You've decided on Australia to be your first big adventure abroad and after budgeting the month long trip, it is going to cost at least $5000. With your current saving track you can only manage $1000 while working full time with a healthy social life and you want to leave in a year. With prices for flights going back up and the high cost of living how can we save for the next trip? Here are some ideas.
Get rid of cable TV. Cable TV starts at $50 a month and goes up from there. Don't pay that much when you can get your TV shows online for free. Have you heard of Hulu? Besides that, you still have over-the-air broadcast channels and Amazon Instant Video as a cheap alternative. Worried about missing the next season of No Reservations? You can find great travel TV shows on free broadcast stations.
If you cut out paying for cable TV, you save minimum $50 a month times 12 months equals a cool $600 a year. One year without cable TV will pay for one month of accommodations at many of the hostels around Aussie-land.
Next let's consider what you eat while at work. The key here is to avoid going out to eat for lunch as that will cost $10 or more for the meal. Instead, bring a bag lunch to work with each meal costing only a few dollars a day. Change to this eating habit for only 3 days a week and watch the savings add up.
That will save $7 a day times 3 days a week times 52 weeks a year equals $1092 a year. And that was only 3 lunches a week. Looks like brown bagging lunch will pay for your flight.
Do you like bottled water? If so, consider scratching the bottles and drink it out of the tap. Bottled water can cost $5 for a case of 24, which will last about a week if you're lucky. Doing the math $5 times 52 weeks equals a savings of $260 a year. Not bad as $260 can get you whitewater rafting, skydiving, or a hot air balloon ride in Cairns. Which do you prefer?
Your social life doesn't have to be cut out completely, just managed financially. Drinks are best served cheap, and nothing is cheaper than happy hour. Get on those 2 for 1 drinks to save big and still have fun. The more you drink, the more you save. Right? Then after happy hour ends, switch to an inexpensive domestic beer, like PBR or High Life.
If you go out once a week, every week, you can save at least $10 a week times 52 weeks equals $520. You now have enough for a trip to Uluru! Or you could translate that $520 USD into about $570 AUD to use as your drinking money while in Australia. Either way will have you saying "g' day, mate!" in no time..
So far from getting rid of cable, bagging your lunch and drinking on the cheap, you have saved almost $2500 extra dollars. Not a huge sacrifice considering you will soon be drinking a pint of Carlton Cools in a beach hammock on the Gold Coast.
Finally, lets look at rent, the biggest expense most young people have. This can range anywhere from $400 a month to $1200 in most average sized cities. Can you squeeze in a roommate? That is going to cut your rent in half. Or even better yet, do you have family who can house you for your last few months while you save that last bit of cash? Even for 2 or 3 months you can save an extra $1000-$2000 by living with family.
Considering you are an independent traveler, living with family is not your preferred option so let's get a roommate. This brings a savings of at least $300 a month times 12 months equals an additional $3600. That can extend your stay in Australia by another month.
Now that you know how to save for it, find out how to manage your finances while traveling.
Do the math on your current lifestyle to see where you can save the most. You can easily spend more than a month in Australia or any other foreign country and all it takes is 12 months of careful financial planning.