A year ago we decided to start The Travelling Postcard, not because we wanted to make travel a major thing in our lives and not to generate an income from it, but because we wanted to set up our own business, something to call ours. Working in the travel industry for over 3 years, we thought we would give it a go. It's only after setting up the blog and started to write more and more, that our love for travel and wanting to see the world grew.
So how did we do it? I will be completely honest with you all as I believe its such an accomplishment for us both considering we were the type of people never to save a penny, not even for the rainy day. We decided to travel officially back in July, our flights are booked for the 9th March 2014, we had debts to cover before being able to save and we were really, really bad at saving.
How we managed to do it all:-
Create a Travelling Fund - Dedicate a completely untouchable account to transfer monies to as soon as you get paid. An account you cannot then touch once monies have been transferred over. I.E No Credit/Debit Cards!
Set yourself realistic goals - We earned a total of £2,878.00 between us a month and had £800.00 of debt (comprising of student loan, rents, pension schemes, life insurance and a car loan). We aimed to save £1500 per month.
Keep to your weekly budget - Setting myself a budget of £60.00 each per week was great to keep us on track. Each Friday we would transfer £60.00 to each of our accounts and then put away all the other cards we had (so we wouldn't be tempted to use them!) and then when each Friday came, if we still had money left over from the previous week, I would only just top up to £60.00 again (as opposed to adding another whole £60.00 to the account). Meaning that if there was anything left over we would save that little extra a week.
Re-organise social activities / lifestyle - I am completely in love with Dance, I have been dancing since I was about 11 years old but sadly this cost me £60.00 a month. I swapped it with the gym and running outdoors, whereby I could still get the exercise I needed, but costing me only £25.00 a month. Calculate your monthly variable expenditure and see where you can cut back.
Make your own lunches - We worked just outside of town and hardly ever brought our food from home, meaning we had to buy our lunches most days. This would amount to about £8 / day for us both, after a 5 day week £40.00, after a month £160.00 would be spent without even realising (equating to Dylan's loan payment). Bringing in our home cooked meals saved us a lot of money.
Sell any big expenses - To Dylan's disappointment we had to sell the car, it was costing us £221.00 a month and the loan for it wasn't ending anytime soon. Selling the car meant we were able to get rid of this loan in one go and we also managed to make a little profit on it (to help with our other debts!)
Banish or avoid what you cannot resist - For us its shopping. Clothes, clothes and more clothes! My family love the odd trip up Main Street in Gibraltar or mall in Spain and it was sometimes very hard to resist buying any clothes at all whilst seeing all the stores. Dylan and I thought about not going with them every time they went, but for us it was a great way of getting out of the house without spending much.
Work Overtime or get a Part Time job - Thankfully our job allowed us to work some weekends, though they didn't come often, but meant we could use this money a bit more on weeks where unsuspected costs arose and therefore, helped us keep to the £1,500 a month saving.
Sell your stuff - This was great to clear out my room as well as get a bit of extra cash. In Gibraltar, we have a Facebook page that allows people to buy and sell their stuff online, something similar to Ebay, but keeping it local to keep delivery costs to zero. It was fantastic to remove clutter and save a little extra.
Saving wasn't easy and as is life, we couldn't save the £1,500.00 like clockwork each month due to unexpected payments here and there, but we made it up with other activities mentioned above. Christmas for example gave us an excruciating dent to the savings as we have a huge family to buy gifts for. Saying this however, we changed the way we bought things, instead of having a £40.00 budget per person, we cut it down to £20.00 per person for their gifts. Thankfully though the way we got round this dent was by telling everyone we didn't want any physical gifts in return, if we were going to be given anything, please be it in cash so our spend pretty much cancelled out.
JUST MAKE THIS HAPPEN TOO
Saving money for anything is not easy, the world nowadays really makes it hard for you not to spend. It takes time, dedication and will power to push through. But the feeling of accomplishment and security for our travels makes it all worth it. If you have decided to make it happen like we did, you just save, save and save and you make that happen too!
Safe Travels Everyone,