It’s winter. Most of the year’s public holidays are already done. You’re dreaming of a getaway. Long story short, it’s time to get yourself to another city, state or country for a holiday.
But what’s that? You have an empty piggy bank, owe some money or just don’t have enough dollarydoos in savings? Depending on your circumstances, saving up for a holiday fund – even if just for a short or local getaway – is a reasonably achievable goal, but it does involve a few sacrifices.[related_articles]59116,18623[/related_articles]
We promise though that when you’re lying on a Greek beach with a cocktail/hiking a glacier in Patagonia/eating all the dumplings in Hong Kong you will realise how totally worthwhile saving for travel can be.[listicle]
Sort Out Your Weekly Budget
This is basic, but heaps of people get paid on a Thursday and have no idea where all their money went a week later. Hit up an online planner like this one from the Australian Government and pop in your salary, as well as all your outgoing expenses. Be honest, too – it might just help you work out where you can save a few dollars each week or fortnight.
Another tip is to pay all of your big expenses (bills, rent, credit card etc) the day you get paid. Put some aside into a dedicated savings account, and then withdraw exactly how much money you have left to live off for the rest of the week in cash. There’s nothing like handing over a crisp pineapple to make you realise the real value of your cash – paying for things on cards all the time can make you forget that it’s actually real money at stake.
Try A Coin Jar
Every day when I walk in the door of my apartment, I empty out the coin section of my purse into a coin jar. That little pile of cash adds up surprisingly quickly. Don’t be tempted to grab a handful of silver to pay for your morning coffee – this could be the moolah that pays for your espresso in Rome.
It’s also surprisingly satisfying to haul the heavy bags of coins to the bank to be counted – you sort of feel like the Hamburglar.
Saving Coffee Money
Speaking of your morning coffee – stop it. Try and convince yourself that, no matter how delicious it might be, it’s an addiction that’s draining your wallet. With an average price of roughly $3.50 for a cappuccino in Australia, six of those bad boys a week is costing you $21, or about $105 a month. Saving that, rather than spending, could mean the cost of a flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Over six months? Cut out the takeaway coffee and you’ve pocketed over $600. If you must still caffeinate – instant coffee isn’t *that* bad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you… well you know the rest. But seriously, these tins of nutritious legumes are delicious and shockingly cheap. Simmer a tin of four-bean-mix with tomato paste, tinned diced tomatoes, spices and other veggies to make a basic chilli for four people for under $8. Use them to extend a beef casserole to feed a crowd for less. Google “budget bean recipes” and marvel at all the other options. I feel like I seriously saved for an apartment deposit and five holidays this exact way.
No, not actual bees – do not cook actual bees. What we mean here is an organised day or evening where you and your mates gather to prepare a few meals to cook and divvy up for your respective freezers. It’s obviously best to do this with buddies who have similar tastes/allergy requirements to you but it’s also a really fun night in.
Last week two pals and I met up at my place and made a chicken casserole, the filling for beef tacos and a curried pumpkin soup. We all took home two serves of each meal in containers for the freezer and shared the costs for the ingredients. I got a week’s worth of dinners for the amount I’d normally spend on one cheap takeaway meal.
Back in school, packed lunches were the bomb. A sandwich, maybe a mandarin, some Dunkaroos and a frozen popper in summer – what bliss! Take yourself back to those glory days (and save some serious coin) by taking your own lunch in to work or uni. Leftovers from last night’s dinner are great, or just quickly whip up a basic sandwich to get you through the day. Considering that a CBD lunch often costs more than $10, that’s a pineapple a week you can potentially put back into the bank.
My mates and I worked out early on that most streaming services can be watched/listened on a few different devices at once, so now one of us pays for Netflix, another pays for Stan and a third sorts out the Spotify. We share the log-in details and get maximum content for minimum spend. We also share things like handbags and accessories so we can stay fashionable for less. We’re saving a lot every week with this little sharing trick.
Sell, Sell, Sell
There’s nothing like a solid clean out of the wardrobe to try and earn a few more bucks. First, check the pockets of all winter coats/jeans for any mislaid lobsters, then put anything you think you might be able to sell onto eBay (be careful to add appropriate postage fees or else you’ll lose your profits fast). Teaming up with a few mates for a garage sale or market stall can also work.
If nothing else, you might find a few things in the back of the closet you’d forgotten you owned that you can wear on the weekend.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you back yourself into a save cave, it can be hard to see daylight at the end (and you might just give up altogether). So my number one saving tip is to occasionally reward yourself – draw up a chart with your savings goal at one end and regular little milestones along the way and when you meet them go ahead and reward yourself. Whether it’s a great gelato cone, a meal out with mates or a fantastic new book, have a (little!) splurge and be proud as you watch that back balance continue to tick on upwards.[/listicle]
(Lead image: Lee Hans / Unsplash)
Bonnie Sutherland is a children's puppeteer whose show takes her around the world. She lives for food, new and weird experiences and giggles.