Your gap year is a really special time in your life, so you should put a lot of thought and planning into it. It doesn’t really matter what you do or where you go, but what does matter is that your trip is well-funded, which means some serious saving on your part before you set off.
You need to work out a budget
You’ll need to save up for at least a year. If you work out how much you can save each month without making your life miserable, as well as how much you’ll need for your trip, then you’ll know how long it’ll take you to get the amounts you need. You can get help and advice with budgeting from Creditfix if you find the whole thing a bit daunting.
Cut out most unnecessary purchases
These include your fancy bubble baths, all those impulsive coffee and cake combos you pick up when you’re already out shopping and those cabs when you could catch the bus or walk home safely. Don’t cut them all out completely, or you’ll be miserable, but just try to use all your available bubble baths up before buying any more and walk home more, unless it’s late or tipping with rain.
Ask friends and relatives for money instead of gifts
You’ll go through at least one Christmas and birthday cycle while you’re saving, so ask people to put money into your travel savings account instead of buying you a present. When the time of your departure is closer, people could give you travel equipment like adapter plugs and phrasebooks.
You could move back home
Rent these days is expensive, so if you can move to a smaller place for a while, or even move back in with your parents for up to six months, then you’ll save a small fortune. Just make sure you do the washing-up!
Cook at home a lot more
If you do actually move back in with the ‘rents then they’ll really thank you for this! Even if you don’t, you should find out more about buying in bulk, batch cooking and filling your freezer so that you’re not so tempted to order a pizza when you get home from work.
Cancel the gym and use an exercise app
There are so many great exercise apps out there that are either free or cost a fraction of your gym membership fee. If you’re worried that you’ll miss out on the social aspects of the gym, look for running groups or even boot camps in your area.
Book tickets and flights as early as possible
You’ll already be a few hundred quid ahead by booking your travel and accommodation early enough to get some good discounts. Plus, there’s the added incentive of feeling obligated to save because you have your flights!
Do some overtime
If you work a few more hours each week you’ll accumulate more money, simples! This work could be overtime at your present job or a few pub shifts. You could also have a yard sale, or sell some of your possessions online.