You look at those pictures on instagram of people traveling the world and the voice in your head says that you would never be able to afford that, those people must be rich. Truth be told, that in all my time on the road I have never met someone who said they are wealthy and never have to work again in their lives. Every single person worked hard for the cash they spent on traveling, which is good news because it means you can do it too! Let me give you 5 tips on how to save money for your own overland adventure.
1. Move to a smaller apartment/house.
We spend a big amount of our budget on our living situation so it will have a big impact on how much of your income you are able to save every month. I’m sure your apartment downtown is lovely and it’s the hippest place in town, but do you need to be here or is there a cheaper place to live? Or can you find a roommate to split the costs? Be creative and honest with what you really need and if the answer is yes, then take action and move. It’s a great way to slowly adjust to the minimalist lifestyle of being on the road.
2. Sell the stuff that doesn’t fit into your new, smaller home
Now that you are about to move into a smaller place, it’s time to sell that stuff that was lying in your garage for years. If you haven’t touched it in the last 2 years, there is probably no need to keep it and since there is no space for it anymore it has got to go. Put everything on an online selling platform, you never know if someone is willing to buy your things and all the money you make can go straight into your savings account.
Now you often read the dramatic story of the person who sold everything and left on a daring adventure. It sounds romantic, but I never did that. There have always been things I would rather keep and store at my parents or a storage facility for the time I come home again. Before you leave you try to sell as much stuff as possible, but there is no need to go all in.
3. Stop going out for dinner or coffee and start making your own
It’s the small things that add up where you wonder where your money went this month. It’s the coffee you buy on your way to work, this feeling of luxury in everyday life. But by bringing your own coffee you are taking back control of your finances and every day taking a baby step in the direction of making a dream become a reality.
The same goes for restaurants or ordering take out. It’s expensive! Take time to cook which is not only healthier but in my opinion usually also better tasting.
4. Don’t drink alcohol
Does that sound like an impossible task to you? Then it might be time to look at your relationship with alcohol anyway. It’s an expensive hobby that it socially accepted, yet it secretly costs us a lot of money. I cringe when people say they cannot have a good time without alcohol because that is rubbish in my opinion. The best conversations I had were always when I was sober and just relaxing.
It’s not necessary to completely stop but reducing your alcohol intake will have a positive effect on your bank account, trust me.
5. Track your expenses for 3 months and start cutting out unnecessary expenses
Do you really need a netflix account if your are keeping yourself entertained with researching visa requirements or how to fix your car? Is your shopping habit really benefiting you or is it more like an addiction? Start thinking twice or thrice before you pull out your card to pay for something. Can you do groceries at a cheaper supermarket and can you live with the cheaper brand of cereal?
By tracking your expenses you get a proper overview of where your money is going. The next step is to be critical at every expense and ask yourself if you really need this or if it is luxury or if there is a more affordable option that delivers the same value.
Making these small changes add up in the end. We spend €0,48 per kilometer traveled while riding through Europe, so every time you save a euro you get to explore another 2 kilometers.