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Travel Tips

How to save money (to travel the world or to do other things you want)

I have been asked many times how do I afford my travels. It is simple: I saved up. There is no magic in it; it is pure calculation. Therefore, in this post, I will give you some tips on how to save money to travel the world or to do other things that you want to. So, while we are locked up in our countries and can not travel far, it is a perfect opportunity to start saving now!

Disclaimer: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and if you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This costs you nothing and helps me to run this blog. To decide to buy something or not is entirely up to you. Read more here.

1) How to save money at home

Save up on electricity

  • Did you know that standby energy costs a household in Australia about A$100 in a year? Unplug all your unused electrics
  • Switch to solar energy or use led bulbs
  • Air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer: this will not only lower your electricity bills but also save your clothes from the damage
  • Wash your laundry cold, because it is the water heater that takes the most energy. Of course, not everything can be washed cold, but most of the things can

Save up on your household bills

Make a list of monthly bills you pay, for example, gas, internet, television. Then compare your providers with other suppliers on the market. Most of the people stick to their providers for years and do not review this decision later. So make sure that you currently have the best value possible!

Cut your abos and subscriptions

In the first step, decide which abos you undeniably need and which don’t. Quit those you do not need. In the second step, switch to annual plans, because they are usually cheaper. Besides that, you can try to share the subscriptions with someone, for instance, with your neighbour or your friend! Here is the list of abonnements you might have:

  • Gym membership: come on – we all know that you do not go to the gym as regularly as you wanted to!
  • Unlimited internet: maybe a limited version will be cheaper for what you need?
  • Credit card: do you need a credit card? You are probably paying a yearly fee just for having it. If you need one, check if there are other better options on the market
  • Amazon Prime: no one needs it
  • Adobe Cloud: maybe buying single tools instead of the whole cloud would be better?
  • Netflix: share it with someone!
  • Magazine subscriptions, club memberships, mobile apps, web hosting…

2) How to save money on online shopping

Online shopping can be cheaper vs. buying in a stationery shop. I once bought a backpack, and then I realised that I could buy the same one 40 per cent cheaper on the internet. Unfortunately, it was too late. If you want to order something online, look first for discounts or wait for sale:

  • Sign in and get % off for the first order
  • Subscribe for a newsletter and get promotional codes
  • Wait for sale: most of the online shops offer some discounts such as 20 per cent on everything or ‘no delivery costs’ regularly
  • Use pick and collect to save delivery costs
  • Search for vouchers in google, for instance, ‘voucher code for [nike] june’

3) How to save money on fashion

I honestly think that you do not need to buy any new clothes for the next years. Our wardrobes are full of clothes. Our mum’s wardrobe is even fuller, and it is in fashion now! And probably your mum doesn’t fit into it any more. I used to travel with 13kg backpack for a year, and I didn’t miss anything. Even now, I have just two pair of shoes and five outfits in total, and I come along with that pretty well! Here some tips for getting new outfits:

  • Fix the old! For instance, patches are so cool! You can use them to hide holes or stains
  • Do-It-Yourself: You can buy cheap materials and make dresses, skirts, shirts on your own using the grandmum sewing machine method! 
  •  Make an exchange party: reach out to your friends and tell them that everyone needs to bring 3kg of clothes that they do not like to wear anymore. Drink tee, exchange your wardrobe between all of you, save the money, the environment and have a good time!
  • Make a rule: Sell five pieces that you own and do not use anymore, and get one new in exchange. You can sell clothes online or on flee markets!
  • Buy second-hand: It is not only good for your wallet but also the environment

4) How to save money on transport

Walk or take a bike to save money. I have found interesting research that says: 

  • To own a car and drive to work (5km away) in the CBD five days a week, costs the average Australian around A$7,432 per year.
  • Taking the public transport to work in the CBD, the annual cost drops to an average of A$5,541, a saving of A$5,490 (or 50 per cent) compared to driving five days a week. In Perth, these costs drop even up to 60 per cent.

