The Best Money Saving Tips for you to Travel Overseas Every Year
May 23, 2020
Want to travel the world but always complaining that you don’t have enough money? I’m a big believer of money saving tips as I want to travel the world NOW, not when I retire in my 60s. I currently have a full-time office job in Singapore but I plan out 3 to 4 vacations each year. With my average workmen salary, I am able to save up enough to visit amazing places such as Maldives and Hawaii. However, this came with a lot of planning and hard work on my finances. Not to mention, fighting to take annual leave from my job.
In this article, here my personal money saving tips which I find extremely effective. It comes from attitudethenaction. Attitude is what gets you started (which is why you searched for this post), while action is what gets you there. When there is action in place, you would have to hold it constantly till it becomes a habit.
Table of Contents
THE BEST MONEY SAVING TIPS: TO SAVE ENOUGH TO TRAVEL
1. Prioritise your expenditure
Before anyone can embark on these money saving tips for the purpose of being able to travel more, you will have to align your priorities. What is the most important to you now? Some would rather spend money on food over clothes. While others would rather spend on the latest technological products. Ultimately, you will have to prioritise what is the most important to you. Will you be willing to sacrifice your weekly clubbing activities? Will you be willing to resist buying that new branded bag?
For me, travelling is the most important. I’d choose it over going for that concert or eating at that restaurant or to a club to drink with my friends. I’d choose it over having a gym membership. Know your end goal, only then will you be able to control your expenses.
2. Set aside a budget
Once you’ve decided that travelling is one of your top priorities, the next money saving tip you need is to set aside an annual budget. Have a specific amount you would like to set aside each year for travel and stick to it. For example, I set aside SGD 6000 every year for my travel expenses. This is enough for me to take 3 to 4 vacations each year (depending on the region of travel too). This is important so that you do not over-spend on travel either and leave nothing for other basic necessities.
3. Track your expenses
You would probably have seen this money saying tip plastered all over the internet. There is a reason for it – it works. This money saving tip helps you to keep track of what exactly you are spending on. It also shows if there is any unnecessary expenditure that you should cut down on. Lastly, it tells you to stop spending when you see that you are about to hit your budget limit for the month.
Simply download any free money management app on your phone and actually USE IT. The one I’m using is called MoneyBoard and it works well if you’re looking for a recommendation.
In addition, before you start tracking your expenses, have a budget in mind for each month. Next, whenever you spend money, no matter how small of an amount it is (yes, down to that $0.01), key it into the app. Make sure you don’t go beyond your budget.
4. Cut down on unnecessary expenditure
Sometimes we fail to realise that all we have to do is to cut down on unnecessary expenditure. You have to remember that the little expenses here and there adds up. For example, buying a bubble tea drink, getting a new outfit (when your closet has plenty) or your gym classes. Check your expenses tracking app to monitor the areas that you can cut down on.
I personally do not own a gym membership. These memberships tend to range between SGD 80 – 90 per month. If we add it up, SGD 80 x 12 = $960. That’s the price of round-trip air tickets to Greece.
5. Cook your own meals
I try my best to eat at home whenever I can. Eating out is expensive and I personally love home-cooked meals. If you have no food at home and need to get a meal out? My advise is to find affordable meals to eat. There is no need for a fancy restaurant meal. Furthermore, try to limit your work lunches to $5 each day. Having an expensive meal everyday from Mondays to Fridays is extremely costly.
6. Cut down on drinks
This might be a money saving tip that tends to be neglected. Many of us like to buy a drink whenever we eat out. Be it a restaurant or a coffee shop. Even if the drink is just $2, it does add up if you buy it often. I always choose to drink water instead of getting a drink. Not to mention that it is also a lot healthier.
Next, I understand that you may need to get your daily coffee fix every morning. Especially if you are a Starbucks Gold member, it is really time for you to put a halt on this habit. You can easily get a substitute with your 3-in-1 coffee at home for just 1/5 the price of a Starbucks cup.
If lets say you drink Starbucks coffee 5 times a week, with 52 weeks a year. Averaging that one Starbucks cup is $5, the total spent on Starbucks in that year is 5 x 5 x 52 = $1,300. That’s the price of my entire trip to Bali last year. The little expenditures here and there really add up.
7. Out of sight, out of mind
This money saving tip might just be your lifesaver against temptation. Do you follow brand shops on Instagram? If yes, it is time for you to hit the unfollow button. I can relate that seeing the word SALE causes us to fall into the vicious cycle of consumerism. Unsubscribe to any promotion emails that will tempt you to click into the website as well. When it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.
