After 4 Countries and 8 local destinations in 8 months, one might think that I have a lot of money to burn. I’m glad I’m working in a BPO which is where I get most of my funds for traveling. But even so, when you know you’re going away almost every weekend to far-flung places and you have a lot of bills to pay, funds get depleted right away. I would like to share some of the things I did on how to save money for trips.
Times like these, I make sure that I budget my money in order to ensure that I still have enough funds for my travels. Some of my tips may be extreme, but they’re definitely doable.
Saving Money for Your Backpacking Funds
Food is one of the necessities that we spend everyday. I stopped going to medium-priced restaurants because they’re too costly at around 80Php to 100Php per meal. In our pantry, I’d usually spend about 35Php for rice and viand. However, I was able to save more when I decided to bring my own lunch from home. Doing so prevented me from ever spending on this need everyday. Saving 35Php a day already amounts to 700Php a month (20 days in a work month).
Extreme Saving Tip: Sell Food!
There came a point wherein my companions wanted to eat the same meals that I brought. Hence, I decided to have meals cooked in batches to accommodate them. By the way, the meals that I prepared were purely vegetables – with no hint of meat at all. Doing this not only helped them save money (since my veggies were not expensive), I also assisted them with their diet issues.
chayote, carrots, cabbage – stir-fried
How much did I spend in total? –43Php a day. Yes, that’s a Negative 43 bucks on expenses which means that I earned a profit because of selling lunch outside the office. I earned roughly a minimum of 50Php a day and I spent 7Php as my jeepney fare to work since I needed to bring a bag of food.
Simple mathematics would say that if I saved 35Php on not eating pantry food and profiting 43Php for selling, it would be a total of 78Php per day. Multiply it by 20 workdays, that’s already 1560Php savings a month!
The flag-down rate for a taxicab is 40Php and cost is 3.50Php per succeeding kilometer. Saving by not taking taxis isn’t really that applicable to me since I don’t hire taxis on a regular basis. But you can choose to live near your office in order to minimize on costs. I take a jeep to commute to and from work. Hence I only spend around 14Php for the fare alone.
“Your lifestyle should not change just because you got promoted to a higher position.” – A very inspiring advice I got from a friend. Truly, she still takes jeepney rides despite how far she lives from work and is already managing a number people.
Extreme Tip: Walk to Your Office or Back!
Since I live near the office, it only takes me 13 minutes of brisk-walking. In line with promoting an active lifestyle, you can use this as an opportunity to fight off hours of sitting on a chair on your work shift. The 14Php savings can be utilized for snacks at work if the veggies are too much.
Choose the type of clothes you buy. Pick classic items so you can wear them anytime. So long as it’s comfortable, you’ll definitely feel good wearing whatever your like. I’ve ample shirts for work because of purchasing them in flea markets. But for brand new clothes, instead of buying branded clothes, I choose to purchase items outside the country as it’s a lot cheaper. To date, I’ve never purchased a new shirt in 7 months.
Cheap quality shirts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Extreme Tip: Sell Clothes!
Buy clothes outside the country and sell them to your friends. Aside from clothes, you can also buy other items that they might fancy. During my trip in Cambodia and Bangkok, I bought items for my companions which actually aided in offsetting my travel fare going to those countries.
Tip: Work on the Night Shift
If your company operates 24/7, you will be given a night differential allowance (mandated by the Labor Code) whenever you work in the graveyard shift. A percentage of your basic salary will definitely add up to your travel fund.
I chose to work in the graveyard shift since I found out that I could earn more than the profit that I made out of selling food outside the office.
Extreme Tip: Do Overtime!
If it’s available, you may do overtime at work or clock in during your days off. You can get a premium if you work beyond your required hours, especially when you work on holidays. Just make sure that you don’t tire yourself in the process. Take time to rest.
Tip: Freelance Jobs – Work at Home
Due to increasing cost of living expenses, our full-time jobs are mostly just enough to cater to bills and basic necessities. Aside from cutting down on costs of those needs by doing the things above, you can also increase your earnings through sideline jobs. Use your skills wisely, if you’re good at Photography, tell your friends that you’re available for hire.
