How did you save £10K each? A question asked often. Mainly by asking myself ‘Canada or crap, Gemma?’ and executing Two Scots Abroad’s 5 S’s of Saving. How to save money, rapidly.
1. Separate Your Salary
I get paid monthly. As soon as I get paid I move £600 into my house account for rent, bills, etc and £500-£600 into a separate account. Initially an ISA but once we reached the £15k yearly allowance we moved the funds over to a Flex Plus account with Nationwide (which does not charge you when taking money out of ATMs abroad (amongst other benefits like phone and travel insurance, not for backpackers though) for a £10 monthly charge. In the beginning you need work out what you can live off. Make a list, calculate how much that list costs you (you don’t need a new leather jacket, doubtful you will wear it in Costa Rica) and minus that from your income. Craig is self-employed so his wages don’t work like that. Every time he makes £1000 he banks it. He doesn’t recommend this way of saving but it’s the nature of his job.
For my birthday, Craig bought me a ceramic pot – one of those pots you have to break to get into. And it’s pretty so I don’t really want to break it. When I initially stopped eating sweets (my vice) I put a £2 coin in every second day. Then I started eating sweets again (I’ll give up in Peru, right?) and I stuck in a fiver here and there. The pot can hold £1000 worth of £2 coins. Craig has a tin that he puts his £2 coins in, his last count was £206. Nice.
It really is a question of needs and wants – when I feel the urge to purchase I say to myself ‘Canada or crap?’ Now I know there will be times you need to spend money – birthdays (like my Mum’s 50th, Granddad’s 80th, all of my friend’s 30ths), weddings (all 6 of them) and the like, but gifts don’t have mean splurging. Friends and family understand – it’s time to get creative! Here’s a post on cheap but impressive homemade presents.
2. Sell Your Stuff to Save Money
What’s the point in buying things? You will ask that question when you are selling off everything and making 50p on a top worth a tenner. I’ve participated in two car boot sales at the (Greenside) Omni Centre in Edinburgh. It’s actually an enjoyable experience but you need to be prepared to sell low and accept that punters want everything for less than £1. First time around I made £95 and the second time I went for the ‘everything for £1’ strategy and made £83.80. Final sale is this weekend, I’ll keep you posted. I’ve totally got car boot sales covered now, here’s how to execute.
I was determined not to sell our DVDs for 30p to Music Magpie. It felt like such a waste but I only managed to shift one of three boxes over the two car boot sales so Music Magpie was the only option left. You can download the app and scan the DVD barcodes which is easy. You then need to box them (they have to be covered, we made that mistake) and leave them in a designated area (our shed) on the date agreed for collection. A month later, the company processed the cheque to be posted so you do need a bit of time. Our total was £41.65 for 99 DVDs (two were deemed unacceptable, they keep and ‘recycle’ these!)
I’m lucky because I have a great relationship with a preloved clothes shop owner of Glorious, formed through my shopping habits (addiction to second hand / vintage clothes)! This relationship has progressed from shopper to seller. Twice a year I pass my beloved Top Shop goods on to Glorious, the owner decides what will sell and I collect funds from previous sales (£150 last time). Failing that there are shops that buy your clothes, bed sheets, towels etc but don’t expect much from it. I put in four black bags worth and got approx. £7.
Ebay. Love it? I’ve not had much success selling on Ebay. Two items never made it to the buyer (jewellery which went for about £1 each) but Craig has made a fair bit – £200 on worky things kicking about the garage. Remember Ebay charges you at the end of each month.
We plan to sell our couch on Gumtree (Craigslist type website) or local Facebook pages. Anyone interested? I also have a car, Toyota Aygo £4000 40,000 miles on the clock…. (The car makes up the total by the way, it’s not additional).
3. Speak And Find Money Solutions
I’ve always been averse to speaking to my bank. I just assumed they wanted me to take out more bank accounts or loans but the meeting I had last year was really useful. The advisor went through my accounts and cleared up any outstanding direct debits not in use. She also pointed out that I had a whopping bill from Sky one month (two films and the boxing – Craig). This made us really assess our spending (back to needs/wants). Another useful tip for those saving from that chat – if you are fearful of having a savings account because the thought of touching it stresses you out, create a third account. On pay day – move savings from your ‘day to day use’ account, move a smaller amount of savings from your day to day use account to this third account and if you need to money because you have went over your budget then this is the account you remove money from. Stress over.
I am never averse to complaining! Most recently I called to enquire about closing my EE mobile account and I wish I had done this sooner as they moved me down a tariff! Prior to that I made complaints as the online team kept telling me different things from the phone team, the phone team reduced my tariff and gave me a refund too. I complained to a bank as they kept sending me letters about loans – £50 cheque for my inconvenience. When an Airbnb renter cancelled our SXSW stay, Airbnb gave us $25 credit to spend in the future (and that didn’t even need a complaint – just really good customer service! Have you used them? I highly recommend, we rented an apartment in London for Field Day Music Festival and now have a room booked in NOLA and an AIRSTREAM booked in Austin through them – click here for money off your first rental).
Cancel Sky, get Now TV. It’s a fiver a month for the entertainment package! Sky actually called us and offered Sky back for free since we had our phone line and broadband through them.
4. Searching Helps Save Money Too
Argh! I know! I hate it too but it’s the best way to save money. I researched the best credit card deals for using abroad.
AirBnb – see above. Do it! Want to stay in a treehouse? City penthouse? Aeroplane converted hotel? They’ve got it all.
I’m still searching for travel insurance. We need insurance for backpackers travelling 18 months with a Macbook who want to jump out of planes; ski down slopes and potentially work when the savings run out. You’re talking at least £850 each (and ironically it’s the hike to Machu Picchu which is taking the price sky high).
5. Sobriety – The Unthinkable Answer to How to Save Money?
Whhhhhhaaaaat? Seriously, stop drinking – it saves money and you’ll feel like a boss at gym. Have you seen what South American girls look like in swimwear? I still drink, just not every weekend. We have too much to do to waste a day on the couch under the dark cloud of hangover guilt. We also can’t justify a take away every weekend (ahem Craig). When you are headache free there is more chance of going outdoors. There is so much of your own country that you can see for free by using your legs! I did the West Highland Way last April and I am in awe of Scotland, she is such a beaut.
Here’s a biggy – quit your vice. Mines is sweets (chocolate, jelly sweets, just sugar in general, not really cakes bizarrely). If I can go four days without eating sweets I am in control again. And it means more £2 coins for the pot (and pounds off the waistline)! So that’s number five of The 5 S’s of Saving.
To recap – less Singapore ‘Slings means more kerching, use your searching abilities for more than just Tinder, seek out support, sell what you doesn’t fit in a backpack, and lose it before you use it (to another bank account).
How To Save Money – Super Saving Tips
Saving money? I can help you. I’m a super saver, yes the stereotypical tight Scot! Browse the following articles for more tips.
- 5 Top Saving Tips
- Car Boot Sale Tips
- Best Credit Cards for Travel – For Brits!
- Cheeky Cheap Gift Guide