In short: public transport is cheaper than a car, but riding a bike is for free! 

5) How to save money on fuel

If you definitely need to use the car instead of the bike, because for example the distances are long and there is no public transport, consider this:

  • Drive slowly: The car’s engine needs a lot of power to overcome wind resistance and tyres transmission, and this leads to increased petrol consumption
  • Unloading your car: Carrying unnecessary kilos causes a loss in fuel efficiency
  • Use the fuel app to save cash: I am using petrolspy – this app shows me the cheapest petrol around me

6) How to save money on groceries and food

This is my favourite one! I love to save money in a grocery shop, and I am really good at it 🙂 I spend in average A$100 on food per week, and I eat healthy, fresh and tasty!

Before you go to the supermarket

  • Stop buying water! This is the most stupid thing that we humans have ever done: our earth is full of free water, but somehow we managed to fill plastic bottles with it, and sell it for a high price. Consequently, we produce trash and hurt the environment by doing so. In the first world countries, you can drink water from the tap, and if you do not like its taste, you can use a water purifying system. When you travel, use a portable water purifier such as Steripen (see on the right). I used it while travelling in Africa and India and it worked perfectly!
  • Prepare a shopping list – this will help you to buy only things that you need!
  • Never go to a supermarket when you are hungry. Yeah, everyone makes these mistakes
  • Grow your own herbs: have a look at this beginner guide
  • Do not buy snacks – make them

At the supermarket

  • Look for discounts and stay flexible with the brands you use. I buy things that are half price (it happens so often in Australia!), and I keep an eye for a label ‘reduced!’ – those are the products that are going to expire very soon, and the supermarkets need to get rid of them. I often find yoghurts for A$1 instead of A$5, just because they expire today or tomorrow (and do not worry about this date! Most of the time the product can be consumed later anyway – smell it and if it smells fine – it is fine!). I also buy meat from time to time, for a reduced price of up to 80 per cent
  • Consider the price per gram/litre/etc. and not the price per item. When I want to buy, for instance, coffee, I do not look at the price per item, but I look at the price per gram and then I compare it. The price per gram is written in small letters just below the price per item. I do the same with eggs, milk, noodles, and so on. Sometimes we tend to buy something because the item price is attractive, but this might be just a trick… Look closer! 
  • Keep an eye open at the checkout: Sometimes the discount doesn’t go through at the counter – make sure it does

After your groceries

  • Use the freezer: buying bigger things, such as 1kg cheese instead of 100 grams is cheaper. Nevertheless, I know how it is when you live in a single household – you just can’t eat 1kg cheese at once (or maybe you can?!). However, here is the secret: freeze it! Buy bigger things, portion it and freeze it. Have a look at this list on which food you can or can’t freeze
  • Eat leftovers: sometimes my breakfast doesn’t look super pretty (eggs with pasta from yesterday plus yoghurt!?), but it is undoubtedly cheap 😉 

7) How to save money each month by filling your piggy bank

  • Set up a saving account, make a goal for each month and put his amount on that account. Make this account not accessible for the next months (define it yourself, for example, one year)
  • Download here my free saving pdf plan to save $1,000 in 30 days 🙂

8) How to save money from salary and on taxes

  • I do not know the rules in Australia or other countries. Still, I can give you an example from Austria: every person can apply for a tax compensation each year, which means that the government pays you back if you paid too much taxes, or if you paid taxes for something you shouldn’t. One such an example is a donation
  • I have found this website that describes how to reduce your taxable income in Australia. However, I am not sure if it is true or not, so consume this information responsibly 😉 

9) Watch out for hidden costs of your credit or debit cards

  • Some shops impose a surcharge for customers who use a credit card. One such shop is ALDI in Australia – they charge you 0,5 per cent when you use a credit card. This means that you lose about A$300 each year, only by paying with your credit card every time you do groceries!
  • One other thing that I have noticed among travellers is that they have no idea about their actual credit or debit card costs. Some of my friends use their country card here in Australia, saying that they do not pay any fee. However, this is only partly true: It might be the case that your card does not charge you for any transaction (at the ATM or in the shop), but it surely does for the currency exchange – and this is expensive!  

