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Weird Money Saving Strategies I’ve Tried In The Name Of Travel

Weird Money Saving Strategies I’ve Tried In The Name Of Travel


From unplugging your appliances when they’re not in use to timing your showers and only grocery shopping on a full stomach, there are infinite weird and wonderful ways to save money for your next adventure.

I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve tried a lot in the name of scraping together holiday funds. Some make you feel like a bad person (like intentionally leaving your bank card at home on a night out, but then having your nice friends offer to pay for you anyway) and some make you feel like a total scrooge (like eating dinner in total darkness to save on energy bills).


But I’m not a terrible person, I swear! I just want to go on holidays. I know you understand. So, here, I’ve broken down the logic behind a few of my more successful efforts. Go forth and prosper.

#1 The envelope system

Image: Joanna Kosinska

First, I figure out exactly how much money I need to survive until my next pay cheque. Then, I put all the rest in savings. I divide the money I have to spend up into envelopes and tote each one around for a week.

Because I only have the envelope money to play with, I need to be particularly vigilant or risk not having enough money to get a cab home on a night out. It’s not cute, but it does work.

#2 The highlighter chart

Let’s say you want to save $10k in a year. That’s $28 per day.

This strategy involves drawing a large grid on a piece of cardboard (the kind you used to use for school projects). Each square represents one day, so, in this case, you’ll need the grid to have 365 squares. Then, every day, transfer $28 from your bank account into a high-interest savings account and colour in one box in with a highlighter to signify the saving.

Yes, you could just put an “X” in the box, but a pink highlighter is more fun.

I know it sounds bizarre, but it’s actually a brilliant way to make yourself more conscious of where you spend your money – whether it’s buying magazines before your train ride home or blowing $30 on a pub lunch when you’ve got leftovers in the fridge.

#3 The DIY life

Image: David di Veroli

Making your own face masks is fun when you’re a teenager at a sleepover, but I’m an adult woman with too real concerns about ageing. Foregoing my long blacks for freeze-dried coffee was a piece of cake, but trusting in the power of honey and egg whites over scientifically-formulated sheet masks? This plan of attack was rife with questioning.

Still, it’s worth giving it a shot. Do your research and be careful – you might just discover a cheap-as-chips and au naturale skin-care regime.

#4 The market slog

Too many times in my life, I’ve agreed to rent a market stall with a friend and then thought about faking my own death to get out of it. Usually, I spend more money on gozleme and parking than I actually make for the whole torturous experience, but when I fronted up to sell almost all of my possessions before moving overseas, I made a very nice little wad of cash.

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#5 The no-vino zone

Image: Stefan Johnson

It’s not my favourite approach, but I have to admit it’s pretty effective. It usually takes one scan of your bank statements for you to see how quickly buying drinks adds up. If you stop drinking, even just for a month, you’ll dodge having to buy rounds, split a bottle of wine, and the inevitable fast food run that comes at the end of the night.

#6 The parent trap

Warning: pursue this strategy at your own risk. Transferring cash into a parent’s account every pay cheque is pretty effective (at least, it is if your dad is uber-sensible and a touch frugal like mine. Love you, Dad!), especially so if you set up a direct debit on the day you get paid, because you’ll lose track of the transfer and, at a way later date, be pleasantly surprised by how much you’ve managed to save.


Also, the awkwardness of asking for the money back after you’ve just transferred it is enough to inspire you not to shop online.

(Lead image: Christine Roy)

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