Skip The Dam Coffee

Saving up for a backpacking trip can be extremely annoying, especially when you’re on a low wage and all you want to do is escape and hit the road ASAP. The key to saving up for a backpacking adventure is simple – start small. Sacrifices must be made, but you’ll soon see the $$$$ add up.

In terms of your daily life, you’ve got to be ruthless. For starters, you know that cuppa joe from Starbucks you pick up in the morning, or late in the afternoon when the 3PM slump comes around? SKIP IT. Take away coffee costs are extortionate and when added up you’ll soon see that you could be booking a trip to the destination of your dreams – with a little more saving here and there.

“But I Like My Morning Coffee?!”

Me too, but save your cash and buy a travelmug, get up an extra 3 minutes in the morning and make your own coffee. Good premium instant coffees are always on offer for around £2 and last a long time – bring it into work / school as well, most places have a kettle or hot water dispenser. And BOOM – you’re already saving €2.50 or more every day. (My choice – Necafe Azera range)
Total Savings in a year (based on one €250 coffee per day): €650 – Enought for backpacking trip in south east Asia for 2 or 3 weeks.

“My Friends Are Eating Out This Friday…”

RestaurantCome on guys, on a Friday? The most expensive day of the week? Jeeeez. When preparing for a backpacking trip, eating out eats into your wallet. There will be peer pressure to go out for meals with pals, but once you add up the costs you’ll soon realise the benefits of skipping. I’m not a total killjoy though – so here’s some straightforward tips for dining out with friends.

  • Restaurants offer excellent deals between Sunday and Thursday and between 5-7PM. Half price meals and 2-for-1 offers can be found in many places. Sign up for newsletters to receive discounts from chain restaurants such as PizzaExpress.
  • Pass on the booze. A bottle of wine or a couple of beers can double the price of a meal. Avoid the peer pressure and enjoy a refreshing glass of fountain lemonade or cordial instead.
  • Tastecard and Hi-Life are just two services that offer 50% or 2-for-1 meals in a host of restaurants across Ireland the UK. Keep an eye out for free trials or huge membership discounts.
  • DealZippy aggregates all the Groupon, LivingSocial etc. deals onto one easy to use website. Great for finding massive discounts on meals, just don’t forget to read the Ts&Cs!

Total Savings: So let’s say two meals out per month. That’s roughly £60. = £720 / €850  – Enough for a two week Jucy Campervan road trip in Australia (incl. food + fuel).

“Lunch is OK, it’s just a sandwich?!”

leftover_lunchAn average high street Lunch deal (such as Pret-A-Manger)costs upwards of £3.50 (sandwich, drink and snack). That £3.50 everyday could be going towards the costs of a once in a lifetime skydive in Australia or a road trip through the Canadian Rockies.
My top tip is to cook a little bit extra for dinner the night before and take the leftovers into work with you. Not only will you have a delicious lunch, rather than a factory made sandwich, but you’ll also be saving an absolute fortune AND avoiding fatty snacks and sugary drinks.

Total Savings in a year (based on lunch every work day): Over £1,000 / €1,240 – enough to backpack through South-East Asia for two months.

“So all I’m allowed eat are noodles for 12 months?”

cheapfoodNonsense, today there is the information superhighway, with millions of recipes and tips for ways to eat cheaply. Reddit is your best friend here. Subreddits such as Eat Cheap & Healthy and 7DollarDinners are among the best resources for innovative cheap recipes.
It’s good to stock up fruit and nuts to snack on during the day. By eating fruit and nuts, energy is released slowly throughout the day, rather than an instant burst with chocolate. This results in craving less food and a much healthier diet in the long term.

My favourite tip though, and I’m slightly addicted to this, is the “Reduced to Clear” aisle in local supermarkets. This is where the soon to expire meat, fish, veg and whatever else go. Bargains of up to 90% can be found on meat (the most expensive part of cooking). Best to stock up, wrap in clingfilm and freeze when you get home – saves a fortune on meals in the long term.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and I’ll be adding more idea in the future – but if you have any of your own tips just let me know!

Now, where are you jetting off to with all your saved cash?!

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