The Honsest Truth Why I Can Travel on Minimum Wage
When I finally had something to start saving for, I went all in. For seven odd years I've been only spending money on what I constituted as necessary. Sure, I'd spend $60 on a good friends birthday dinner, or a jacket I've been eyeing for multiple seasons. But mostly, I saved every penny.
I'd cook for myself, spend Friday and Saturday nights at home alone. I'd drink tea instead of coffee. I'd 'pin' things I want instead of actually buying them.
I've got my savings down pat and I can live on a very small monthly wage.
But it does come with sacrifice.
I recently realised I no longer get invited out. And my weekends are usually spent alone – my partner and housemate work nights. And as much as I relish in my own company, there are days when I feel like I'm missing out. #fomo
I remember why I'm living so stringently and recognise that it's my decision. I could go out! And when people make an envious comment on how much I travel, I can't help but think about the sacrifices I make to live this life.
So if you're eager to save more money and make travel a priority, here are my top tips to travel on minimum wage.
Make yourself a budget and stick to it
Get out a pen and paper or create an excel spreadsheet and write down all your monthly expenses. This is an insight into how I budget for a month of expenses but obviously, everyone would be different:
Rent Electricity (average cost of electricity bill x 4 / 12 = how much to save monthly) Gas (average cost of gas bill x 4 / 12 = how much to save monthly) Water (average cost of water bill x 4 / 12 = how much to save monthly) Monthly phone bill Monthly internet bill Other large annual bills (this could be car insurance, health insurance, contents insurance) / 12 = how much to save monthly Monthly food costs – $100 per week (my grocery bill is around $50 a week so this covers going out, drinking and birthdays) Monthly transport (things like petrol or public transport – but I suggest trying to ride and walk where you can)
Now you've got a monthly figure, put the rest into savings and pretend it never existed!
Open a high-interest savings account with a new bank
If you've got a savings account with a different bank, quite often you have to wait up to 3 days for any transfers to come through, which gives you time to think about using it for something other than travel – like that Acne leather jacket you've absolutely desperately needed all your life, but know it's so not necessary to spend over $2,000 on a damn jacket.
Limit the times you eat and drink out
Don't eat or drink out more than once a week. If you've got a few people you'd like to catch up with then try to make some catch-ups over coffee – much more affordable than dinner!
Ask yourself before you buy, do I need this?
Make every purchase a conscious purchase and only buy what you absolutely need. That goes for food, clothes, electronics, everything!
Don't buy lunch, instead, eat leftovers
There's really no excuse to buy lunch every day of the work week. Save your pennies and eat leftovers. Or you can always buy ingredients for simple lunches. My favourite would be turkish rolls, hummus, avocado, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and a lemon to dress – delicious!