Travel budget

How can we afford all this travelling? Are you on another holiday, again?

This are two questions/comments we do often hear. Personally we would love to travel more, but hey we both hold a full-time job and getting leave is not always easy and we also need to create enough funds to afford our travels.

There are heaps of blog posts on how to safe money for travel via small things such as making your own lunch and not having coffee’s anymore. There are also travellers who swear by having credit cards which rake up lots of points to enjoy free flights or upgrades. These things might work for some, but not for us. We are both in our 40’s and want to live our life every single day and not just when we are on holidays! Although we admit, we do make our own lunches, but this is more our Dutch background.

1. Moving oversees

OK this sounds it bit drastic and at the time it was not considered as a way to get more money to travel. But being relatively new into the country, we use every opportunity to go out and explore our region. This is great and sometimes we do this in a one day trip other times we stay a night over. These little trips give us a feeling that we are travelling/sightseeing and don’t cost us much more than a weekend at home. Secondly by moving oversees, we realised that we don’t attach to things, the experiences count for us not possessions. Although we have to admit that we have upgraded our furniture from flatpack cheap stuff to some nicer pieces and we do love the quality and comfort……

Kinderdijk with logo.003
We did change scenery by leaving the Netherlands.

2. Relocate from Melbourne to Gisborne

We did live in Melbourne for a couple of years and our 2 bedroom tiny town house was costing us $1820 in rent a month. And this is 4,5 years ago! The townhouse was old, and so was the kitchen and bathroom, there was no storage and we did struggle with space if family or friends would come over. The big advantage was, we were 5 km’s from work and we were using our bikes to get there. Nevertheless, we did do the sums and came to the conclusion that we could never afford our own place in this area. So we did decide to move out of the city.

We did relocate ourselves from Melbourne to Gisborne, and now the distance from work is 52 km. Is it cheaper? It sure is! Our rent went down to $1430 a month for a 3 bedroom brand-new unit with 2 bathrooms. More than enough space to have our family and friends from oversees staying with us.

Surely we did have more costs on commuting to and from work, but living in the “country” means a relaxed lifestyle for us. We don’t hear the traffic 24/7 anymore, we now hear kookaburra’s and cockatoo’s, what else do you want?

3. No more Friday night drinks

The couple of years we did live in Melbourne, we did party a lot. Having drinks on Friday night after work resulted usually in a hangover on Saturday morning and an empty wallet. Drinking with friends was one thing that blew our budget. We would easily spend $200 on night in town and a taxi ride home. This would happen almost every week and in long weekends maybe twice. If you do the sums, if would mean we would spend a staggering $10.000 on evenings in pubs, clubs and taxi rides.

By moving this also changed, we still go out, but not as often, and when we do, one of us will drive back. Automatically this means we do leave earlier and at least one of us is sober and usually the other person doesn’t drink that much either. All I can say is that we feel heaps better the next day!

No more weekly Friday night drinks

4. Going out for breakfast instead of dinner

We love to go out and check out different eateries, but eating out usually means we go out for brekkie rather than dinner. Why? We are up early, getting up at 7am means we did sleep in, so getting in the car on an early Saturday or Sunday morning is fun. We go to a local town, have breakfast and a few coffees and go for a walk, or we go home and work in the garden or whatever. This give us a relaxed start of the day,  and we do spend some nice time together and bonus; there is almost a whole day left. But the big benefit is we just saved us at least $100. Dinners with a nice bottle of wine tend to be around the $150 mark for us and that is in a mid range restaurant, not a bargain pub meal and also not a degustation menu. Brekkie on the other hand is usually around the $50 for both of us with two coffees each.

5. Having 1 car instead of 2

We do have one car instead of two cars, which saves us a lot of money. Think about registration, insurance and service costs alone. Surely we could use a second car on some occasions, but with some planning we do manage with one. Of course getting a smaller cheaper car or not having a car at all would save us even more but that is not an option for us. Some weekends we need to be at work and living this far out means we have less public transport options. We do have a V-line and we do use this service occasionally on week days, but at weekends it just doesn’t work as smooth. Besides we do use our car to go on camping trips.

No second car is needed!

