• holtscarlet

The 6 tips I use to be able to travel on a low income

Being 19 and a student I don't have a lot of money...however, I love to travel, and I love to have financial independence by having my own house, car and paying for my own holidays. These are the top 10 tips that I use so that I can afford to live the life I want to. 

Tip 1: Set up online banking. Most people already do this, but having a banking app were you can constantly see how much money you have, it is key to managing it. 

Tip 2: Open more bank accounts (under the same bank so you can manage them on one app). I have 3 bank accounts, my current account which is for the money I spend on a daily basis, when shopping, going to dinner or getting a Starbucks. Then I have a 'bills account' (it's technically still a current account), but I use this account to pay for all my bills via direct debit. Then I have a savings account, with this account I can transfer and withdraw money from it, but having the money I want to save separate from the rest stops me from spending it. 

Tip 3: Write down how much you earn each month, and where your money needs to go. I'm a student, so I use my student loan to pay for my bills and my disposable income, then I get my boss to pay directly into my savings account when I get paid from my job, so every penny I earn from working I save. If you're not a student and you only have 1 income, write down how much exactly you need to pay your bills each month, how much realistically you spend each month on going out, and how much you want to save each week. 

Tip 4: When you know how much money goes where set up direct debits so that your bills money goes into one account, and your savings money goes into your savings account automatically then you won't be tempted to touch it. 

Tip 5: Always save. Even when you've not saving up always put away money each week. (If you put away just £20 a week, you'll have over £1000 in a year). This means you'll always have a chunk of money, so if you do decide you want to book a holiday then you have the deposit ready.

Tip 6: RESEARCH what I've found is that travel agents will try rip you off! Research discount sites like 'secretescapes' so you can look at the prices for your dream destinations, and you know how cheap you can travel for...even 5 star!  Look for the exact destinations you want to go within a country, for example, when I went to Thailand the travel agent was trying to get us to go to Phuket for a lot of money (he would get paid more if we booked), but because we had done a research we knew we wouldn't like it there and didn't book, thank god! When you decide to book have a budget, and make it quite low (obviously not £100 for a 5* holiday in the Maldives, but a realistic low price)! You'll find that you can still get the holiday of your dreams for a lot cheaper than most people, and if your budget is lower than you actually can afford, then you have more flexibility if you want a better hotel. 

These tips don't just work for holidays (well except tip 6), this is what I did to pay for my driving lessons & Christmas presents! I always have a chunk of money saved away, right now I am saving to go to the Philippines! And having my bills in one place and savings in another, means that the money in my current account I know I can spend when I want, and I don't have to do any maths in my head to work out whether or not I can afford an extra drink at dinner!

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Currently, studying social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Spending my summers trying out new places and experiences.

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