Saving money for your wanderlust
Travelling is a great stress buster. The natural beauty, the bonding with family, the self, the relaxation, a well-deserved break and a total package filled with joy and expectations. Blissful, isn’t it? The planning, the bookings, the dreams at night of soaking the feet in the emerald green waters of the sea, and yet..and yet..well, you keep on postponing it. The reason? “I am cash strapped!” “Not enough money!”
Haven’t we all gone through this painstaking ordeal when we have been dreaming up of a vacation, not just a weekend trip, every now and then and finally cancel it or chicken out due to shortage of funds? You don’t need to be a millionaire to have a great vacation. Saving money for travel is the prime concern for a traveler. Seriously. You can, with some effort, plan a great trip and not wince at the cost, neither think of skipping meals after you return in order to save up for the rest of the month. Yes, it is possible! With your own help, of course. Who else will be willing to do it for you, if you don’t help yourself? No, it doesn’t need a lot of sacrifice. You simply need to have the right kind of attitude, and some small lifestyle changes to save up for that dream vacation. So, what are those?
1. Draw up a monthly list of income and expenditure-If you are single, doing a job, don’t live with your parents (stay together with friends etc.), the first thing is to draw up a list of monthly expenditure, essential and non-essential. You can do it by keeping a notebook and writing down your expenses every day, or better still, there are apps in your smart phone that can help you manage your income and expenditure without you having to pull out that notebook. The essentials include your rent, daily food and travel expenses, your monthly bills, money that you send home etc. The non-essentials would include eating out, partying costs, impulsive buying of clothes and accessories, frequent theatre visits etc. Come on now, you really don’t need new clothes every month, do you? Or eating out every now and then? After you draw up a list, mark the areas where you can cut down on your expenses. If you are really serious about saving, you know where to pull the plug. If you are married with kids, working/not working, you too can draw up a list of wasteful expenditure that you can forego till the time you save up enough. Buying from the local market instead of supermarkets, taking a walk instead of vehicle if it is walk-able, switching to more cost effective brands of powder, cereals etc. without cutting down the standards, looking for discounts can go a long way in saving up that precious money. Try doing the ironing at home, learning to cook up healthy yet tasty recipes that surprises your family and even you. For ladies, you can still have your facial done at a lower price using different brands of standard quality, or better, using homemade remedies. There are a lot of videos on you tubes and a lot of stuff on the internet to begin with.
2. Open a travel fund to save-The very next thing you need to do is open a recurring deposit account that would be solely used for travel purpose. Once you chalk out the amount you can cut down on, be sure to transfer that money at the very start of the month, once you receive your salary, or money for household expenditure. Initially, it would be tough and would seem like you can’t make it through. But having that homemade coffee instead of a CCD one, or using tea leaves instead of bags, cutting down on your take outs and opting for a home cooked meal for most part of the month, or cutting down the urge of going to the cinema hall and instead watching flixes at home, trust me, saves a lot of bucks! You would soon see the difference. Once you make it a habit, you would yourself come up with new ideas of how to minimize your expenses. Do cut down on weekend trips for that one big trip of your dream.
3. Save the little changes-Have a piggy bank at home. Drop the changes for the day into it, ask your kids or husband also to do the same. At the end of a few months, you would see quite a couple of thousand piling up in it, that would add to your fund effortlessly!
4.Sell off old stuff– Try to sell off stuff you don’t need, like old clothes, newspapers etc. that have been piling up for months, supermarkets often give offers for buying these stuff. Keep your eyes and ears open, you might just earn a small amount that would significantly add to your savings.
5. Be informed via newsletters-Sign up for newsletters for flights and hotels. A lot of discounts are frequently available; you need to watch out for them. The goal is to have a comfortable vacation, not necessarily a luxurious one. If you are planning for a year ahead, you can save up a lot and afford to stay in five star hotels. If you are planning 6 months in advance, you need to be comfortable with the fact that the main purpose of your vacation is to visit a new place, and stay at comfortable places and have good food. Good doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. So don’t be crestfallen at having to put up at standard or budget hotels, it will save you money for the travelling that you actually saved up for.
6. Prepare an itinerary for the travel– Last, but most importantly, draw up a budget, including number of days, the place, the mode of travel etc., which you will be able to save up for. Remember, travelling by train in our country is cheaper than flights; sharing cars will save up a lot of bucks and so on. The ideal travel period for a budget traveler is 7-10 days, including return journey. If you are planning for a trip for 15 days, a luxurious one, you need to see how much you save every month and match it with the amount you would approximately need for the duration, and start saving accordingly.
Don’t forget, the right approach, attitude and effort will make every vacation you take, a dream come true.