22 August 2015

How to save for your next big holiday

Let's be a little frank here, I'm not ever always the sensible person in my marriage. I'm usually the ideas generator, enthusiastic booker and excited-fun-planning person. Hot air balloon rides over the Pyrenees? Amazing! In winter? Well... Suffering vertigo? Oh, wait. Luckily, my better half has taught me many forms of British-ness restraint over the years, and probably the best of all are a few skills for saving towards bigger, better adventures.

And with our third trip to New Zealand in 12 months all planned and tickets booked for Christmas (featuring sandy beaches, a wedding and a cheeky bit of sightseeing at the end) it was perfect timing when TSB contacted me about working together again to spill a few more of our favourite savings secrets. I can't pretend to be a finance whiz, couponing addict or high-flying investor (or for that matter English) but we have a few time honored strategies that have worked for us. In between trips of course.

Let's face it, saving isn't sexy. It's not.

 
But, traveling on credit would suck all the fun out of the perfect sunset, picnics in front of monuments and early morning coffees a la bistro, knowing that when we got home there would be a whole swathe of charges just awaiting the opening of our next bank statement. Sometimes a little quality spreadsheet time can go a long way...

1. Budget
We sit down occasionally on a rainy weekend afternoon (the sitting down is occasionally, the rainy afternoons themselves are a little too frequent for my liking) just to look at the latest ins and outs of our accounts. We tot up all the expensive living costs of England's capital city, all our favourite luxuries, work out how much we can put aside, and where we can pare back a little without becoming misers. (This is where the boy's skills come to the fore, though I personally would never count beer as a living expense...) As the old saying goes, once you know where you've been, you'll know where you're going. Or something like that...

<Insert arbitrary photo of lads scaling a man-made precipice...>

2. Set a savings goal
Personally, I'm not really a 'save for a rainy day' kinda girl (why, oh why, did I move to England!?) as much as I'd like to be. But, I have discovered that I like to see the bigger picture and need to have an actual goal to save towards. It seems so simple, right? Cost out the flights, work out how many nights in a hotel you'll need, spending money and what you'll need for transport. Then add at least 10% for impulsive knicknacks and snack purchases. That's your savings goal right there. But wait, right, where's the food budget? I'm meant to be a food blogger aren't I? Well, I refuse to budget for meals. Meals will always be ad hoc (with treats booked in advance based on recommendations) because that's half the magic of traveling.

All the leg work done, you just need to match up your ability to save with the amount of money you need, divided by the time you have to save by. In fact, here's a handy equation I prepared earlier (oh how I scoffed when my maths teacher insisted that I would use algebra in later life - little did I realise how pretty it could be...)

It makes sense, I promise.
3. Reward yourself
As you work towards your savings goal, make sure to reward yourself along the way; dream about the things you'll do on the holiday, pin amazing photos inspiration to a trip Pinterest board, pop out for a taste of the goal cuisine or simply book a couple of the things you want to do whilst away.

4. Quality not quantity 
I'm talking everything here (except the beer and cat treats in the budget obviously, they necessitate both quality and quantity to forget the rain.)


5. Learn to haggle
Don't be afraid to shop around for deals; in the age of the internet it's so easy to research the best places to stay where you'll get everything you want, the best locations to visit and if you're using travel search sites, just pop over to the companies own website for a few minutes. You never know the savings you'll make or upgrades you can wrangle (in Norway we were upgraded for free simply because we booked directly).

Do you have your own tricks & tips?

TSB are a local ethical bank, and their mantra is to borrow well and be sensible with money and as such, their latest campaign is all about saving for large purchases. They kindly sponsored this post in order to keep our travel fund topped up for future fun and blog posts coming your way.

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