How to keep that travel budget long after you’ve returned home
It only took 7 days for the desires to set in. What scented candle will I have in my room? What new hairstyle shall I get? OMG, I have to have that cute little dress. My eyebrows don’t look like that, maybe I need to visit the brow bar… URGHHH
Stop it, Alexa. Stop it!
All this external stimulus is too much. Why does this civilisaed environment make me want to buy all these things to feel better about myself?
I’ve only been back 7 days and I’ve already spent one month’s salary four times over in my head. I’m buying that organic protein powder, that recycled notebook, that new sarong. All this on top of my daily coffee & weekend acai bowls – Cos DAYUM, acai bowls are soooo good here in Australia! I think I need to go back and re-read my own article 45 ways to save money so you can travel the world!
How do I not turn into a douche when I land back in Australia?
By douche I mean the person I instantly become when I get back. $10 for a wine? No problem take my bankcard. $8 for the fast ferry? Oh why not, I can sleep in another 5 minutes, the slow ferry just takes wayyy too long. Douche Alexa loses touch with money.
So here’s what I plan to do to keep that travel budget:
Work with cash and only cash
Japan taught me many things, but one of the key lessons came from it being a cash society. I paid for everything in cash. I didn’t use a card for 4 months. As a result, I knew exactly where my finances were each week because that’s what I had left in my wallet. As a result, I respected the cost of things more physically watching the money leave my hand. Try this one, I guarantee you’ll have more money at the end of the month. Cash. It’s the way to go.
Keep a ‘do it yourself’ mentality
Douche Alexa would replace broken things with a new shiny version, or pay someone to fix it for me. Travel Alexa does it all herself. I’ve sewn my own clothes, changed my own car oil, battery and tires; shunned IKEA to built my own cabinets; customized old equipment so to increase it’s life span. Being time poor is often the reason to not to fix something yourself but believe me, it is far more rewarding to own it and do it all yourself. Be the DIY girl!
Carry a flask and water bottle
Outside of central America, I can not recall a time in the last year when I have had to buy single-use bottled water. Carrying my own bottle (I am a huge fan of Mizu bottles), means I can refill and hydrate for free. In Argentina terrified we were getting sick from the tap water, we boiled it and refilled. In Thailand, we did the same or loaded up on 10 litre bottles to decanter them into our flasks. Traveling teaches you to plan ahead. This habit not only saves you money but reduces waste. It’s the number one practice you should concentrate on maintaining. Say no to plastic.
Waste not, want not
My boyfriend Zach cannot throw food away. It’s almost compulsive and in those first weeks of living together, it was kind of annoying. But I get it. Planning our meals and using everything was the most cost-effective way to eat. Back home and in a 9-5, I’m more time poor. I tend to eat out a lot when I have food at home.
The 5 P’s: Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. Thanks dad, I’ll remember that when it comes to the weekly shop.
No you don’t need 10,000 face creams
My bathroom cabinet in Sydney resembles a cosmetics shop – Girls you hear me right? My toiletry bag when traveling is efficient but plentiful. Don’t buy into the marketing and supermarket offers when back home. Remember how you kept it simple when you lived out of your bag? Stick to that plan. Use something all up before replacing. And remember that coconut oil can pretty much fix everything ;-)
When watching your money, you do not do stupid things like pay for express post because you didn’t leave enough time for your shopping to arrive. You plan ahead. Be it leaving early so you don’t have to grab a taxi to make it to meetings on time, or shopping online for a big event. Thinking ahead and giving yourself more time saves you money and sanity. Something I seem to have a lot more of when I travel (well maybe just the sanity!).
Get out the pub & bring your own
I’m gob-smacked a beer costs $8. Can’t/Won’t do it. Grab a six-pack and take it to the park or beach. Way better!
I simply “Don’t do stress”
Well that’s actually a bit of a lie BUT I do think that stress is a choice. It’s a reaction to something external. And I react a lot to stupid stuff when I’m back home: a crowded train, someone pushing in, missing the bus. These things wouldn’t bother me so much when on the road. So when I get back, I’m not going to ‘do stress’. I’m not be the person that ‘tuts’ or foot taps in lines (ahh I hate those people). I’m just gong to take it all in my side. I don’t do stress. Simple.
Love home-time party hangs
I love a good diner party and I love cooking for friends. Normally I eat out so much that not only does my food at home end up going off, but my week’s budget can’t last past taco Tuesday! Diners at home, shared with friends, over long chats with boxed wine sound like a better way to catch up then over-priced restaurants anyways.
Know how much things cost & where
If your favourite loaf of bread costs double in one shop, why do you always buy it there? Figure out who sells what you need at the best price and shop there. Also shop around to make sure you are not paying more than you need to for things like currency exchange or tickets to concerts or sporting events. There are many fee-free ticket options to explore and there is no point paying more than you have to.
Buy and sell second hand and look to liquidate stuff that you don’t use. Facebook has some great buy-sell-swap pages in many local areas. Check out yours and see what stuff you don’t use you can flog. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure :-)
Check this dude out: Nomadic Matt has got heaps of travel budget tips that are well worth a read
How do you maintain your travel budget or refrain from spending money on unnecessary things once you’ve returned home from traveling? Go on spill, tell us in the comments below.