We love to travel and we love to travel a lot. It is all that I honestly love to do in live. A lot of people keep asking me: How do you afford to travel so much and look at me kind of weird, almost judgemental. Although I don’t mind replying to rude questions, p.e. I never ask people how they afford to be a gym member or how they afford to shop at expensive supermarkets everyday for that matter. It is all about priorities and perhaps making a small extra effort.
So in this article I will tell you all about my 10 super easy ways to save money to travel more. Because I have 1 MAJOR priority which is: Travel as much as possible. I’m able to save a lot of money to travel by CHOOSING not to have or do a whole list of OTHER things. This article can inspire you to perhaps cut costs in the same way like we do so that you too can save money to travel more.
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We still live in South Africa at the moment so this article is written from a South African perspective. Perhaps you can find similar ways to save money to travel more in your country. Okay, here we go.
Pay TV – DSTV
Pay TV or DSTV is how it is called in South Africa, costs about ZAR 1.000 a month which is ZAR 12.000 a year. I don’t find South African TV ads much value to my live because I rather travel more and I don’t have a husband who finds it necessary to watch all the sports so we don’t have DSTV. BIG Savings to travel more!
SAVINGS per year: ZAR 12.000 (1 week in a 3*** resort on Zanzibar, full board, just booked it)
Shop in bulk and shop at affordable basic supermarkets
Since I stopped shopping at Woolworths, I save about ZAR 500 a week on groceries, probably even a lot more. This is not necessarily only because Woolworths is so much more expensive than Foodlovers Market, where I now do ALL my shopping. Woolworths has A LOT of convenience food, chopped up fruit and veg, ready made soups etc and it is very tempting to buy these when you shop at Woolworths.
Another parent just told me she spend ZAR 20.000 on groceries only in 1 month for a family of 4. We are a family of 2 and I spend R5.000 MAXIMUM on groceries each month
Foodlovers Market is a fantastic supermarket which covers ALL my basics and I don’t get tempted to buy stuff that I don’t really need or that is very convenient (= expensive) and we often can’t finish because it is just Rosie and me. The difference between a chopped up pine apple and a fresh pine apple is about ZAR 30.
Foodlovers Market has great specials. How about last weeks deal: 3 punnets of mushrooms, 3 avocados and 2 bags of tomatoes for ZAR 50? Once I’ve done my shopping, I usually plan an evening to cook soup, sauces, make meatballs or fish cakes and stock up the freezer for the week so that I don’t need to cook every day. An added benefit to this is, that I use less electricity.
TOTAL SAVINGS per year: 52 weeks x ZAR 500 = ZAR 26.000 (2 international flight tickets or if you’re lucky and wait for a good deal 3, just bought our roundrip to South America in 2020 for ZAR 24.000)
To make the cooking more enjoyable I do suggest you have GOOD KNIVES. Chopping with a good knife makes it easy, quick and safe. I have the following set of 2 knives which is a starter set available on Amazon. Mine were part of a bigger set but these 2 knives are the ones I use each day. It is a once in a lifetime investment. I’ve had mine since 30 years when I started hotel school and they still look like new so in the end a lot cheaper than always buying plastic new ones.
Making my own food 95% of the time
As much as we love going out for dinner, since I have Rosie, I really cut down on going out for dinner. I’ve also stopped signing Rosie up for the Canteen at her school for lunch because it was simply getting too expensive. I think it is currently ZAR 50 per meal per day. Well, I can make 4 meals for that. How do I make 4 meals for ZAR 50?
For example: I buy a roast chicken which is ZAR 75. This is 4 portions (2x lunch, 2x dinner)
Then I make sweet potato chips and have steamed broccoli which is more or less R 25. So for ZAR 100 I can make 4 deliciously, healthy meals.
I usually still have left over chicken which I turn into chicken mayo sandwiches or a chicken mayo pasta salad with cucumber, bell pepper etc. 1 roasted chicken goes a looooong way!
Also check which veggies are in season and eat according to season which is much cheaper than eating whatever. The specials at Foodlovers Market usually indicate what is in season so this will give you a good idea.
Shopping in a clever way and chopping your own fruit and veg can save you a LOT of money.
Staying fit without a gym membership nor Vitality
I’m with Discovery health insurance and from the word go, they were pushing me to become a Vitality member and then become a gym member. Friends of mine also recommended it: you get free coffees and all and it is only about ZAR 100 per month, or something (they don’t even really know what they pay per month I found out)… So I decided to investigate. Becoming a Vitality member would cost me ZAR 309 per month (single parent with 1 child). Then to become a gym member, the minimum fee per month would be ZAR 240.
TOTAL SAVINGS for a single parent families: 12 x (309+240) = ZAR 6.588 (2 deluxe family weekends away or a LOT more if you camp)
So the savings go up in a more conventional family with 2 parents and 2 or 3 kids. We hike on Lion’s Head, cycle or walk on the Seapoint Promenade all for FREE!
