How a shopaholic is saving money to travel

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I am terrible with money and I love useless crap.

Red lipstick in seven different shades, uh yes please. Overalls that will be horribly outdated by the end of the season? Add to Bag!

I just love shopping. It’s a place to zone out. A place to ponder the endless possibilities of the person you could be. The only thing I love more than shopping is travel. When Chris and I decided we wanted to travel the world in 2014, I knew that I needed to stop shopping. I knew that I needed to save as much money as possible so that I could go for as long as possible. I was certain that when I looked back on my life that I wouldn’t remember that pair of shoes or that little black dress.

So I endeavored to start saving.  I pictured myself funneling away every dollar from my pay into our savings account, saying no to the newest shade of lipstick with a saint-like resolve and eating toast for every meal. Needless to say that this failed miserably and I was left racked with guilt… and in possession of some more useless crap.

I wasn’t being real with myself and like a person on a diet who has just dialed the number for Dominoes, the guilt was chewing away at me.

So I formulated a new plan. A plan that would slowly ease me into saving money and hopefully get me on a plane headed towards Asia.  Here are seven tips that might help you too.

1.      Open a savings account that you can’t access

This may seem fairly obvious but opening a savings account that is hard to access has been the most helpful step in saving for travel. Our savings account requires both of us to be present at the bank branch to withdraw money. If the bank had an option that required both of us to wade through a pit of snakes and answer 64 trigonometry questions every time we wanted to take money out, I would have chosen that option in a heartbeat. That said, don’t beat yourself up if you need to take some money out in order to keep yourself alive. Chris and I have taken money out a couple of times simply because we had no money for the bus to get to work.

2.      Give yourself a challenge.

Give yourself doable challenges. Try not to spend any money on anything that is not necessary for a whole month. I attempted no-spend October and I only failed once! (Grey T-Shirts are my Kryptonite). I promised myself not to buy anything that wasn’t food or transport related. You can choose not to spend money on work lunches or alcohol.

3.      Cut down on eating out.

Sometimes you just have to order some Indian food and watch “Suits” in bed after a long day’s work. Some days you would rather punch yourself in the face than pick up the wooden spoon to cook another bowl of pasta. And that’s okay! Being a world traveler comes hand in hand with loving to eat and trying new foods. Just cut it down, not out.

 4.      Be a cheap date.

Date nights can be very expensive. The costs add up quickly; dinner, drinks, movie tickets and transport all in the name of romance. Think creatively and make the most of free stuff that is happening around your city. Who said picnics were for the daytime? Get some battery operated fairy lights, a sneaky five dollar bottle of wine and some cheese. Extra points for riding your bike. Argue about the hidden meaning of abstract paintings at your local art gallery or search out markets where you can and make a breakfast out of a punnet of fresh strawberries.

5.      Put money in savings just like you pay your bills.

Every time that you get paid, take a large chunk of your money and put it into savings. Treat it like another bill and make it a nonnegotiable payment. Don’t even think about it! Chris and I have been putting away $1000 each every month and the money soon adds up!

6.      Exploit your friends and families

Use your Birthday and Christmas to get some things you need for travel. Let your friends and family know what you need for your trip. Although not too exciting or glamorous, you could even ask for vaccinations or insurance. Just make sure to let them know how grateful you are that they are helping you make your dreams come true.

7.      Watch a lot of movies and have no social life.

Now this one has worked for me.  Although spending Saturday night with your hair in a top-bun watching Orange is the New Black, soon you will be living out your dream of travelling the world.

Do you have any tips on how to save money? We would love to hear them! Please leave us a comment or email us dirtypawsblog@gmail.com. 

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