How I’m Planning To Save Money To Pay Off My Debts And Leave Home Forever

The shining heres johnny
Warning: Living with parents can make you a little crazy

Considering the fact that I have not yet left for my journey, it may seem somewhat premature of me to give advice to you on how to save money for world travel. Nonetheless, the suggestion that I am about to share is my action plan to pay off a mountainous debt of £16,000 (25,500 US dollars) in 14 months. Over this time I have created a frugal lifestyle in order for me to save as much as humanly possible before I head out into the unknown.

Many people on the internet will romanticise living below your means and tell you it gives you some sort of spiritual enlightenment; I am not going to be one of those people. Living frugally is extremely hard and it requires immense dedication, discipline and willpower. Big dreams call for big actions. Here are things I have tried out and what I’m planning to do, and even some that I failed at!

Move back in with your parents:

I know that most people who read this may cringe at the mere thought of this idea and for many people, it’s not even possible. I completely understand that giving up your freedom that you have become so accustomed to over the years is a hard pillow to swallow, but it does provide an alternative in order to give you some financial muscle for your travelling. Rent is the biggest killer of our monthly expenses and if you can eliminate it and cope with living back home you can add a considerable amount of savings per month.

Everyone is in different situations and some may find this transition easier than others. I tried this and I’m not going to lie – I almost lost my sanity. After one too many arguments with my mother over nothing worth arguing over, or of enough significance to remember, I then carried out my next suggestion which provided me with a happy saving/sanity balance.

Here's Johnny!

Downsizing my accommodation:

There are many ways to do this. I have been lucky enough to move in with my two cousins in their house and I sleep in their spare room, with the agreement that I sleep on the couch when they babysit or have other guests. I’ve never been one to get too excited over big fluffy comfy beds so that works for me! There are always options when it comes to downsizing your living situation but I know if you have a mortgage it can be a bit trickier. Maybe consider renting out your spare room to a trusted person?

If you’re footloose and mortgage-free then you should really be asking yourself if you could be making accommodation changes to save money. Do you really need to live in the city centre? Do you really need to live in the most expensive parts of the city, if you’re planning on upping sticks anyway? Drop the snob factor and downsize. Consider a short-term houseshare, if you’re living in the UK: for people in everywhere else in the world:

Get frugal with your food:

This is by far the hardest thing for me to do. To me, food is a huge part of life and giving myself a strict budget for food makes me a little sad inside. I mentioned early on in the post that discipline is needed and believe me when you live a stone’s throw from a tasty award-winning Thai restaurant; your willpower is constantly being tested! In a nutshell; give yourself a monthly budget for food and stick to it. Writing a shopping list before you go can help you focus and not be tempted by the lure of extra offers that can hypnotise you into spending more.

If you’re serious about saving you shouldn’t be buying food at work. If you spend £3 per day Monday-Friday that’s £90 (145 US dollars) per month in reality you’re spending £1080 (1,750 US dollars) per year (which could pay for around the world ticket); take a packed lunch and you’ll save heaps. Generally, you should not be eating out on a regular basis; make your dinner at home and make your piggy bank fat.

Lose the car:

Tax, insurance, petrol and maintenance makes the car a big hole-burner in the pocket and you should ask yourself if you can live without it. This is just not doable for some people who work a long way away from their homes. There are an abundance of options other than the car to get around (unless you’re Amish) you can get the train, bus, or even walk which is even better as you kill two birds with one stone by getting fitter and fresh air in your lungs.

I’ve been car-free for the last fourteen months and initially the switch over from driver back to pedestrian was very challenging. I don’t like waiting around on other people’s time and I detest waiting for busses so I tend to walk most of the time. I do miss the novelty of jumping in a car and driving to where the hell I want but after constant review, it was the best financial decision I have made and it’s increased my savings tenfold. If you simply cannot be prized away from your wheels, you could negotiate a car share system with a work colleague or neighbour where you take turns driving each other in.

Stop drinking or cut down on alcohol:

I bet I’m losing friends by the second here! I did warn you that it wasn’t going to be easy and let’s face it; nothing worth doing is ever easy. I don’t know where you are while you read this but I live in England, and in England the price of alcohol is extortionate. It’s easy to get carried away after a hard and dull week at work and to feel the need to go a little crazy – you’re only human. But here’s some food for thought; every pint/shot/glass of whatever you drink is taking you further away from your dream. You can always catch up with a drink on your travels, partying with your newfound travel buddies; thank me later.

Learn to say “no” and say it with conviction. Being a man is probably harder in this situation because of the pathetic machismo that comes with drinking. Apparently, how much alcohol you can drink makes you more of a man! Personally, this makes me embarrassed for my species but that doesn’t stop the war cry of “Oh come on don’t be soft/boring ___, just have another” (the polite version). You only have to answer to yourself. If you simply can’t go out and not drink alcohol, then set a budget for this too and don’t go over.