10) Do not quit all the things you love, but find alternatives

Buying a takeaway coffee or a smoothie cost you around A$5-8 each time. If you tend to do it twice a week, this takes you A$500 – A$800 out of your bank account each year! You don’t have to stop drinking coffee, but you have to find alternatives. For example, you can make your beverage at home and take it out with you! Or make it fancier, and prepare your drink while you are outdoors 🙂

I use this moka espresso maker (see below) everywhere I go. In my campervan, I have a bigger camping stove, where I cook my coffee, but there are also smaller ones, like the one below from Coleman. You could even put this one in your backpack! And for smoothies you can just use this rechargeable smoothie maker – it goes with a USB plug 🙂

11) Do-It-All-Yourself

You can do almost everything yourself. And sometimes it is even a way nicer to make it with your own hands! Here some examples:

  • Gifts: why should you buy a present when you can make something on your own?!
  • Instruments: did you know that you can build for instance a guitar on your own? Check this video how to make one for $30!
  • Cosmetics: See how to make natural beauty products at home without spending hundreds of dollars at organic super bio natural overpriced shops

12) Set a monthly budget limit

I like to set up a monthly budget limit, but you can also do it daily. I have a maximum spending amount each month, and I can not cross its line. To define this limit, you will need to deep dive into your spendings habits and reflect on what is really necessary and what is not. Set a realistic goal and stick to it.

13) How to earn more money 

Have you ever considered to ask for a higher salary? You never ask you will never know 🙂 Or have you ever thought to open your own business? There are so many options, for instance: start blogging, give online courses, teach languages online… 🙂 By the way: I offer help in online marketing, check it here. 

14) How much should I save for travelling?

It depends. It always does 🙂 Here you can read about how much does it cost to travel the world for a year. Furthermore, I share some budget informations for travelling around Australia by a campervan here. 

Tell me what do you think about those tips! Do you have more ideas on how to save money?
Looking for some travel inspiration after the lockdown? Check my post about post-lockdown travel ideas and trends!

14 Comments

  • Katerina

    Such great tips, Karolina! We prioritise travel over other expenses, it’s really straighforward if you put your mind to it. That said, I love my Amazon Prime membership, hehe!

  • Farrah

    Great post! I’m all for saving money when possible, so I do a lot of these already. Definitely planning on solar panelling my future house, and very much agreed on the water!! There are way too many plastic bottles out there. :[

    • Karolina

      Hi Farrah! thank you, yeah solar panels are the future! I am using solar energy for water and electricity, so basically everything what I turn on during the day is for free 🙂

  • Travelling Tam

    I agree about so many of these things, many of which I do and have done for years in order to travel as much as I do. I really dont have the kind of expenses others do like a mortgage, expensive car or any credit card debt. I only buy what I can afford. I rarely buy coffees, take outs, I have only a family Spotify subscription I share, always make my own lunches, hardly ever buy new clothes anymore. People don’t understand but when you factor in cost saving to many elements of your life, it totally adds up!

    • Karolina

      Hey Tam! You are doing well tho… I have also been like that – always… but I know so many people struggle to say no… I hope this post encourage people to save more often and say no to things that we actually do not need…

  • Jordan

    This is such a great list with awesome ideas for your everyday life! I’m always looking for more ways to save money for my trip fund 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Karolina

      Hey Bliss! The app is amazing – there are different such as pertolspy on the market. I am sure you can find one which is the best in your country 🙂

  • Sarah Camp

    Great tips! I’ve managed to do a few of these myself, especially during the pandemic. One of the major things I’ve cut was online shopping – it’s SO easy to click “Buy Now!”
    Just working on building my travel fund until we can!

    • Karolina

      Hey Sarah! Yes – you are right with online shopping! It is too easy! Online businesses have so many tricks to convince us…but we need to stay strong for our better goals 😉

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