How We Saved Money to Last for Two Years of Travel

If you put your mind to it, you'll be surprised how easy it is to change your spending ways
It's all about planning and having the tools. Understanding what you are happy to give up, what you can swap for less, what you can reduce and what you are not willing to sacrifice. Most possessions and habits you should be able to give up, reduce or swap maybe not in the beginning, but just maybe with time you will start to feel the freedom that comes from going with less and needing little to be happy.....if not travel for a year with only a backpack and guaranteed you will.  Check out the steps and tricks we used to up our frugal game and turn our dream into a reality.

Commit to your dream

  • Assessment – Understand what your dream is. Have a clear vision and be precise.

  • Setting goals – How are you going to make it happen? Draw two columns, in the first column start with the long term goal, maybe your deadline is 1 year. Work out where you see yourself in 1 year. Track back work out where you see yourself in 6 months, track back work out where you see yourself in 3 months and then monthly, weekly daily. Seems like a lot? If it’s a big enough dream and you want it bad enough you’ll enjoy this process. 

  • Creating a plan – Dream big enough that it can become a reality. Once you’ve written up a realistic plan for the duration of time needed to reach your goal then you can break it down. In the second column write down what you need to do to reach the goal at each timeline.

  • Implementation – Where the rubber hits the road. Get Started.

  • Monitoring and assessment – After day 1 write down what was achievable and what wasn’t. After 1 week write down what was achievable and what wasn’t, continue like this. Keep a journal to track your progress, modifications are possible. Identify your weakness’s, can you find someone to hold you accountable?

  • Celebrate small wins – When you start out on your first day if you complete one task you didn’t do yesterday celebrate. If you get to the end of the 1st week and can see day by day you have increased your success rate/progressed, celebrate. If you’re achieving 50% or more with your set goals by 1 month, celebrate. If not re-asses what’s not working, can you change something? Who or what is causing you to not reach your goals? Are you’re goals realistic, well defined, flexible considering time, money to spend and save? At the end of the day know your priorities everything else gets scheduled or purchased around or after.

Assess your expenditures. Find the unnecessary money wasters and what you can happily go without or swap.

Cut the Cable 

Or share an account with friends. Is it just one or two shows/series that you watch? Organize a catch up with a friend or family who watch the same series and you bring the pop corn. You should wan’t to make that dream a reality bad enough that certain things can be sacrificed and by informing your friends and family they often will be happy to help you succeed.

Cut the workday purchases

Spend less on lunch by preparing meals at home, cook larger portions for dinner to save for the following lunch. Cut back on fancy coffee drinks. Buy a keep cup or thermos and carry it with you to work full of your favorite coffee/ chai or tea made at home.

Eat out less often

Organize group dinners or lunches with friends at home or in a local park. Delegate a host on rotation, have everyone make a dish, choose a cuisine or make it a pot luck. If you like set a budget for the group or personally set one for yourself.

Reduce or eliminate your car wastage

Know your petrol stations in the local area or on the way to work that have lower fuel costs or the day which the price drops the most. Swap the car, insurance, registration and the rest for public transport, work out if the bus, tram or train will be the cheapest option for you. Work out if public transport is cheaper than your car expenses. Car pool, ride your bike or walk to work. Have your partner or neighbor drop you off on their way to work. Use the car only on weekend getaways or long trips to avoid excess parking payments, fuel usage, potential fines. If you live inner city research companies where you can book car’s and pay per hour or day for usage. Gather friends to go on your weekend trips and fill up the car/s and split the fuel instead of each household/couple per car.

Create a Food Budget and Meal plan with these steps:

  • Assessment – Compare your trip plan versus the reality versus the situation.  Is it feasible, or are you dreaming too big.  Really breakdown how you currently spend for food items, this includes all meals of the day both in-house and out-house dining

  • Setting goals – How are you going to make it happen?  What are important factors for you to stay sane and not lose your marble eating the same thing everyday?

  • Creating a plan – You know how you like to spend money, and you know your weaknesses. Get creative with planning meals that fit within your daily meal budget and consume them on rotation. Every 1 to 2 weeks assess and look to one meal you could swap for a new creation.

  • Implementation – How are you going to start? Here are some suggestion: buy what you need ingredients wise, have certain ingredients that are rotated throughout a few meals so you don’t need to buy different ingredient for every meal. We mainly used 3 Mediterranean herbs and 3 spices cummin, paprika and turmeric. Look for wholesale or local markets that sell at a good price. Check the marked down items first in your grocery stores and consume these products first. Compare products at different local stores to see who gives you the best deal.

  • Monitoring and assessment – Keeping tabs on things and tracking to compare your goals. Is there a food item that can be purchased once a month rather than once a week due to cost? If you buy organic look up the clean fifteen and dirty dozen in your country or state and buy accordingly, if they’re on the clean list you might save money buying these as regular produce.

  • Celebrate small wins – We all have weaknesses and temptations, but if you don’t spoil yourself every now and then, you will quickly find that you step back and spend more than you have allowed for because you suppressed for too long.  Avoid relapse


The hardest part to saving money is setting your intent. Start somewhere, do it with your partner, find a friend or family member and begin creating your plans to reach those goals, hold each other accountable and celebrate each others wins. Let us know if you have any other suggestions or your success in budgeting to reach a goal in the comments below.

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