How I saved £10,000 in less than 10 months to travel the world

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So I’m doing a post on this as I’ve been asked about it so many times now. Some call me frugal, some call me tight with money, I say I’m just good at saving money! Back in 2013 I had recently graduated and I had literally no money to my name. I began saving to travel in the February and just 10 months later  I left home with plenty of money to travel for 8 months straight throughout 2014 (and then deciding to head to Australia on a working holiday visa).

The £10,000 which I saved was funded entirely by myself. 

Here’s my top 10 money saving tips, for how you can save enough to travel the world too:

1. Once you’ve been paid, move it and don’t touch it!

As soon as you get paid, move a large chunk of money into a savings account. This is my biggest rule of all and probably the best advice I can give you. And the most important part of this rule – never ever ever touch your savings once it’s in there! Obviously leave enough spare to live off; do a budget of all your outgoings, save a bit for socialising with friends, then work out how much you can save a month. Then, make sure you put this amount away every month. I was often saving more than £900 a month for my 2014 year away. But due to being so careful with my money, I had hardly any outgoings, so it wasn’t too difficult. It’s a great satisfaction every month watching your savings account go up and up, knowing you will eventually reach your goal, whatever it may be.

2. Don’t need it, don’t buy it

An obvious one, don’t waste money on unnecessary expensive things; if you don’t NEED it then try to resist the temptation of buying it by thinking about your goal and what you will gain at the end of it all. For example, those £45 pair of jeans in  Topshop is 3 days backpacking in South East Asia! New clothes can really add up – I generally didn’t buy any new clothes unless they would be coming away with me. Takeaway coffees are another thing and something I still avoid now, for example if you have a Starbucks or Costa coffee every day on your way to work, ever worked out how much that costs you? If you have a £3 coffee every weekday that’s £780 a year – that’s the same as what 2 months travelling in India would cost you!

3. Rent cheaply 

Rent is usually a main outgoing for most people. Luckily, when I was saving for my 2014 trip away I lived with my Mum in Derby, so call it cheating but this is one of the reasons why I could save so much so quickly, although I did still contribute some money each week. But even if living with parents isn’t an option for you, there are always cheaper options out there. Look into share houses, go for a small room not a big room (Particularly in London, this can save HUNDREDS a month just for a little less floor space!). If you would rather have your own place, like my boyfriend and I now do, look for cheaper ways to do that – Even in London its do-able! We have stayed in a teeny tiny cute studio flat at the top of someones house which cost us next to nothing, now we live in a lovely 1 bed flat which is basically the attic of our landlords family home, which makes it a great deal and nicely cheap for London!

4. Eat cheap, drink cheap

Meals out are a big thing that can add up – try to save nice meals out for special occasions only and cook tasty meals at home instead. Or just go somewhere cheap yet also yummy, like Nandos! And a night out with friends? Sure, I was 22 and going out most weekends as well as saving money! A good tip for this – only take out with you as much as you are willing to spend. Or just don’t take out your bank card. Also pre-drink before you go out, that way you won’t need to buy as much out either! 

5. Home made lunches

Make a packed luch for work the night before instead of buy it from a shop on the day. I usually just cook a little extra of my evening meal the night before and take it to work the next day, it really does save loads of money! A £3 meal deal every weekday is £780 a year! That’s another 2 months travelling!

6. Always thinking – What’s the cheapest option?

This could be anything, for example if you need to travel to see friends, how much cheaper is the coach instead of a train? Or if you’re in a restaurant, look what the cheapest options are and pick your favourite of those. If you’re in a bar, don’t go for a cocktail! I always order half a pint of cider, it’s usually one of the cheapest drinks and I know (even in London) it won’t cost much. Do you need an expensive gym membership? Do you even need one, could you go running and do fitness sessions at home instead. There’s loads of good free aps out there! Luckily back in 2013 I had a free gym membership with my lifeguard job. Now, I use a budget gym in London and use a free fitness ap and fitness DVD’s for at home.

7. Get fit by saving money- Walk/ cycle/ run to work!

Whilst in Derby saving for my 2014 trip away I cycled or walked to work a lot of the time and particularly in summer it was really enjoyable, it’s also great exercise. Most importantly though – this saved on the £2.20 bus fare each way! I must admit this is a hard one particularly if you live really far from work or somewhere like London where it could take ages if you don’t live central like I don’t. But if cycling, walking or running is an option for you, don’t be lazy and definitely do it!

