How do I save?

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How do I save?

Postby monkeyrose » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:43 pm

So I've planned this year long trip in South America for almost 4 years now. My date of depaturture is 2012. I have gone from $25,000 debt to only $2,000 debt in those past 4 years. I have been saving but I just used my travel money to pay off most of the last bit of debt.... I would have to pay it off before I go anyways. So as it stands I'm -$2000 towards my trip and only have one year left. I figure I'm going to need $15,000 for the trip. This is a hefty task.

I wanted to do The Great South American Journey which is $7879 and I was planning on volunteering through a non profit in the galapolis for 6 months for $2000.... plus I need the plane trip down there. I've also been saving up airmiles because now you can use them towards GAP Tours! (yay)


But anyways does anyone have any ideas? I'm kinda at a loss. I could just do the great south american journey santiago to quito which is $4319... That would make the trip more doable but I really wanted to do the salt flats excursion and see rio, bueno aires, and ignassu falls.
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Re: How do I save?

Postby jimshu » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:07 pm

Life is all about balance between what we want and want we can afford. And you'll need to make those choices.
The purely business approach with budgeting is you either increase your income, or cut your costs,(which means pruning expenditure), or borrowing for short term, which has an inherent problem of having to be paid back so increases your future costs.

So have you got any ideas on earning extra income? Extra job?

Or can you cut costs? Have you gone through and written down all your actual living costs?
Do so, then you'll get a good overall picture of what you can go without, cut down on,etc.( You've probably already done all that as you've been able to save so well.)

Then write down exactly what you want to do on your trip in order of preference, and zero in on the last one, because that may have to be the one you ditch. Or delay for another time.
Hope this helps MR because whatever you do finally end up doing is going to be a blast. You'll love.
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Re: How do I save?

Postby graybeard » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:17 pm

Airmiles towards paying for GAP tours??? Haven't heard of this! Sounds very promising. Kindly point me to the GAP website location (or wherever) that details it.
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Re: How do I save?

Postby georginal » Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:27 pm

Firstly well done in paying off all that (thats the ex-banker in me speaking).

I'd have a look at whether theres any countries out in the continent you want to go to where you can legally apply for a Working Visa before you go. While it wont help you save now, it might help eliviate some of the expenditure while your away. Also consider volunteer work in exchange for lodgings and food will help keep costs down while you're away. Have you had a look at the Willing Workers site yet??

The most expensive items while you away will be you flight, accommodation and food. Could you do a non-direct flights with a long layover somewhere, they usually work out cheaper than direct, as flying during the week does to. Shop around.

I'm also inclined to agree with Jimshu, delay the trip if you have to, what would be the big deal if you had to go out 6 months or a year later. If you're concerned about money now, whats going to happen when your that far from home, and trying to sort out your financials? I had to do it once, I had just started working the summer season in France and still had a couple of weeks to go before payday (at least I had a payday) and was totally maxed out on everything. A call to the UK cost me GBP7.00 just to get my bank to extend my overdraft. It wasn't a great call and the stress level was ridiculous. That was also not particularly far away from home either!

Good luck and when you do get to S America, enjoy!!.
Last edited by georginal on Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How do I save?

Postby DanielBMe » Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:31 pm

graybeard wrote:Airmiles towards paying for GAP tours??? Haven't heard of this! Sounds very promising. Kindly point me to the GAP website location (or wherever) that details it.


I'd like to hear more about this too!
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Re: How do I save?

Postby btomlin » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:18 pm

DanielBMe wrote:
graybeard wrote:Airmiles towards paying for GAP tours??? Haven't heard of this! Sounds very promising. Kindly point me to the GAP website location (or wherever) that details it.


I'd like to hear more about this too!


I believe to use your Airmiles towards a GAP tour, you need to book through the Air Miles Travel Department (basically they become your "travel agent")
https://www.airmiles.ca/arrow/RewardsNo ... 6303888543
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Re: How do I save?

Postby iiztehtravelbug » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:53 am

This is just adding words to what jimshu said...