In my case, I got hired as a copy writer for employers who are in need of content for their websites. You can check out oDesk.com, Elance.com or onlinejobs.ph for available work. Different employers are on the lookout for content writers, web designers, programmers, etc. It’s a whole new ball game in the freelance world. Just make sure no conflicts of interest will arise with your regular job.
Extreme Tip: Build Your Own Business!
Instead of working for other employers, why not build your own sites so that you can be your own boss? Because of the skills I learned through blogging, I was able to set up websites for myself and I’m still in the experimental stage on different niches but I’m positive that I’ll get somewhere I want to be. Who knows, you might even be able to quit your job in order to focus on freelancing. I know a couple of people who did.
You may check out my other site, edearns.com, for a history on how I started earning online.
Tip: Stop Going to the Gym
At 1200 Php/month, I stopped going to the gym. It was unwise for me to spend a monthly membership when almost every month, I was out of town. Knowing that things could get busy at work (and my other works), I spent the remaining time for sleep.
pound for pound
Extreme Tip: Invest in Your Own Gym Equipment
If it can’t be helped for you to be active, you can invest on a couple of dumb bells for weight-lifting. Jogging, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, yoga poses are also free. Just ask help from Google on how to execute them properly.
I’m still planning to renew my membership after a couple of months when I don’t have travels planned. My fitness goals are not really to lose weight but still, I saved a hefty sum because of this simple decision.
These tips not only apply to travelling, but to saving money as a whole. I hope I was able to share useful information to open your mind about other possibilities. I’m not saying that I’m financially stable; I’m still living on pennies every payday.
Also, with the things I’ve done; it’s a matter of getting down to the basic necessities of living. So long as there’s decent food, shelter, and clothing, one can survive.
Don’t get me wrong though, sometimes I do deviate from these extreme saving practices because I want to reward myself a little. Like eating that double cheeseburger meal once or twice a month. But ultimately, these pointers can be done so long as you don’t lose focus; and sometimes you can’t lose focus when you have no choice.
“force saving is effective for me. for sure it will work for you too!” – Chyng
Proper Mindset – FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS.
All in all, you need to have the proper mindset. Don’t be pressured to go beyond the trend. There are a lot of people in the world doing normal things so doing something extreme can help you gain something else.
You’re biggest challenge is yourself and how to concentrate in finding out which goals matter more. Remember, saying “I Can’t.” will totally screw everything up. No one said it was going to be easy. Redefine your priorities and focus what you think is more important.
What were my motivations? Definitely the travelling aspect and reaching my goals. Because of these, I was able to
- bungy jump from the world’s highest tower in Macau,
- bungy jump and dip my head in water in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
- travel to 4 countries within 4 months and still keep my full-time job,
- meet interesting people,
- enjoy beautiful sights, and ultimately
- experience life.
Let me leave you a conversation I had with a sari-sari store attendant when I went out of the house in order to buy food for dinner.
Me: Miss, how much is the canned sardines?
Me: How about the canned tuna?
Me: I’ll get the sardines!
— Ah, the things I do to save money.
If you want to learn more tips about saving money for your trips, I suggest you check out these entries from other Pinoy Travel Bloggers:
Flip of FlipNomad.com – Smart Planning for Long Term Travelling: Saving Money
Chichi of WeAreSoleSisters.com – Sole Sister’s Guide to Saving Up for Your Escape Fund
Lois of WeAreSoleSisters.com – Sole Sister’s Guide to Saving Up for Your Escape Fund (Part2)
Nina of JustWandering.org – Earning Money For Travel
Next on my Travel Tips series, I’ll discuss how to save money while you’re already on the road.
What about you? What tips can you share? Anything Extreme to make them more challenging?
This post has been updated and submitted as my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed How to Fund your Wanderlust? which is hosted by James of JourneyingJames.com. Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts and topics.
Check out my other Money & Travel Tips articles here:
- How to Travel to Four Countries Within Four Months (Part One) – and still maintain your full-time job.
- How to Travel to 4 Countries and 8 Local Destinations within 8 Months (Part Two) – and still keep your full-time job
- How To Save Money for Your Trips and Extreme Saving Tips – My extreme money saving tips before I travel.
- How to Earn Online While Travelling – online income opportunities.
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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