Are you thinking about quitting your job, packing a bag and heading off to see all of the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing? Raising the cash to do it might seem quite daunting but it’s a hell of a lot easier when you make a plan, here’s how….
Set a realistic budget
You’ll need to set yourself a plan to help you save up before you go, we’d recommend giving yourself at least 12 months
And then you’ll need to think about having a budget and a plan whilst you’re travelling.
This was quite difficult for us as we’re spontaneous and rarely think about the consequences. However we managed to be pretty realistic with our budget and made sure there was PLENTY of flex in it.
Once we decided to sell the majority of our possessions it was easy to not buy anything other than food and lift passes.
Pay off any debts
Like most people these days we had a bit of debt and figured there wasn’t any point making a savings plan without a debt plan first. Everything was documented on a spreadsheet so we knew exactly how much had to be paid to our debt each month and when we would be debt free. It was a brilliant feeling when we reached debt free status and we were weirdly excited about starting to save!
Move in with Mum
Not everyone will be in our position but Helene and I were each living in our own houses when we met so were really used to living in our own mildly OCD spaces. For most of us, your monthly mortgage/rent payment will be your biggest outgoing so biting the bullet and moving back in with the parents is a seriously quick way to increase your savings potential.
During our year of saving we lived with Helene’s mum, my mum, my sister, on a military base and with a friend. There was a spell where we were living 500 miles apart, it was challenging but we knew it would be worth it.
Car boot sales
I love a good car boot sale! We did four in the end and each time we were surprised with how much crap we still had to sell. ‘Most’ of them were really successful and we came back with empty boots and a few hundred quid in the bum bag. We knew the main goal was to ‘get rid’ so towards the end of each boot sale we were selling stuff for 10p.
eBay and Gumtree
eBay is a great way to shift unwanted stuff but just bear in mind that the charges can be quite high, especially for large items. We prefer Gumtree; Helene managed to empty her entire house of furniture within one morning, it was so much fun! I sold my car and both our bikes on Gumtree. Don’t give out your address though, we gave people our postcode and met them on the street (never alone).
Looking after those hard earned pennies….
So you’d think that once we’d hit our savings target the hard work would stop. The next step though was deciding how to manage our finances whilst on the road. Opting for a joint account to manage our incoming rent payments and outgoing mortgage payments made it really easy to monitor all of our dosh while on the move.
Choosing someone reliable back home to monitor incoming letters and emails whilst in remote places was also a sensible idea…..thanks Dad!
In the current economic climate it’s difficult to find any savings account with a decent rate of interest, especially one which lets you access your money instantly. In the end we opted for ease of transfer over a high interest rate and split our money between a Halifax ISA and NS&I Premium Bonds.
It’s been really easy transferring money between our ISA and Premium Bonds and our Fair FX accounts.
After a ton of research we decided to each get a Fair FX Everywhere card. You can use it like a debit card and as it’s a Mastercard you can use it in every country in the world. It has a really simple app and topping it up is simple and instant. It has the best rates and is much better than using your debit or credit card.
We don’t use these any more since paying off our debts but you will need one when you’re travelling. Mainly for emergencies such as booking a flight home when you’ve run out of money, securing a hire car or booking a 5* hotel room for a night because you’ve had enough of sharing dorms with smelly 20yr olds!
We picked a card with a good air mile system, something we hope to reap the rewards of later.
We saved £14,000 between us for 9 months of travel through South America and Canada, including a few weeks of snowboarding, some luxuries and a lot of flights!