How one couple saved 75 percent of their income to travel

piggy_savings_bank_bay_alan cleaver_flickerSaving money for an extended trip is hard. “Like titanium alloy hard,” as Erin at puts it, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, with a little perseverance, Erin and Simon were able to save 75 percent of their income. To help you do the same, they’ve detailed the process they used in a great blog post entitled, How We Saved 75% of Our Income to Travel.

For most of us, living off 25 percent of what you make will mean some major lifestyle changes. But those changes need not make you into an ascetic monk. Even something as simple as not buying as much “stuff” will free up a considerable amount of money. Throw in some of Simon and Erin’s tips, like tracking your spending and creating a budget, and you’ll be well on your way to a travel nest egg.

Another big part of successful savings plans is to remember why you’re saving. As Erin writes, “we aren’t rich by any stretch… but we chose to prioritize travel over buying ‘stuff’ and spending money on big nights out.”

Here are a few of Erin’s tips to help you get started on the road to savings:

1.) Record your spending – Start a spreadsheet and write down EVERYTHING you spend. Do this for at least a month (although I recommend it as a permanent habit). You can then see what you are spending a lot on and what you can cut out.

5.) Stop buying things – It’s very simple, just stop. No more clothes, CDs, DVDs, whatever it is you’re currently spending your money on. If you want to go travelling, you don’t need any more stuff.

8.) Sell your stuff – Boost your savings by selling your possessions. We all own things we don’t need, and you don’t want to waste money on storage while you’re travelling.

Check out the full post for more ideas that will help your savings grow.

I also suggest heading to one of the many round-the-world trip planner on the web (BootsnAll has some nice cost planning tools) to calculate how much money you need for the trip you’ve been dreaming about. Pad that number by about 30 percent and you’ll have a fixed goal to work toward.

Living off of just 25 percent of your income that way Erin and Simon have done is an impressive feat, and not everyone is going to be able to do that.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take something that drastic to start saving up the money you need to travel. Even if you can only save 25 percent of what you make, that’s still enough — it will just take you a little longer to reach your goal.

And remember — as with any new habit or lifestyle change — saving will be hard at first, but eventually your mindset will change and it will seem natural. Just as some of us have been bitten by the travel bug, eventually you’ll be bitten by the saving bug.

After Erin and Simon’s first trip they swore they’d never be as frugal again and yet, “six months after the end of our last amazing trip we were at it again.”

[photo by Alan Cleaver, Flickr]

Posted by | Comments (7)  | April 27, 2010
Category: General

7 Responses to “How one couple saved 75 percent of their income to travel”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    If you want to save for travel, you’ll just do it. Say goodbye Starbucks (or whatever cafe you frequent), shopping excursions, dining out, entertainment, etc…because cutting back will help you reach your goal. As was mentioned, you can sell your stuff. People are paying good money for gold and you can find those types of establishments anywhere.

  2. Nicolaï Says:

    I can attest to tip #1, writing down everything you spend. Doing this while living in France, I was able to reduce spending to only 200 € per month, saving most of what I earned working.

  3. Jim Says:

    Thanks for the great tips.

    Selling stuff is great to not only get rid of things before a big trip, but also to get money for the same. Does take some work to actually post/sell everything if you do it online. Garage sales are great but you might get less $. It works best if you sell of costlier items rather than nickel and dime every paperback book. You’ll quickly go insane if you do that yourself!

    Stopping the purchase of things is probably the best tip, but like all simple advice, the hardest to follow. 😮

  4. Erin Says:

    Thanks for highlighting our savings tips! I agree that even if you can´t save as much as 75% you can still reach your saving goals with more time. It took us two years to save for our first RTW trip, but it was much easier the second time around. Your mindset really does change. I find it difficult to buy things now, even when it´s something I really need!

    We´ve also written a detailed post about How To Sell All Of Your Stuff. It was a lot of work but worth it for the money we earned.

  5. Vivienne Says:

    Great advice. Thank you for your tips on saving money. I have to admit it’s hard to save up because they are so many temptations.

  6. David Webb Says:

    Great tips. Remember: “It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.” That’s why some people feel “travel is for the rich.” In a way… they’re right…

  7. May Update & Win Stuff! Says:

    […] really got us thinking.Freepursuits included a few of our posts in the Digital Nomad Blog Carnival.Vagablogging featured our story of how we saved 75% of our income to travel.Vagabond Quest included our […]