If you’re the average, skint 20 Something without the amazing help of rich friends or family to send you on life changing experiences, but you still want to have some (Which you totally should!) then here are some tips to help you save money and stretch every penny as far as it will go (In my experience).
- Set yourself a personal budget a few months before you want to leave. AND STICK TO IT!
If there are certain things you know, you splurge a bit too much on that aren’t necessities, whether it be designer shoes, nights out or pizza…it’s time to cut it out! I know you can do it, I believe in you! Everyone has a vice and is definitely entitled to a treat every once in a while but if you’re dedicated to saving then you should maybe change that treat to once in a . Find fun in cheaper options like free gigs, dinner parties where you and your friends each bring a dish. Do clothes swapping parties with cheap wine instead of a shopping spree and a night out. It’s just as fun, if not more. Games nights these days can also be very underrated. Cards and board games are still a huge laugh. Replace your oh so frequent, over priced take away meals with yummy and oh so cheap stir frys. Dry noodles cost pennies and you can flavour them and add what you like. Lidl and Aldi are awesome for cheap, fresh produce. They also change prices often so try new things with each new bargain you see. Try your hand at making your own curry, stew or soups. A big pot can last a good few days and there’s very little wastage and it is gentle on the purse strings.
- Declutter your house and your life!
If you’re planning on travelling for a year plus and your’e a property renter like me then you need to start going through your stuff to determine what you want and need and what you can bin, sell and donate. If you have a lot of stuff and are determined to get good prices for your things then this could take some time. It took me a good couple of months and different means to manage to sell and donate my clutter. Every few days I would go though a new section of the house and put things into four different piles; bin/recycle, donate, sell, and keep. The bulk of my stuff that I wanted to sell was cd’s, dvd’s and books. The best way I found for selling these was obtaining cardboard boxes and using a website called www.zapper.com, where postage is free and they offer a lot more cashfor media than shops on the high street. We sold certain large things such as old games consoles to shops like Cex to save posting them. Even try to get a good
price at pawn shops. Shop around and fight for your best price! There is of course sites like Ebay and even the app; shpock. I tried shpock and to be honest, it was a waste of time. It took way too long to even get the slightest bit of interest in my items. I have been an Ebay user for years and it can be great… But it is up to luck most of the time. If there’s large (price-wise) things you do want to sell, I would make the effort to put them on ebay and keep a close eye. To avoid charges, you can also get a friend or family member to bid your desired price on your item to get the punters intrigue and get them raising their bids. You only need to sell it if a stranger wins of course. The things you should bin can be really hard to let go of but if you haven’t used it in a month, can’t bring it with you or it doesn’t bring you joy, it goes! Things are just that, THINGS. They can be replaced. Hopefully you won’t need to bin too much of your stuff and you can donate a load to various charities that will generate needed funds for their causes and you helped! Go you! I’d pack plastic bags full of charity stuff and do a run every few days and change the shop each time. Spread the love! They’re always thankful for anything you want to donate. Get a friend, flatmate or lover to help you down to the shops to cut the time in half. There is of course another option, which is storage units. These can be expensive and turn complicated if you don’t have a set return date or especially if you don’t know if you are coming back. Before I had finished sifting through all that had to go and stay, I shopped around for the best storage quote. They compete quite fiercely with one another so you can barter some what for the best price for you. I think the cheapest I found was Aabsolute storage in the east end of Glasgow. I got lucky and I was able to clear a wardrobe in my mums house and packed it with my things so I haven’t needed to pay for any storage, thank f***. Ask around. People will surprise you with how much they want to help. Especially family and friends with unnecessarily large attics and garages. They need to help you really.
- Shop around!
No matter how much stuff you already have, if you are a first time backpacker, you will not have all the necessities for your travels. I will give you a run down in list form of the Things you will need to bring. and things we brought that we ended up not needing at all. For your personal list of things you’ll need to buy, I strongly advise you to shop around. Depending on the season, many things you might need like sandals, hiking bags, waterproof shoes and even swim wear can be on sale. These things can also be super expensive but can be bought in perfect condition online for a fraction of the price if given enough time in advance. I took advantage of a local Mountain Warehouse for shoe advise, mini first aid kit tips and waterproof jacket advise etc. Even if you aren’t buying from them, they are experts in what they sell and what it’s supposed to be for. Take advantage of that. Advice is free! They also let me know that their sale items rotate regularly and you checking semi frequently in the shop to see if that kagool in a bag that you loved is on sale is well worth it, if it’s expensive but you just need it. If you do want to keep to a tight budget then try not to give in to the temptations of sparkly new things that you already have. Once you’re on the road, it won’t matter that you’re on trend or up to date with western fashion. You’ll also be sweating a lot, getting sandy and maybe even sleeping in questionable places so try not to bring your favourite clothes etc in case they get ruined. Also it’s ok if you feel you’re coming with a bit too little to wear, I would even try to bring a bit less to leave room to buy that perfect new outfit. There are stalls all over thailand with weather appropriate, typical gorgeous hippy clothes at crazy cheap prices. If you’re anything like me though, you will grow so tired of the elephant trousers. Seem cool now? They won’t be for long!
Make sure to haggle, even if you think it’s really cheap already. In a lot of places there are trousers for around 100thb which is around £2.40. We even shopped around for passport picture prices. We weren’t greatly successful, one machine ate my money and gave me no photographs in Kirkintilloch, Glasgow. Don’t use the machine in the regent centre. We ended up getting 5 pictures each for our upcoming visas in a post office in Pinner, London for £6.
- Make checklists!
Personally, I am a big list maker. It helps me to keep track of what I have done, what I still need to do, how much I have saved, how much I have spent, what I need to buy and so on. Of course you can do it all without the mighty power of lists, but I would be lost without them. Get a cute lil notebook or use an old one you’ve got in those packed drawers of junk. There is also apps and notes on those things…phones! If you can work the beasts and don’t lose them often(like moi). Also remember to back up your stuff online from your phone just incase.
Notebooks are great though!