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We all love to travel. But believe me, I of all people know the frustration of not being able to afford it – living alone and on a tight budget for quite some time left me miserable, unable to afford travelling, and let me tell you, those “motivational” posters that said you have no excuse not to travel didn’t help. So, if you’re like me, or you just want to save more money so you can travel even more, here are my tips. They are all personally tried by me, way more detailed than “save money, voila”, and the next step from the obvious “try couch-surfing/ plan everything in advance/ travel with low cost companies”.
For at least a month, list everything you buy – and I mean everything, that pack of gum included. This may sound a bit too much, but it can help you in two ways. First of all, it will make you more conscious about buying before you do it, and second, the result is most likely to surprise you. I’m obviously not a heavy drinker, but I enjoy a glass of wine when I’m out, and one of my biggest shockers was how much that was weighing on my monthly total in the end (after all, a glass of wine costs as much as a meal). Keeping a list of everything you buy is, I have found, the best way to save money.
Every other week, try to eat home-made food only. I say every other week, because I have found that if I try to cook every meal at home, I soon become too anxious, because cooking starts to feel like a chore I would rather not do for so many days in a row, and in result I always give up after a short amount of time. But when I started doing it every other week – and trying my best to eat out as rarely as possible on my “cheat” weeks – it became a lot more doable, and saves a lot of money.
Try freelancing or selling your stuff. While I would recommend you avoid websites for freelancers, where your competition will be professionals much likely to succeed because of their proven track record in the field, it’s a good idea to review your skills and try if you can put them to good use. Tell your friends or relatives you are open to photographing their events, if that’s your skill, or offer to help that friend of yours who is a freelance translator. You can’t expect to get a lot of money out of this, especially in the beginning, but even if you don’t get a lot of work your way, save everything you earn and it is going to really add up in the end. Another idea is going through your stuff and selling some of your items on ebay – your collection of vintage toys you no longer enjoy, or all those shirts in the back of your closet that are brand new but you know you’re not going to wear anymore.