8. Work HARD

Where did all the money come from? I had 4 jobs! I worked as a lifeguard at 3 swimming pools in Derby and also 1 job in a cafe. I worked 6 days a week, sometimes 7, although I liked to keep one day a weekend free to see my family. I often did 2 shifts in 1 day at 2 different jobs. I couldn’t live like that forever, but for just 10 months it was not a problem. It may sound easier said than done getting 4 jobs, but if you really put yourself out there or even have a specific skill or qualification like lifeguarding, you can easily pick up lots of shifts.

9. Every little counts 

Think about how you could earn money in extra ways. Like babysitting, gardening or walking people’s dogs.I regularly did babysitting and I also took on the odd cleaning shift, anything that could make that little extra! Selling stuff is another tip however one that I decided not to do as I wanted to keep all my stuff for when I got back! But if I was struggling to save what I needed, then this would have been my last resort, I could have sold all my clothes before I left and made a little extra!

10. Daily motivation 

My final bit of advice: Remind yourself daily what you are saving for. For example if it is to travel – put maps on your walls as motivation to remind yourself every morning why you are working so hard, circle the places you want to go knowing that one day you will be on that plane out of here. Remind yourself that eventually you will be sat drinking Chang beer on that deserted beach in South East Asia whilst watching the sun set, swimming under waterfalls as well as climbing glaciers in New Zealand, or trying the most amazing dish you’ve ever tasted in India whist secretly the spice blows your head off; and knowing that in the end it was definitely all worth it.

So those are my top 10 money saving tips and how I saved £10,000 in less than 10 months, and there’s no reason why you can’t do it too!

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Sunbathing on a deserted beach on Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
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Hiking the Fox Glacier in New Zealand
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Trying a real Indian curry for the first time, in Kerala, India.

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Hi, I'm Zoe. Welcome to Zo Around The World! Since 2012, I have travelled to 24 countries within 4 continents. Zo Around The World is a collection of my travel experiences – particularly writing about backpacking and budget travel. I am a self confessed over-organised travel planner, travel has become my favourite part of my life and let me show you how it can become yours too

27 thoughts on “How I saved £10,000 in less than 10 months to travel the world

    1. Thanks 🙂 yeah I was really surprised how much I saved when I switched to packed lunches, makes so much difference! And yes extra jobs are definitely a great way to save that bit extra, answering surveys is a new one I haven’t heard of before! 🙂

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  1. Wow – well done you! I have a horse and a mortgage and bills to eat up my wages every month so could never do this so effectively 😦 But you are dead right about budgeting. I always avoid £7 cocktails in favour of a cheap half a pint! And eating out definitely adds up more than people think. Another goodun is Ebay – I’ve sold so much old furniture and clothes on there.

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  2. These are amazing tips. I am also a saver although cider isn’t the cheapest drink outside of the UK (a beer works well enough for me!) Totally agree about the don’t buy it; don’t need it rule.

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    1. Thanks Karen! Cider is one of the cheapest drinks in the UK but beer is usually about the same or sometimes a little cheaper here too 🙂 I don’t drink beer though, so cider is cheapest for me personally! 🙂 you’re right though I have noticed cider is pretty expensive outside of the UK! And yeah the don’t need it, don’t buy it rule is one of my favourites, saves so much money 🙂

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  3. I don’t drink so that’s not an issue. But I have to not agree with “eat cheap”. I eat healthy so compromising on healthy food is not for me. I also love my good coffee 🙂

    What we do is this: don’t have a credit card, keep a budget, always have a list when we shop, never impulse buy, never go to a restaurant (unless we travel).

    PS: hope the comment didn’t come through twice 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your comment Cris! 🙂 Eating cheap doesn’t have to mean not eating healthy, I buy fresh food every week and make homemade meals that are healthy when I’m at home 🙂

      Totally agree with you about not having a credit card, I’ve never had one! Having lists when shopping and never impulse buying are very important, and we hardly ever go to restaurants either unless it’s a special occasion 🙂

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  4. I love my early spring tulips and the sound of singing birds. I&;7#182ll bet the birds in the stamp set give-away love tulips and have happy songs, too. How special it would be to win this set, love it! Blessings, leanne

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