Enjoying my coffee at home, thank you
I LOOOOOVE coffee and I got into a habit of popping into a coffee shop each morning to get a coffee. Although I always went to a place where they had a special for ZAR 15 when this started to go up to about ZAR 18 or ZAR 20, I stopped taking my coffees outside and started making coffee at home.
A big pot for not even half the cost of 1 coffee in a coffee shop. I buy beans for ZAR 47.50 a packet and a packet lasts me for 10 days do that is ZAR 4.75 per day instead of ZAR 20 per day
TOTAL SAVINGS BY ENJOYING COFFEE AT HOME: (20 – 4.75) x 365 days = ZAR 5.566.25 (luxury weekend away)
(I wouldn’t take coffees outside each day but I sometimes would have 2 so this is just to get an idea)
I bought an electric coffee grinder which is a small investment and ensures I have super fresh coffee each day:
Driving a good 2nd hand car instead of buying a car with financing
This is something that I was taught by my parents, who never in their life drove a new car (sometimes my mother didn’t agree with this though), however they always had different properties and farmland. They always drove good 2nd hand cars which will save you a lot of money. Did you know that simply by driving a new car out of the dealership it almost goes down in value by about 50%?
Yes, wake up, buying a car is NOT an investment, it is an EXPENSE and it should be treated like that. So preferably you save up money first in a savings account and then you buy a good 2nd hand one. Buying a car with finance, you pay off each month for about 5 years right?
Did you know that you pay ZAR 240.000 over 5 years of financing for a car with a value of ZAR 180.000? That’s is ZAR 60.000 in interest. Per year that is ZAR 12.000 in interest.
TOTAL SAVINGS PER YEAR: ZAR 12.000 (direct international flight to Amsterdam with KLM)
No cell phone contracts
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I signed a cell phone contract about 2.5 years ago. Here in South Africa a contract will lock you in for 2 years and there’s no way to get out of it. At least I haven’t found a way to get out of it. So I paid ZAR 680 per month for 2 years which included ONLY LOCAL AIRTIME. I still had to buy data, international airtime and sms.
I’m SO happy that this killer contract is finished now and I’m intending to use this phone until it falls apart to save money. When I still had the contract I would say my monthly costs where about ZAR 900, this is now down to ZAR 200. It helps that WiFi has become more widely available too and I’m more conscious of when I turn data on and off. We are also more and more using WhatsApp calls which makes things cheaper too. Don’t be a sucker for wanting the newest cell phone on the market, just stick to with the one that works and start saving.
TOTAL SAVINGS: (900 – 200) x 12 m = ZAR 8.400 (international flight to Europe)
Cleaning up after myself
Being from The Netherlands, I wasn’t really used to having a cleaning lady to come and clean 2 or 3 times a week, like many people have in South Africa. From middle class and up, everyone has cleaning ladies, gardeners, nannies, au-pairs etc. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE having a clean house and many people can do a better job than I but we live in a flat and I’m used to cleaning up after myself so I don’t need someone every day.
I have a cleaning person every 2 or 3 weeks or less than that. I assume that ZAR 7.000 per month would be a reasonable salary for a full-time cleaning lady / child minder. Of course you have to weigh the pros and cons of amount of time that you have / need to work / spend cleaning.
TOTAL SAVINGS: 12 months x ZAR 6.000 = ZAR 72.000 (4 months of traveling in South America)
If you have a weekly cleaning service you would save: 52 x ZAR 350 = ZAR 4.200 (= mid-week away in a self-catering cottage)
Save on banking fees
Banking fees in South Africa are a little bit out of control but there’s nothing we can change about that. We can just try to be clever about it right?
I studied the banking terms and conditions for a bit, not for the faint at heart because it is about a 30 page document. Yes. South African banks do ANYTHING to make you understand as little as possible about their banking fees. It simply is a jungle out there and you never know exactly how much you pay for what and how which fees are defined. BUT I did find out that if you pay with you credit card but use it as a bank card, your costs are the least. Let me explain.
So you HAVE a credit card, but you don’t use the credit otherwise you start paying interest which is what you want to avoid AT ALL COST. So use your credit card for EVERYTHING, don’t have cash and make sure that your credit card is topped up all the time. It is kind of impossible to calculate how much I save with this per year but it is good to know this and be aware of this. I never use the ATM card, it is tucked away in a cupboard.
Oh and did you know that if you save money on your credit card that the interest is quite good? Look into it; pay off any credit card debt and just use your card as an ATM card with all the credit card benefits (I save for ebucks for example which buys me travel gear, check it out HERE.).
Stop believing what the magazines are telling you
I stopped buying magazines loooooong time ago. First of all, you buy up to 80% of advertising so it is a very bad deal in the first place. Then even though some articles might be interesting, most articles try to make you belief that there’s something wrong with you or with your friends or that something is missing from you life. That’s how marketing works! Besides saving money, you will also feel happier by not buying into the nonsense that is written in most magazines. You are beautiful, you are perfect and you need to start believing that. Living that truth alone will save you TONS of money so you can travel MORE, like Rosie and I do!
Do you have any great and easy tips on how to save money so you can travel more? Please share them with me so I can add them to this article.