I get to take classes and bring friends to take classes with me for free), or I pre-drink before a night out or order off the appetizers menu at dinner with friends. It does get awkward always being the most money-conscious one out of a group of friends, but generally people will understand why you’re reluctant to go out drinking if they know what it is you’re saving money for.
I won’t know if I’ve saved up necessarily enough money for Oz until I get there and do the damn thing but this is a start! It helps that with a working holiday visa the idea is you get a job while you’re over there, so you don’t necessarily need enough money to support yourself without working for an entire year, you just need enough to feel comfortable, safe, and be able to survive for a few months in case you don’t get a job right away!
My plan here probably isn’t perfect, but this is what I am doing! Anyone else have any tips or tricks for money saving before a big trip? Leave them below 🙂