Travel Plans: The Budget Talk

For those who know me personally, some might think its such an irony for me to talk about saving up, considering the disastrous behaviour i have when it comes to retail therapy. I don’t really need to prove your wrong, I don’t really care, but I would like to let you know what I feel about the subject.

We need to talk about money, how to save up for your dream trip and maximizing your satisfaction and happiness.
This method applies to other things you want to do as well, whether its buying a new dress, a new video game, a new car, or hell, even a down payment for a house!

It all boils down to one thing:

If you want it enough

This entry is not those articles that teaches you how to save up or how to maximize profit. No, it might not even work for you. It’s just me sharing with you what I hope to achieve in hope of completing something on my bucket list that I yet to tick off. It might resonate with you, it might not, but who knows?

I’m seriously working on being disciplined in whatever ways: academia, social, life. I am a believer of plans, but I’m a sucker at carrying out – well, that’s the thing that I hope I can change.

So how does this work?

Let’s say I’m going to Vienna, Austria for a 4 day trip in late April. My budget is £250 all inclusive, but say I only have £150 that I can spare from my bank account right now. And spending any extra just wouldn’t make me happy.

That’s a whooping £100 I have to save up! But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible…

Here’s how my plan works:

  1. Firstly work out your monthly spending budget. If you’re a student living out like I am, some essential spendings can’t be spared: accommodation & bills, transport, food – these are the basics. Also identify any particular spending patterns you have, such as eating out, buying monthly magazines, or your daily dose of coffee or cakes. Jot them down.
  2. Work around them: You probably can’t spare the accommodation & bills, but how about transport? Is there a cheaper way to get to school? Organize lifts? Walk to school instead of taking the bus? You’ll be saving a hell lot of money if you save on transport (especially in the UK where transport is just so ____ expensive). How about food? What do you usually buy in your weekly grocery trip? Do you buy a lot of junk food, cookies, chocolates, crisps? Swap them with cheaper and healthier options such as biscuits and fruits, instead of going to the supermarket go to your local market which most likely have cheaper options. You might also want to take this chance to cut down on meat if you are a serious carnivore like me, or you can just switch for more reasonably priced alternative. For example, 3 chicken breast fillets in Tesco costs at least £4 (usually £6 when normal priced) – but chicken wings and chicken legs are nearly half the price, about £2 for big box! Challenge yourself to try something different, or change to a healthier eating routine. Buy more veggies instead of meat (not saying totally cut it out), that definitely helps on keeping a healthy figure. For me, there’s nothing much I can cut on transport as I walk to school already, but I do realize I buy a lot of meat in grocery shopping, and I’ve tested myself I don’t actually HAVE to have meat everyday, so changing my shopping pattern a bit doesn’t harm. This probably means I can save about £2 per trip. I usually make 2 or 3 trips to the supermarket per week, so I can save at least £4 per week. So on…
  3. Identify spending patterns: I’m not a big coffee addict, but I figured out I usually drink a cup of Mocha sort of every other day when I’m in school, which may mount to £4-6 a week. For me, it’s something that can be substituted/ gotten rid of, so instead of coffee, I can substitute it with tea or even better, just water. I don’t usually buy lunch or dinner in school, sandwich is expensive and I can make a much better and filling lunch for myself. Spare the laziness in the morning and the annoyingly long queue at the cafe, make your own packed lunch, healthy and simple! This can save up a lot! I don’t shop for clothes very often, but when I do, I usually end up not buying what I need but what I want, which can be slightly devastating to my bank account. Cut that, think thrice before buying/ clicking your mouse. Or just save the money for the next big thing you want.
  4. Stick to your plan. Like all things and all plans, nothing works if you throw them out of the window. If you made a decision to save up, stick with it!

See, the thing is, a lot of people find saving up a chore, an unpleasant thing. But if you flip the coin and think it from another point of way, saving up is fun! How do you maximize your satisfaction and happiness? Create different ways to enjoy the most out of spending the least! Walk to school or work and breathe in the fresh air, explore different seasonal food and recipes, go for free museums/ exhibitions/ concerts, invite friends to eat at home instead of dining out, rediscover the simple joy of gratification. If you think it worths all the effort to save up and enjoy the fruits of your goal (for me, a rewarding trip abroad), by all means enjoy the process of it! It may make you see things differently!

Hopefully by the end of April I can achieve my target. Fingers-crossed! 😛

Until then,

P.S. Another exciting getaway coming up in March, stay tuned! 😉


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