8. Reduce transport expenses
I can bet many of you reading this are guilty of taking the cab often. Taking a taxi over public transport is probably x10 the cost. Hence, try your best to take the bus/train as much as you can. It is not waste of time travelling if you are making full use of your time. Read a book, catch up with the news or listen to a podcast. Take it as time set aside to improve yourself.
9. Know where to shop for necessities
Although saving money is important, we still have to spend money on essentials and daily necessities. An important money saving tip I’ve learnt is to always compare prices from various places before making a purchase decision. As there has been a dynamic shift of retail operations to e-commerce, it has become much more convenient for us to get our retail therapy.
For example, I love buying skin care products online. Yes it is an considered essential to me. Instead of getting my products from retail stores, I usually source for them on Shopee or Althea.sg. After comparing the prices, then I’ll make a decision to purchase. Note that prices online are not always cheaper so always remember to check as many places as possible. Other than skin care products, there are so many other products you can source for online. Be it electronics, clothing or even food & beverages.
10. Cut down on buying presents
Last but not least, cutting down on buying presents for your significant other may be one of the most neglected of the money saving tips. Of course its nice to buy a gift for the person you love but does it really have to be that $300 pair of air pods? Putting in the effort to create a heartfelt card would have meant so much more to me. This is just a tip you could consider, but I understand that every person and relationship is different.
THE BEST MONEY SAVING TIPS: TO REDUCE THE COST OF YOUR HOLIDAY
Now that you’ve saved up enough for your travels, it is time to actually plan out your trips. Having an extra SGD 5000 – 6000 per year saved would allow you to have 3 to 4 vacations a year. However, you will still need to plan out your travels well in order to keep within your budget. I have written a separate article on this so do check it out. It will tell you how to go about getting the best prices out of your trip – How to Travel on a Budget?
Here is a summary on the post if you’re too lazy to read it. These are the main money saving tips you can follow for any trip:
Reducing on flight, accommodation and transportation expenses
Reducing on flight – Buy your tickets during promotions. You can join the telegram chat called SG Travel Promos. Alternatively, use flight prices comparison websites such as Skyscanner, CheapFlights or Google Flights to find the lowest prices.
Reducing on accommodation – Stay in hostels if you are fine with it. Alternatively, do tons of research on Booking.com, Adoga, Expedia and Airbnb to find the best places. You can also use the itineraries on my blog to find out where to stay at. I only recommend cheap & good places that I’ve personally sourced out on my own.
Reducing transportation expenses – Booking airport transportation in advance instead of taking a taxi is cheaper in some places. Otherwise, take the public transport if you are ok with it. Using ride-hailing apps such as Uber is also a great alternative to taxis if you’re afraid of getting scammed in a foreign country.
Buying Travel Insurance
For any trip you go on, always remember to protect yourself against any unforseen unfortunate events. I personally like to use Insurance Market when picking out a plan. This is because the site allows me to compare prices across a selection of providers.
Even if you decide not to buy travel insurance, the least you should do is to get Car Insurance. This is of course, if you are renting a car. I need to stress the importance of this as I once had a friend that rented a car for his Iceland trip. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the engine and it broke down during their trip. They had to pay €9000 for the repair as they did not purchase an insurance plan. That amount of money is like what I would need to save for my annual vacations for the next 2-3 years.
On Not Earning Enough Money & Planning your Finances
It does not matter if you earn below the median income. It is not about how much you earn but how you manage your finances. People who earn more also tend to spend more. It is important to ensure that overtime, your % increase in expenditure does not exceed your % increase in income.
Aside from saving and budgeting, also learn to make your money work for you while you sleep. Take a day to sit down and analyse your finances. Ask yourself these questions.
1. How much liquid cash do you need? By which age will you be making big purchases? 2. Are you using a bank with good interest rates? 3. Are you investing smartly? 4. Are there any insurance plans you need / don’t need? 5. How much can you set aside each year for leisure – Travel? 6. Do you have enough for retirement? 7. How to reduce taxes (legally)?
The problem with many people is that they do not take the time to sort out their finances. It is important for you to plan 5, 10 ,20 years ahead. Once you’ve sorted out how much you need to save by ___ age, any excess savings can be used for leisure activities. If you’re a spend thrift and just can’t resist spending money unnecessarily? Then lock yourself into a savings plan. But remember to do proper research before locking yourself into an plans that require to commit for a certain number of years. You must understand where your money is going and how much you can gain from these plans.
Yes, although I said to prioritise travel at the start of this article, other factors such as buying your first home or retirement will still have to come first. Travel is leisure. I just choose to prioritise travel at the top of all other leisure activities / purchases. If you get what I mean?