Friends often ask me how we manage to go away as often as we do. Somewhere in the disbelief at yet another trip, is the inference that we must have loads of money to be able to do as we do.
Far from it! Our monthly earnings would not make an investment broker sit up straighter. Our going away often has less to do with earning pot loads, and more to do with living frugally so that we have money over for fun – i.e. travel.
Here are a few ideas on how to find the money for travelling – Our 15 tips on how to save for your next trip
ONE: MINIMISE DEBT
Many of us are so deep in debt that money for travel is out of the question. Pay off the bond as fast as possible, buy a second-hand, affordable car (for cash), cut up the credit cards and store cards…
TWO: CUT BACK ON DAILY TRAVEL
South Africans are two-car households, but there are ways to minimise car use: join or create a work lift club or car share so that cars are used on a rotation basis; use public transport as often as you can (if you can); drive outside of peak hour traffic so that you use less petrol; shop only once a week rather than popping out every second day for last minute purchases.
THREE: RENEGOTIATE INTERNET / SECURITY / INSURANCE
We annually renegotiate our car and household insurance, playing one company off against the other. It is also worth doing similar for internet access and home security call out, like ADT.
FOUR: DITCH THE CELL PHONE CONTRACT
Consider buying a phone for cash and using pay-as-you-go. Once you’re in a phone contract, you’re stuck and caught by the promise of the upgrade. But it’s an extra expense that few us really need.
FIVE: CUT THE COFFEE
That daily vida e caffé cup of coffee, as nice as it is, adds up. Do the maths – you could be spending as much as R400 a month on takeaway coffee. Multiply that by a year’s worth of cappuccinos, and you’ve got a holiday.
SIX: GET RID OF STUFF
Have a look around your home. There is plenty of ‘stuff’ you could sell on Ebay, Gumtree or to friends and family.
SEVEN: DO HOMEMADE PIZZAS ON FRIDAY NIGHTS
A stack of pittas, a dollap of mozzarella (grate it yourself), a good tomato paste, a few basil or rocket leaves, pop them under the grill and you’ve saved yourself at least R100 of the usual Friday night takeaway.
EIGHT: DITCH DSTV AND OTHER UNNECCESARY ITEMS
And that goes for gym contracts you never use, and bi-monthly manicures and Bulgarian blowouts (yes, yes I know they’re Brazilian, I just think the price tag is ridiculous!) too.
NINE: JOIN YOUR LOCAL
Library. If you’re an avid reader, you’ll save a small fortune on books, and may discover that your library is actually rather surprisingly well stocked with latest releases (even if you have to do the odd inter-departmental loan).
TEN: RENT OUT A ROOM
If you have a spare room in your house that could work easily for guests, advertise it. There are some excellent websites where people look for rooms in locals’ homes when travelling. It gives them a taste of the country, and allows you to meet people.
ELEVEN: DO STAY AT HOME COOK-INS
Instead of meeting up with friends at a restaurant, do a bring and share meal, or a cook-in where everyone helps prepare the meal.
Join the Community Exchange System (CES) www.community-exchange.org and trade your skills or offerings for others you need.
THIRTEEN: CHANGE YOUR BANK
To one that has minimal bank charges and good interest rates. We changed to Capitec and haven’t looked back.
FOURTEEN: CUT THE BILLS
Switch off your geyser during the day, and replace your light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs.
FIFTEEN: OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT
Put a monthly sum of money away before you do anything else, every pay day, and leave it in a fixed deposit – you’ll earn more interest.