How To Cut Back On Expenses & Save For Travel

I’m heading off to Bali in just a few more days!

So, before I go off, I would like to leave you with another useful travel post to help you with any future trips. It always goes back to the same thing: money. As much as no one likes to think about it – your travels need funding and that could mean setting back your savings by quite a bit, depending on the destination.

I already have a post on How To Save On Travel, which focuses mainly on booking early and choosing destinations wisely. This is my follow-up post on what to cut-back on to actually save those excess cash for your dream trip.

DROP THAT GYM MEMBERSHIP
Keeping fit is important, but if you only hit the gym twice a week, it is a waste of money. Gyms don’t come cheap, so if you’re shelling out over RM150 a month, maybe it’s time to let it go and start exercising at home or outdoors instead. I have quit the gym this year and am now following the workout programs from Blogilates. On weekends, I hike the trails of Gasing Hill, so really, there’s no shortage of fitness activities to do outside.

CUT BACK ON BEAUTY SERVICES
Just like gyms, we go for facials and hair treatments to look and feel good. But is it a necessity? I have gone through 2014 with only two salon visits and zero facials. And I didn’t shrivel up and and turn into an old hag. So really, you don’t need them as they can be really expensive. For your face, you can try making your own facial masques at home with fruits or even a hair + facial combo with avocado. Go natural, save money for travel!

PAINT YOUR OWN NAILS
Manicures and pedicures also cost a bomb these days. Use your money wisely and invest in different colored polish – I can guarantee you, more money is saved up in the long run. Maybe save manicures for special occasions like Christmas or your birthday. In between, paint them yourself.

STOP SOCIAL SPENDING
I cannot imagine a worse way to throw travel money out of your pocket than on ‘social weekends’. Drinks are expensive and in any social setting, you tend to drink more, the longer you sit. A night in the bar usually costs me between RM60-RM180 if I’m not careful about my drinks. If some of my friends decide to open a bottle and split between everyone, there goes more money (and extra calories). Instead, why not host a social night at home? Each friend can contribute a few cans of beer and chips, some food and you will all end up having more fun and more money in your pockets.

THE ‘ALTERNATE’ NO-SHOPPING MONTH
Girls being girls, we cannot abstain from spending on clothes or things that we think we need. Which is why I think this alternate no-shopping month works. It gives you a month of savings, and it helps you rethink ways of wearing the clothes you already own. As for months that you are allowed to spend, try not to go crazy and just allow yourself to spend on something practical and not too overpriced. If you have great self-discipline, try going for 2-months of no shopping, and alternate with one month of spending. You get to satisfy the shopaholic in you, and still save money.

LEARN TO COOK & DINE IN MORE
Eating out is never cheap, and when it is cheap, it is rarely ever healthy. If you still live with your parents, then it’s a great advantage because it means that breakfast and dinner would be on the house (only if mom/dad cooks at home). If you don’t, then learning how to shop for groceries and turning your ingredients into food can be a new skill-set to pick up on. I have an old post which talks about why you should learn to cook. Once you have that down to pat, you can start saving more money by packing a lunch bag to work, and let me tell you why it’s awesome.

These are just a few of my own personal tips which I actually do practice. Let me do a break down of how much money you save when you apply all of the above to your life. Let us start with calculating the costs of everything above:

ESTIMATED COST PER MONTH:
Gym = RM150
Hair salon = RM120
Facial = RM90
Mani pedi = RM160
Social weekends = RM200
Shopping = RM250
Eating out = RM400
Monthly total = RM1,370

That amount could easily buy you three return tickets to Thailand. So really, think about it. Why waste precious travel funds on these unnecessary services when you can actually use them for your next exciting adventure? These estimations are based on my old lifestyle, where I actually do spend that amount of money on my ‘maintenance’ each month. Now, this is what my travel lifestyle expenditures look like:

ESTIMATED COST PER MONTH:
Gym = RM0
Hair salon = RM0
Facial = RM0
Mani pedi = RM0
Social weekends = RM100 (chipping in for beer and chips)
Shopping = RM300 (during alternate months)
Eating out = RM200
Monthly total = RM600 (SAVED: RM770)

See the difference? I do spend more on shopping now, but that’s only on my alternate shopping months. Look at the estimated amount of savings I have, it’s more than half of what I used to spend on a monthly basis. All that money is going into my funds for the big London-Scotland-Paris trip in July. If I can do it, so can you!

Our mothers were right, you should always save for a rainy day, and while you’re at it, why not a big lifetime adventure?

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