We made the decision to take the plunge and go travelling at the end of April. At this point, Ollie was still slaving away for A Levels, so we only had one full time and one part time job between us until the end of July. This gave us just over 7 months of saving until we commenced the trip of a lifetime, planned to be open ended so that we can just scurry home when we are bankrupt.
So, how have we managed to save enough to fund this trip, along with everything we need for it (eg the 3 pairs of trousers that were a deffo for me)? We are blessed with the ultimate saving help; living with parents. I am really lucky and have a lovely mum who doesn’t make me pay rent at this point. The same applies for Ollie’s parents, and we travel around between these houses. I completely appreciate how lucky we are for this and how much this has aided our savings, as literally no one else I know has ever been able to save whilst living rent free.
For me, this means that literally 100% of my earnings go into our little travel savings account. Until a few weeks ago, I have been working in a restaurant, so my tips have covered any transport costs to ferry myself around. As for Ollie, he has got a few costs to cover as he has a cute little motorbike. (In case you’re interested, I’m now doing some temp work in an office, and now must be taken seriously as a business woman). (I should probably add here that I’m literally working for Flybe dealing with complaints emails; I’m not exactly power dressing and applying for The Apprentice here. Having said that, I have my own signature at the bottom of my emails which makes me a fully fledged adult).
We have gone about saving in the harshest way, and have basically banned ourselves from doing anything for all of this time. We waved goodbye to our social lives, and see a cuppa in a cute coffee shop as a massive treat. Needless to say, my Instagram has taken a huge knock.
There have been a lot of nasty 50 hour working weeks; sometimes 13 hour days; shifts starting at 5.30 in the morning and some not ending until gone midnight. We have missed out on endless classic nights out in Timepiece and watched a few too many episodes of The Chase, enjoying it a little too much. All in all, our tactic was to save every penny we owned, which has been very full on. It’s been really frustrating when we can’t just pop out for a meal when we want some time together, and I can’t buy Ollie treats all the time and spoil him like a little puppy.
Luckily, Ollie has fabulous grandparents who also have an AMAZING house overlooking the sea in Tintagel in Cornwall, so we have managed to have little holidays without needing to spend more than a train ticket and the odd Ratler cider for Ollie’s grandad, Raymondo.
There are a lot of little things that we have noticed have saved mega bucks when we have cut them out.
- Stop buying coffee.
Ollie works at Starbucks so is pretty coffeed up, but it’s so easy to grab a coffee before work. However, when you’re seeing hostels in East India for £2 a night, it seems ridiculous to spend more than that on a hot drink. (This one has been sooo much more difficult than it should have been, with my work BFF Jazz getting an extra chocolatey hot chocolate every day and struggling to lead me astray at ever opportunity.)
- Make your own lunches and scrap the meal deal (RIP chicken stuffing sandwiches)
We have saved soooo much money through just eating before you leave the house, or taking last night’s leftovers to work for lunch. Having said this, my waistline is expanding at an alarming rate after the amount of peanut butter sandwiches I’ve scrabbled round making at 7am when I’m about to miss my bus and only just realising I forgot about lunch. I’m also a total hypocrite about this because this plan lasted about a week before I just searched for reduced sandwiches at the end of my lunch break.
- Stop buying each other gifts, as much as you want flowers for yourself
I’m a sucker for cute gifts (the best being a little toy fox called Lionel who is the ultimate cutie), but since I’ve stopped fattening Ollie up with presents, I’m spending so much less money. I just have to think about how much more impressive it will be when I can buy him a bungee jump or a night in a luxurious hotel somewhere, with the money that I have saved from not coming home with Toffeefes every day.
- Ditch the nights out and get particularly into Bake Off instead
It does make you feel like the most boring person on earth, but when you’re a generous drunk like me, going out less saves so much more money than you would think. It also makes it so much more of a treat when you can spoil yourselves and go out. It’s needless to say that Netflix has taken a rinsing from us in this time. Sorry, Firehouse, I’m not funding you by buying anyone sitting near me shots anymore.
- Deal with looking crap and wearing the same outfits on repeat
I go wild for a good bargain, even (/particularly) if it’s from the local charity shop, but I’ve had to deal with having no clothes and no opportunities to buy any more for months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as whiney as I could be about my homeless appearances but I literally can’t justify buying clothes. If something is £50, it’s basically 7 hours worth of working for me (or about 3 million complaints emails); and I know what I’d rather put it towards.
So, all in all, my main tip is literally putting aside everything to save if you’re keen enough. We realised that there would be no point in spending a year being miserable in jobs, dreaming of where we would rather be but not fully focussing on getting ourselves there. When your body is screaming out for a tan, but your bank account is screaming more worrying things at you, you just have to make the tan the focus and pass on nice meals and days out for a little while.
If you are as set on your trip as you think you are, you’ll be willing to look crap for a few months, because you don’t want to spend the money you could spend on a night in Indonesia on some conditioner for your horrific Afro (this may only apply to me).
Despite me saying all of this, I would advise to save in a less full on way than this. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a lot of grumpy, aggy days due to not feeling able to treat myself and all the people I love, and feeling like I can’t afford nice days out. Just relax a bit more, and Treat Yo Self in moderation.
With 40 days to go, every pay slip is getting more and more exciting; I just can’t wait for the hard work to pay off.