How to travel: saving your savings
There are many things I have Iceland to thank for. The chance to slather myself in mud and wallow in geothermal waters. The chance to watch water erupting from the earth as regularly as clockwork.
Even the chance to see the Northern Lights during my trip to Reykjavik – although they weren’t quite as cooperative as the geysers, and a combination of bad luck and bad weather meant I’m still hunting for them… and plotting to go back to Iceland.
What I didn’t expect from this fabulous country was the discovery that my savings were protected. Back in 2008, as I left one of my last full-time jobs to go freelance, I had savings in one of the Icelandic banks like many others – and as the crisis hit there, I thought for a while that I would lose the lot.
Thankfully not, but it was reassuring to discover the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) exists to protect your savings – for free. It’s automatic and you’ll get your money back in 7 days.
It will surprise no-one to read that I’m on a constant mission to travel more – which means saving, budgeting and generally acquiring money (fair means only, honest) to pay off trips like Burma and California last year and put towards all those exciting plans for 2017.
So far, I’m hankering after another trip to Asia – Indonesia, the Philippines and Borneo are joining my long-term bucket listers of Cambodia and Vietnam, while the motley remainder includes Seville, Greece, the Cape Verde islands and a cruise.
Which means ‘Save more money’ is likely to be on my New Year’s Resolutions list once again – not least because I’m at the age where highly exciting things like mortgages, pensions and all those expenses which come with my gorgeous daughter are on my radar.
Here are three everyday things that work for me – let me know your top savings tips in the comments?
1. Don’t be impulsive
I am a sucker for a gift shop or those little treats which don’t seem to cost that much – which is how I end up coming away from National Trust properties with a new scarf or notebook or knick knack. I have a lot of scarves, notebooks and knick knacks already.
Instead, I try to wait 48 hours and think whether I really want that… or a holiday? Otherwise, a few of those scarves could be a low-cost flight!
2. Tidy ruthlessly
I accumulate. And I hoard. It took me almost a year to finally sell my daughter’s buggy after she’d stopped needing it. Same with her high chair. Same with all kinds of other things which she’s grown out of or I never use.
These days, I try to get everything on to eBay or local Facebook groups as soon as I can, and put the cash into my travel savings account. And my cupboards are happier for it too.
3. Get cashback
I’m never going to be able to stop spending money altogether – but if I’m making the purchases anyway (and even I need new clothes eventually), then cashback sites like Quidco, Top Cashback or a credit card that gets air miles means at least I’m getting a bonus back.
If you’re looking for some more inspiration about why to save and destinations that don’t cost the earth, there’s some great ideas in this film too.
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Disclosure: Compiled in association with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme*
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