So you want to go on an adventure. It could be big or small, you just know that you want to hit the road and do something sick. But for most of us, adventures cost money, usually money that we don’t quite have. You may be asking yourself, ‘how can I fund my adventure without sponsorship or x, y and z?‘ Here you’ll find some tips on easy ways to start putting money aside for that trip you want to go on.
However, it’s worth noting that these suggestions are not for everyone. Feel free to pick and choose some tips to apply to your life and choose some which you can adjust to fit you. For instance, you might not be able to function without a beer at the end of the week, and that’s okay, you do you.
The first thing that is a good idea is just to see how much you spend per week. Before you start trying to save money, break down where your money is going and rack up a total for your average week. Before making some small changes to my lifestyle, mine looked a little something like this:
Now that’s probably an average student’s weekly expenditure and yours may vary widely, but let’s work with these numbers for now.
Lose the booze:
To start with, we can try cutting that £12 a week spent on alcohol right down. Long term use of alcohol could lead to things like raised blood pressure and strokes, not something that you’d want. However, I’m not advocating for going completely teetotal. Sure, a beer after a long day at the crag or at work isn’t a bad thing, just try to minimise it as best you can. And if you do fancy keeping your alcohol intake up you can always try cheaper alcohol or pre-drinking. Pre-drinking gets a bad rap but it isn’t that bad if you’re sensible about your limits and go slow.
For my situation, my travel money went entirely on the bus service to get to my campus, just over two miles away. You may be paying for similar journeys that you could easily walk or cycle. Trying to cut down on paying for these short journeys won’t only give you more adventure money, it’ll also get you outside. Walking or cycling outside has many benefits, including helping you get a mini-workout in to improving your concentration by reducing over-stimulation. And it’ll save you a couple of quid.
I am a terrible cook, so most of my grocery money used to go on very easy meals, frozen food, or the best food group, pizza. To make matters worse, I’m generally lazy so if I didn’t fancy making a packed lunch I would eat in the student canteen. This can be equated to throwing money away. By buying ingredients to make easy meals I was able to save quite a lot of money. And by easy I’m talking very easy, pasta, couscous, sandwiches etc. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just enough to fill you up and stop you from spending a ridiculous amount of money on a jacket potato or something.
These are probably all the things your mum told you to do. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach, it makes you more likely to buy more food than you need. A piece of advice that you mum probably didn’t tell you is to experiment with own-brand purchases of less important things. Why buy Heinz beans when Lidl’s own are just as good and have less sugar? Shopping local is perhaps slightly more expensive but far better for the environment. Try local greengrocers etc. and you might find a cheaper alternative to those apples flown across oceans to get to the shop up the road.
Work out smart:
Paying mad prices for a gym membership? If you don’t desperately need to put on dense muscle, why not try some alternative options? Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and sit ups are great for toning, whilst a set of weights can be found on places like eBay or Craigslist for a fraction of an annual gym pass. Unsure or a good workout routine you can do without all the gym gear? Try an app like Freeletics to see just how good a burn you can get on your own. Do YouTube yoga, workout with friends, find alternatives. And anyways, you’re an outdoorsperson right? Go for a run outside, hit the trails near you, go explore places you wouldn’t go to otherwise.
After I went along with these suggestions, I found that I could cut around £30 a week from my expenditure. Putting that £30 a week aside meant that I could start saving up for gear and trips I wanted to go on. And the best thing is, after a while of following these cuts, you’ll start to not notice them. Which is a perfect time to try cutting down a bit more, finding other little things you can cut down on to increase the amount of money in that adventure pot.
But maybe there are other areas you can cut corners. You know how your finances work, so you know where you can cut things away. One thing I’ve found particularly useful is selling old junk I have lying around. I don’t need a million shirts, or that old camera bag that I never use. Putting items like that on eBay or a local Facebook selling group can make you money that immediately goes into the adventure jar.
Which brings me onto the final part of today’s post, where do you put all this saved dough? I’d like to say I have a jar with a little cutesy label on it that say’s ‘Adventure’ but I know I have no self-restraint. So instead, I put the saved money into a second bank account who’s card I leave in my desk so I can’t be tempted to spend any of it.
These savings won’t put you on a plane to Thailand or a ferry to Norway immediately, but over the weeks you’ll definitely see your adventure dollar rise up and you’ll be able to get nearer and nearer to the fun part, actually going on the adventure!
This is the first in a series of posts about how (almost) anyone can save the funds to go on an adventure. An adventure isn’t necessarily a two month epic across Mongolia or a season big-wall climbing in Patagonia and this guide isn’t really intended for those sorts of expeditions. This is more for the new traveller, wanting to just dip their toes into the outdoors without having to put up a mad investment in kit, travel and other bits and bobs.