Previously we talked about how to go about saving money to travel more often. As you might have realized it’s a bit of both – science and art. And it requires a whole load of commitment as well. And I ended that post with an assurance to give your practical advice on where all can you save money. So here are I am doing just that.
Personally I never had to use many of these bits of advice. The reason being my expenses were low. I rarely went out to movies, never fell for the latest gizmos neither did I have any in first place to upgrade when a latest version came along. In fact the only things that I’d spend (mind you not splurge) was books and eating out at better restaurants. Thus when I hit the road last January I had enough money in the bank to keep my financial worries at bay for a while. But, enough of my story. Here’s how you can do it to.
1. Avoid buying the latest gizmos
One thing I see a lot of people spending money on is trying to fulfill their gadget lust. The latest LED TV or newest X Box or the coolest smartphone in the market. And none of these come cheap. The money spent on each of these can fund your travels ranging from a few weeks to a few months depending on your style of travelling or the destination. On the other side there is no point buying the latest X box if you do not have any time in your busy schedule to play or if you are going on a yearlong RTW trip. It will just lie next to your TV in the living room gathering dust while you are banging your head at work throughout the week or travelling across the world.
2. Stop spending so much money on the clothes.
I’ll tell you something that might shock you. You know the amount of time and money that we spend on wearing clothes that fit perfectly or match well with our shoes or jackets. You know what? People do not even notice that. That’s not me saying. That’s what people who ran and/participated in the social experiment called Six items or less had to say. The basic premise of the experiment was that you had only 6 items of clothing (from your entire wardrobe) to choose and wear from for a period of month or so. It was inclusive of shirts and trousers (or tops and bottoms) but the undergarments did not count as a part of the 6 (thankfully). Google it if you do not believe me. And give it a try to see it for yourself. I have only discovered this recently and did not have a chance to try it. But over the last few months many of my friends have got married and I have worn the same kurta to every wedding and nobody’s noticed. Given the thing that its occasions like these when you are keenly observed.
Additionally there is not point filling up your wardrobe until the doors crack open. There will only be a limited amount that you’ll be able to carry. And dragging a heavy suit case or carrying a heavy backpack will only result in you being unable to enjoy your journey to the fullest.
3. Say no to Mall, Meal and Multiplex routine
Look back on how many times you went to the mall over the last one year and how much cash you spent on each visit. I am betting that it will be at least 1000 rupees. A movie ticket at the weekend costs at least 300 rupees and another 200 during the movie on popcorn and cola and inadvertently this visit with friends is followed by a lunch or dinner that will dent a hole in your pocket by at least another 300 rupees. You might say that’s just 800. Well, who paid the fare for taxi/auto or the fuel and parking for your bike/car?
And then there are those times when you just walk into a store to kill your time before the movie starts and you end up picking up that T-shirt or those sneakers when this amount goes way beyond what I mentioned. A better idea would be to cook some dinner, invite a few friends over and rent a DVD.
4. Drink at Home
Just because I do not drink I won’t advise you to give up alcohol. That would be blasphemous. Instead what I’d advise you is to drink at home. A beer at a restaurant, I’ve noticed costs anywhere between 2-3 times of what it would if you bought it from a store. And then there are services charges, taxes and the generous tips that you give to the waiter just because you are so tipsy (excuse the pun). These extras itself can buy you another pint or two.
5. Three words – Do it Yourself.
Check out the internet and you can see that you have a DIY guide to a lot of things that you can make using everyday trash or easily available materials. And the costs of creating that product are ridiculously low. From camera pouches to Laptop sleeves to backpacks you have a DIY guide on Youtube. Being able to recycle the trash lying around is a wonderful way to be ecologically sensitive. And of course there is that pleasure of creating something and then being able to show off. Who knows, you might get so good at it that you can creating a thriving business out of it that can fund your travels.
As I said during one of my earlier posts, some of the advice that I give you in the Travel More, Live More series are not exclusively applicable to fulfill your travel related dreams. And you’d notice that in this case the tips that I shared are equally helpful in putting some money in the bank before you go full time into your dream business or taking that career break to volunteer in Africa. So now, if you think money is a problem for, you’ve at least got an idea on where and how to start saving some. So the next time you have the impulse to buy something, just think about if this will really help you in saving up for your dreams or will it set you back. Then go ahead and make that decision.