I like to play a game. Whenever I see an article pertaining to be that groundbreaking advice we all desire on ‘how to save money to travel’, I like to check if they’ve recommended I ‘don’t buy coffee at a coffee shop’. Oh they have? Fuh-ucking revolutionary. I celebrate my successful prediction with a coffee, from a coffee shop. And enjoy every drop of that overpriced elixir.
The problem is, saving money to travel isn’t as simple or straight forward as cutting back on your expensive lifestyle. These advice articles suggest that you have one in the first place – that I have a fancy enough lifestyle to make buying coffee from a coffee shop a financial problem for me. As a digital nomad I now drink as shed load of coffee – for the Wi-Fi, coffee shops are my office – but honestly, I don’t think I even liked coffee until I was 27ish. I never ‘went for coffee’ as a university student and as a teenager, there wasn’t a coffee shop to be seen in my village. So HOW would I have saved that money before hey?
Learning to mindfully spend
I think, if you want that coffee, you have it – if it really means that much to you. To save money for travel, or anything in fact, it’s all about mindful spending. Things like coffee, or taxis, or clothes, or shop lunch over home lunch, can be habitual. You’re not even thinking about what you’re doing when you hand over that cheeky fiver. It’s just a fiver hey? But that could go a long way elsewhere, especially when those cheeky fivers add up to a brazen 50.
I spend a lot on travel, obviously, but to be able to do that I don’t buy many things. Like, I don’t have housey keepsakes, or even own anything worth over £50 that isn’t a laptop, sunglasses or a camera. One of my friends has a ton of possessions in her house, and a car, and spends loads on hair stuff and make up, and then she asks me how I afford so much travel. Priorities my friend.
Saving money to travel
I have to be super mindful about spending. I spend on food and drink – the taste makes me happy, it’s satisfying in my belly, it’s even a necessity, and then it’s gone. Whereas whenever I buy any-thing, I either have to carry it round with me in my luggage or it goes in those few boxes in my parents’ loft. Do I really want anything that much? To be honest, the answer is usually no.
Saving money to travel isn’t necessarily about depriving yourself of things that genuinely make you happy – chilling in a coffee shop, drinking with friends, meals with your partner, a new top for a night out – but reassessing what genuinely makes you happy and what’s just a filler or a habit. Once you’ve separated the two you know exactly what you can save on and what you can splurge.
Mindful spending while travelling
Mindful spending – thinking about whether you really, really want to hand over that hard earned cash for what you’re about to buy – is a good lesson to learn for your travels too. The less you feel you need whatever it is your mindful spending mentality deems ‘junk’ in your life then you’ll have more money as you travel, meaning you can go further for longer.
If you learn to be happy with less – cooking your own meals, walking or cycling places rather than paying for tubes and taxis, or just really loving the possessions you have rather than buying something because it’s cheap – you will naturally save money on what you don’t need and consciously invest in things you genuinely want.
Will buying this make my life any better?
Ask yourself how you’ll feel if you buy the item or experience, during, and after. If there’s any negativity, don’t bother. This way you’ll really get to learn what’s important to you and what you, as an individual, like to invest your money in, rather than what any external influence has subconsciously pressured you into.
- Going out with friends – depends who they are, but usually.
- A drink – yes, just have a beer and make it last.
- A tenth drink – no
I could tell you to stop going out, work your ass off, don’t buy clothes, eat out of supermarket rubbish bins and become a coupon queen – all good advice, for some, but that’s going to make you pretty miserable. And in my opinion, misery is a false economy. At some point you’re going to bust out that credit card to treat yourself, because you deserve it. And your savings goals are ruined.
Invest in mindful spending, just ask yourself…
Do I really want to buy this?
Is it going to make my life any better?
Will I even remember I wanted it tomorrow?
You’ll have your answer, and most likely, a few extra quid to spend on your travels. Let me know how you get on!