Saving money is not always that easy, especially if you live in an exciting place with lots of things to do, especially if you are a student – the pressure is always on you to go out and party with friends!
That does not mean that you cannot save for your trip abroad, you just need to know how to go about it. Here are some simple things that you can do to kick start your savings. You may have to sacrifice certain things, but it will all be worth it in the end!
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Set a Goal and remind yourself of it regularly
Before you can start saving, you need to decide where you want to go and when you want to go there. It is rather pointless saving if you have no end goal. Be realistic when you set goals and do not set the bar to high. Make a deal with yourself and stick to it!
Put up reminders around the house for inspiration
It may sound silly, but they will help when you are having off days. Whatever your goal destination is, be sure to put pictures of that place up in your home. Place them in strategic places, places where you will be forced to see them. The bathroom, fridge and on the cupboard above the kettle are great places to start – you have to go to the bathroom, eat and have coffee every day, so you will have little chance of missing the message!
Draw up a budget
Before you get in over your head and end up with no money to live on, work out a realistic budget that you know you will be able to stick to. There are a few things that you need to consider before deciding on how much money you will dedicate to your savings. Figure out how much you will need in total and then how many weeks there are until you plan on leaving. Divide the total that you need by the number of weeks to go and then you will have a better idea of how much you will need to keep.
When you have figured this out, you are ready to draw up your budget. You need to budget for rent, food, living costs and entertainment – you need to reward yourself for a job well done every now and then! Once you know how much you need to live, you will know how much you can save.
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The marathon of saving
You may have an entire year to save for your trip and the end may seem far away, but you need to do things in small doses. Focus on the month that you are in and save what you need to for that month before you move on to the next. Do not try to keep too much aside or you will be disappointed. Do not over spend, but do not starve yourself of entertainment either. There is plenty of time to get to where you want to go and there is no point in burning yourself out before you leave.
If you have set a goal of one month to save for a weekend away in Paris, you can class this as a saving sprint to the finish line. You will need to do whatever is required in order to achieve this goal. Working long hours and extra shifts will be necessary and cutting out all those luxuries is the only thing that will make this little dream possible. Hard work pays off in the end!
Watch out for the pubs
Pubs tend to be one of the main reasons why people do not reach their goals, because it is so easy to get sidetracked and spend too much money when you are out and about. Think about the white beaches or ski slopes before you rush out to the nearest pub. Pubs generally produce a snowball effect if you do not get out fast enough. You will have a great time while you are there and regret ever going when you wake up without any cash the next day – beware! Take only a certain amount of cash with you when you do go out and leave all your bank cards at home. When your cash is finished, you will not be tempted to whip out the plastic.
Living costs (food and household items)
You need to spend less money on household items and food than you are used to. For example, do not buy ready-made meals – rather buy the ingredients and make the same thing at home. Buying in small quantities will only get you less of what you want at a much higher rate! Try to shop on a weekly or monthly basis instead of going every day – you will see the difference on your bank statements at the end of the month! Eat out, but not all the time! You should try to limit eating out to once or twice per month. Try to buy household items in bulk where possible.
If you use less, you save more
Electricity and water bills can accumulate quicker than you can imagine, especially in the winter months. Try to cut down on the amount of water and electricity that you use in order to save that much needed money towards your trip. By cutting down, you will save money and be helping the environment at the same time. When the weather gets warmer and your bills go down, put that money away as well. Every bit counts!
Buses, trains and tubes cost money and it adds up rather quickly. When the weather is warm, you can ride, walk or run to work instead. Petrol is not getting any cheaper and you can save a nice amount of cash by limiting how often you drive around. You will get to your goal quicker and you will get fitter by avoiding using your car as often as possible.