6. Have a pre-paid mobile

We didn’t have any credit rating when we did enter Australia, so in the beginning we couldn’t get a mobile on a plan. All we could do is buy a mobile with a pre-paid card. Now, so many years later we are still on a pre-paid card. Why? Simply because it is cheaper! We don’t use our mobile for many phone calls and if we call family or friends oversees we do use WhatsApp, we mainly message, use email and social media. Our current Optus, pre-paid card gets recharged every 45 days with $30. This will give us $500 of credit ($250 of Mybonus and $250 Optus Money) and 5GB of data. Try to find a plan which will cost you the same for this amount of data and calls.

Secondly by not having a plan we miss out of offers to upgrade our mobile’s, which saves us again. Our mobiles now last 2,5 to 3 years before we do replace them. The old one usually still works, but upgrading our mobile is something we want/need to do at some stage. Because we do buy our phones outright and simlock free we tend to buy the previous model and not the latest, which saves again some money.

Pre-Paid Op

7. Go camping

We would like to visit Patagonia and Iceland in the next couple of years and also want to see our family in the Netherlands a few times, those trips cost a lot of money. Everybody can imagine what the cost will be for Patagonia or Iceland but the response we do get from our Australian friends and work mates is: At least you have a cheap trip to Europe! No we don’t have a cheap trip to go back home.
Even though we are staying with family in the Netherlands, we still spend a lot of money. Just flights would cost us around the $3600 for both of us, than you have the hire car, the gifts, going out etc etc, which brings us easily to a total of $5000. Not a problem, not at all, we love to do this. Of course a lot is because we drive zigzag through the entire country to meet up with everybody, but $5000 for 2 weeks is a lot.

No, if we want to safe money for a big trip we tend to go camping. Camping can be as expensive as you make it! If you drive a lot of km’s the price goes up, if you stay a lot of nights in caravan parks the price goes up. The costs do vary a bit for us, depending an which state we travel and what we do, but on average a week camping including fuel for the car, food, sight seeing, would cost us $500. Just coming back to that trip to the Netherlands; the $5000 for 2 weeks, could have been used for 10 weeks of camping in Australia. Let alone how long we could go camping for the amount we would need to safe up for the Patagonia trip…….


8. We don’t do fashion

We both are not into fashion, nice dresses and matching handbags and shoes. Nope we are both happy in jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie to go to work and luckily we can wear this to work. Weekends we usually wear the same kind of clothes, only when we do go out we wear something nicer, but 2 dress pants with a couple of nice tops will go a long way. We don’t skimp on quality, or comfort but we also don’t care if that pair of hiking shoes has last years colours or this years colours.

9. Buy energy friendly equipment and long lasting gear

Don’t know what it is, but we both are very aware of energy labels and always look at these. I was in shock six years ago when a washing machine needed the be purchased, I saw the energy labels and especially the water labels on the typical Australian Top loader washers. When I did tell the sales person that I wasn’t after one of these but after an European front loader, he did look at me if I was crazy. Yes these machines were 6 six ago probably double the price of a typical top loader, but water usage was so much less and even energy use is less. So no difficult choice for me. Same with a TV, 5 years ago, surely we could buy a huge plasma for the same price as our 32″ LED TV. But all  I know that by know we have saved lot’s of $$$ on our electricity bills by leaving  the plasma TV in the shop.

10. We don’t have depts

This last one is probably the most important one! We don’t have any depts, besides having a mortgage on our home. I know this is also a dept, but we like to see this one as an investment not a dept.

We don’t have store cards and our credit cards are automatically re-paid every month, which saves us on high interest rates. We keep op top of our bills and pay these on time, which can result in big savings. For example we do have a 30% discount on our energy bill, if we pay on time, we will be getting a massive fine if we pay to late. The 30% discount is such a large amount, so we make sure that we do pay on time.

To make sure that we have enough funds we do use a simple excel spread sheet to keep track of our expenses and savings. This allows us to see which costs we can expect and there is not a surprise bill from the council or the car rego, after all these cost have to be paid on an annual or quarterly base.

Getting more budget for travel starts with getting rid of depts! So start with number 10 and see which other ways work for you to generate more budget for travelling.


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