Drink a few cheeky ones in the house before you go out!

Quit the gym:

I have nothing against gyms; I just believe that they are unnecessary when you are in extreme saving mode. Ok I told a little fib, I have a slight problem with the gym: You generally don’t fulfil your objective of exercising as it turns into more of a social event and – you don’t need to spend a wad of money to stay fit and strong. Don’t get me wrong I do miss the gym. I miss the sports small-talk in the sauna. I miss the overpriced yet very tasty chocolate mint protein shakes. But it’s blatant to see that the gym is optional, not compulsory.

Just because you quit the gym it doesn’t mean you have to quit exercising.

Start a cheap hobby:

Get creative. Learn to play the guitar without the need of a tutor – thanks to Google and YouTube. Learn the language of the country you’re visiting totally free with

Read up on the history of the places you’re going to. Being creative like this will stop you from spending money, keep boredom at bay while gaining extra skills to take with you on your journey.

Do I really NEED it?

Make a note of all of your expenses and ask yourself the above question. Do you need that magazine subscription? Do you need Sky TV or is it just another obstacle against your saving goal? Asking yourself this question and being honest with yourself can save you 10’s to 100’s per month.

Also, are you getting the best deals on your electric/gas etc? Are you going over your phone call allowance on your mobile? Embrace Skype!

Never turn down over-time:

I know you don’t want to do extra work and I completely feel your pain. On the other hand, it gives you extra money to take with you and that’s the objective. I’m planning to do shit loads and not turn down any. Means to an end!

Get a 2nd job:

Another fun-spoiler but also a good, fast way of getting some extra zero’s in your bank of dreams. Consider bar/restaurant work on weekends, take up dog-walking. Alternatively, check out and their free eBook for freelance ideas. Personally, I’m looking into earning money online which is completely new to me but you have to start somewhere. Always be searching for more options-because they are definitely out there.

Stop buying….stuff!

If you’re saving to travel the world you really don’t need to buy random stuff that’s not going to contribute to your travels.  I’d put new clothes in this category but that’s entirely your call. Let’s face it; you’ll only be selling them soon at a car boots sale. Which reminds me…

…sell your stuff:

Any old sentimental stuff that you’re hoarding is potential extra cash for your savings. I know it’s easier said than done; the guy I sold ‘the karate kid’ trilogy to had to pretty much prize it out of my hands. I felt like I was selling my childhood for £1.50 (2 US dollars)! Sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. Not using it? EBay or Amazon it!

Create a “fun” fund:

If you rigidly stick to the above suggestions and don’t leave any money for yourself you will end up going on a mad spending spree. Kind of ironic huh? Be nice to yourself and set aside a sensible amount to spend on fun activities. I personally give myself £50 (80 US dollars) per month which is a bit hardcore but I am just an impatient boy who doesn’t want to wait any longer.

So far this year I’ve turned down tickets to Stevie Wonder and Foo Fighters concerts (to name a few) but I know it will be totally worth it when I’m chilling in a hammock in Thailand or exploring the unique nature of the Galapagos Islands. Which brings me to the delayed gratification technique…

Learn the ‘Delayed Gratification’ technique:

The Delayed Gratification Technique is teaching yourself to become instantly aware of the reason that you are sacrificing all of the above. When you’ve had a crappy week at work-temptation is high, and willpower is low; this is how delayed gratification should work:

E.g. After a rough week you’re contemplating spending £150 (240 US dollars) over your budget on new clothes and a 3 course meal at your favourite restaurant. Stop and think along the lines of: “£150 could pay for my”… accommodation for 2 weeks in Thailand/ That weekend wine tour in Argentina/Cage diving with Great White Sharks in Australia/ {insert amazing travel bucket list £150 replacement here}

I’m sure you get the picture. Even with the allure of that extra pint of beer/glass of wine-think of why you are sacrificing it. Keep practicing this technique and intensely let your mind daydream.

Simple equation: Delayed Gratification + Willpower = Major Benefits reaped later on.

You can even resort to printing pictures of your future plans; put them on your fridge, on your pin board, on your screen saver-anywhere that will keep you focused on why you are doing this. When you have doubts your subconscious will ask you “why are you doing this?” Make sure your answer is quick, concise and clear.

So there we go, that’s my list of how to save money for world travel. I don’t think there’s anything particularly revolutionary; it’s just common sense with a huge level of self-control and strength of mind. If you decide to use these methods and don’t rigidly stick to them first time-don’t beat yourself up. Willpower is like a muscle; it needs to be challenged regularly in order to get stronger. It’s going to be tough sacrificing creature comforts but it’s going to be worth it and you will reap the rewards.

So how did I do? Have I missed anything on my list of saving money for world travel? Can you elaborate on any of the above? Share below, thanks!

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Anthony Middleton

A former loser who took a risk. I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand after visiting over 100 countries. Stay tuned for the next challenge against that clock!
Ultra runner walking in desert

Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

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