“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous
For many of us, travelling is but a dream. However, travelling is actually seen by many as an investment into your well-being as a person. And we all know, investments can mean that sacrifice is essential.
YEI spoke to Lyn, about her money saving endeavours when she and her husband bit the bullet to save for a bucket list adventure that they never dreamed could happen, and their subsequent travel adventures.
“Travel has always been a part of my life as a child and as an adult. My husband and I loved the bush, and over the years, rather than do renovations around the home, we took our children on bush holidays. However, the closer it came to retirement, we believed that we would regrettably never be in a position to afford the ultimate bush holiday – that bucket list trip that we had always dreamed of – the hot air balloon ride over the migration.
However, the day came when friends of ours in Johannesburg suggested that the four of us should go on a week’s photographic holiday to the Masai Mara. We laughed, saying it was financially impossible. Two weeks went by, and on a daily basis during this two weeks, we went on a rollercoaster ride – we changed our minds every day – yes, let’s do it, and the next day – come on, let’s be realistic – this is never going to happen. One day, we thought – we can do it. We put our heads together, put together a savings plan and went for it.
We decluttered and sold the clutter, we went without many things, and scrimped and saved for one year. In the end, we did pay for the flights, the balloon ride and a couple of other things on our credit cards, but used the same modus operandi when we got back to pay off these debts on the credit card. We did it! We went on THE most amazing trip to the Masai Mara, and to this day, we have not regretted it. We loved every moment.
The following year, the opportunity presented itself to attend a wedding in Shanghai. Now who gets invited to a wedding in China?!! (Other than millions of Chinese people, my son reminded me!). We are at an age where we don’t know what could happen tomorrow, and this time the decision was not as hard. We followed the same savings strategy that we followed for the Masai Mara trip, and yes, we went to that wedding in Shanghai, and had the most amazing week’s holiday which culminated in our LOVING China!
And the next year, we went to Amsterdam to visit our son and his wife. We are now busy planning our next trip!”
And all this from a couple who actually cannot afford to travel to such exotic destinations!
How did they do it? They re-arranged their priorities and started saving! But really saving! They actually embarked on a financial fast!
Here are some thoughts on how to save, cut down and do without, that worked for Lyn and her husband:
- They systematically decluttered the family home, and sold everything that could be sold on Gumtree, Ebay and through local Facebook community pages. They donated many items to charities as well.
- They had jars in their bedroom – one to collect all R5 coins that came into the house, one to collect all the copper, and they put R100 (cash) a week each into the other jar.
- They stopped DSTV for the period that they were saving.
- They saved R1000 per month each. Before any debt was paid for the month, they paid themselves and placed R1000 (each) into a dedicated travel account.
- They gave up on little indulgences and entertainment at home. They still got together with friends, but had bring and share suppers. All their friends knew that they were on a mission to save for the big bucket list holiday and had no objection to their new-found way of entertaining.
- They gave up gym and walked daily from home.
- They made the most of freebies – free outdoor concerts, picnics, walks on the beach and in the forest.