I hear lots of people talking about how they wished they could save money to travel or they wished they didn't have so many bills. Maybe they're banking on winning the lottery to get them going.
It's easy to get caught up in this belief, thinking people who travel are so much luckier than you are and things have just worked in their favour.
"But I DO really want to travel" I hear you say. "I'd do anything!"
I believe you. But you need to know that saving money to for a big trip isn't easy and you have to put the work in if you really want it. Most people who travel didn't just receive money which they could do whatever they wanted with. It takes effort, dedication and commitment to stay strong and it means turning down more events than you attend.
It's tough work and you'll probably need to stick to it for a long time, especially if you want to go away for a while. But there is one thing that'll always keep you going - the light at the end of the tunnel. And, it's a bright one!
Is travel really what you want to be doing more than anything in the whole wide world? OK, great. Then let's go through the 8 warning signs that you may never save the money to go. Knowing these means you can make the changes required and finally start preparing to be on your way.
1. You're still buying new clothes
Even if deep down you know that you don't need anything new you're still giving in to the idea that you need a new outfit for an event. Or maybe you just really like something and decide you deserve it. What do you like more - the dress or a travel lifestyle?
2. You spend money you don't have on your credit card
There's nothing wrong in using a credit card if you're doing it to get airline points or if it lowers the interest rate on your home loan. If you're using it this way then I assume you're also making sure to pay it off each month to avoid fees.
But if you're spending money on your credit card just because you haven't been paid yet then you'll never get ahead enough to save.
Be sure to track every bit of money you spend on your cards, actually write it down somewhere or go through your statements regularly. It's a lot easier paying for things on the go when you're not handing over physical cash. Purchases made by card can add up very quickly without you even realising it.
3. When you get a pay rise you raise your debt
Just because you are now receiving more money in your account doesn't mean you need to upgrade your phone, car or apartment. You might think you deserve it, and I've got no doubt you do, but that's showing where your priorities are.
If you still have debt, a pay rise will help you pay it off quicker and then allow you to save cash for whatever you want to do. Rather than wasting money on the extra payments for your newly aquired loans, you could be pocketing it.
Be patient. Is the short-term thrill worth the spend? I would LOVE a brand new car, but I have my priorities straight, and travel is número uno.
4. You can't be bothered working out a money target
Doing the research to figure out your goal can be time-consuming and a little overwhelming. Even so, it's really important to get to this figure as soon as possible. If you don't have an amount in mind then you don't know what you're working towards and you also don't know how far you have to go.
It's easy to get caught up in the "I'll just save as much as I can and buy a ticket when I have enough money" trap because it seems like the simplest solution. But beware, it can put you out for years. Figure out your money target as soon as you can and start planning how to get there.
5. You don't have a budget to stick to
If it's in your account you can spend it, right? Maybe you'll just try to save a little extra next pay.
Don't do this.
Go back to #4, work out your final goal, work out how much money you need to put away and how much you can spend each week, then work out a weekly budget to get you there. That's it.
6. Your coffee dates easily turn into lunch dates
I used to meet friends for coffee on an empty stomach half knowing I'd buy a light lunch or snack (erm, cake) as well. You can still catch up with friends but try to minimise the overall spend. Eat a sandwich at home then just have coffee when you're out. This will also help you prepare for the life of travel where it's not always in your budget to constantly eat out.
7. You really like big nights
Maybe you go out for a casual wine or two then all of a sudden your credit card is behind the bar while you're ordering another round of tequila from the table you're dancing on.
If you get in the party mood really easily then maybe just take a $50 note with you and leave the credit cards at home.
8. You're afraid to commit to doing whatever it takes
Making the commitment means that you're taking a big step to being closer to your dreams but also to leaving the life you know. And that freaks you the heck out.
Yes, it can be terrifying, but that's nothing compared to feeling the regret. If travel is something you're dreaming about then it's time - make the decision and dedicate yourself to the outcome. I know you can do it.