So, I managed to book myself on an expedition cruise to Antarctica, departing in one year (Dec 2011)... While I had been dreaming about visiting Antarctica for precisely my entire conscious life, I made up my mind that I'm actually going to go two months ago. I'm looking at a fairly large cost.

Saving money is not the easiest task in the world, especially when you have a gazillion expenses (things of importance - such as bills, mortgage, etc.) It took a bit of work and a lot of thinking, but as a result, I'm right on track with my savings...

Here is my strategy... feel free to use it if you like it:
First, you need to ask yourself: How bad do you want this trip and how much are you willing to sacrifice for it? For example, at this point, my definition of my trip to Antarctica is a "need" as opposed to a "yeah, that would be nice". I think about nothing else! Antarctica is on my mind every waking moment of my life every single day! I'm completely addicted (I suffer from the "Antarctica high" haha!!) and there is absolutely no cure for me! :lol:

So, anyway... I turned the whole saving bit into a game!
Of course, I sought extra hours at work... 6 extra hours per day, i.e. Seems extra money is the key! Secondly, budgeting has great powers!

- Each and every single paycheque of mine has a certain percentage allocated to it (I'm a bit of a "math-head" - numbers make things interesting for me) My percentage schedule: After all sacrifices included, I managed to assign 40% to my savings. Of my saving money, 70% goes into my Antarctica account, 25% goes into my regular savings account, and 5% into my "other trips" account.
The remaining 60% is all my spending money - until I get my next cheque. I pay all my bills, get my groceries, and deal with any required spending. If in case I have any left over and my next cheque is already in my account, ready for use, I simply take everything I managed to save from my spending money from the previous cheque and dump it into my Antarctica account.
The same schedule reruns itself with the new cheque...

I even created an Excel sheet to help me figure it all out. I enter in the cheque amount, and it calculates itself, telling me exactly how much I need to put in which account.

The game I've created for myself: On a daily basis, I challenge myself to spend as little as possible. Since I work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, food is a big expense - I started cooking at home (never did that before, and always ended up eating out). You wouldn't believe it, I bought groceries last weekend, and spent extra time finding the cheapest possible food (I cut out meat from my diet to save money) at the cheapest possible local grocery store - $33.00!! And, I'm hoping to live on that food for the next week and a half!

Of course, that also goes to say that I've cut everything else off too - social life is down to the most minimum possible! Everything I have to buy or spend any sort of $ on gets a good look from me. I keep asking myself: Do I need this more than Antarctica? Usually the answer is "no"!

Another tip: You sound like you have some time on your hands. See if you can get a saving account with a financial institution that pays a lot of interest. Not sure what country you are in... but I would highly recommend ING Direct - they have really great interest rates! (In Canada, they are sitting at 1.5% right now - my normal bank pays 0.25% on a basic savings account - phhbbt!!)
ING is great because they let you open more than one savings account (kind of like 'sub-accounts'), and you can better manage your savings, categorize, and so on...

The point is, it is a lot of hard work - but I can assure you the harder you work, the more you are going to enjoy your trip! Most importantly: think positive, dream more, and work harder! Believe that you have made up your mind about traveling and it is worth all the effort you can put into it, just because that's how awesome it's going to be...

By the way, bringing down debt from $25K to $2K is one heck of an accomplishment! Congratulations! :)

Hope this helped!

Happy saving! :D
It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
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Re: How do I save?

Postby TravelFun » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:18 pm

Where there is a will there is a way...pure dedication iiztehtravelbug and Antarctica will reward your efforts for sure, awesome!

...and a fine job monkeyrose to reduce your debts. Still worth looking at delaying your trip until you can financially cover your total costs plus some emergency funds. Lest the stress to return to more debts!

Good luck to all and Happy Travels!
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Re: How do I save?

Postby iiztehtravelbug » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:45 pm

haha! Thanks, TravelFun! :D

Of course, if anyone else has any 'creative' ways / strategies to add to the mix, please do share!

Saving for anything is fun, boring, depressing, satisfying, rewarding, soul-sucking, etc. - all at the same time! The challenge is great... but, you cannot put a price on your spirit of exploration and adventure...
(or something like that...)
It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville
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