winning money-saving ideas

turkey shoppingWho better to give us some great tips on how to save some travel money than avid travellers? Intrepid Express readers have come up with some fantastic ideas and this super list of tactics to save cash for travel comes from Express win-a-trip winner Colleen Moses…

“From one who has champagne taste but, alas, a beer budget, I’ve got a few tips I’ve learned over the years on how to save money for holidays without having to do without…some of my best tips are as follows:

1. This one’s my absolute favourite….if you’re on the dating scene or simply enjoy fine dining but can’t afford a three course dinner for two, most fine dining restaurants do a fantastic breakfast for a smidgeon of the cost – impress your date with a gourmet breakfast at the best restaurant in town without breaking the budget. It also makes for a nice change from the traditional ‘dinner and a movie’ – go for breakfast and a walk along the beach instead, just as romantic but not so costly on the hip pocket!

2. Go vegetarian – a vegetarian diet not only cuts down on carbon emissions (a huge amount of carbon emissions come from the meat industry), but is much cheaper than a meat-based diet. Even cutting down your meat intake to one meat based meal per week will save you lots of cash. Studies also say that a vegetarian diet can reduce the chance of many illnesses like heart disease by up to 50% – that’s HUGE. Save your money and your health!

3. Sign-up for many of the larger chain stores ‘privileged members’ clubs- most of them are free (Country Road, Sussan, Dymocks) and you can accumulate points or be notified of discount days for members only – at first I thought this was a waste of time but now that I’m a member of a few clubs the savings have really start to add up.

4. Never buy anything full-price – seriously, this one sounds like a no-brainer but if you wait a little while most places have 30% off days every three months or so. And keep an eye out for ‘special offers’ during the working week – Village Gold Class is much less on weekdays before 5pm, beauty salons often do special deals on the first few days of the work week.

5. Walk to work in sneakers or other comfortable, hard-wearing shoes. I learned this one the hard way after forking over $400 for a pair of boots that fell apart after only one season of walking to the train station and back each day. If I’d carried them or kept them at work they would have lasted several years…live and learn!

6. Think about what you’re splurging on – if you’re forgetful or accident-prone like me, a pair of designer sunglasses is a waste of money as they’re likely to be left behind somewhere or dropped, sat on, etc. Paying more for an ‘investment piece’, like a good quality, classic wool coat, that will last several seasons, will be less painless in the long run than an expensive, fad item you’ll lose or want to replace the next year.

7. Credit cards – ok this one might be controversial as some argue credit cards are a no-no on a budget – BUT, if you search the internet for the best deals and are willing to take time to fill in the paperwork, switching to special offer, lower interest credit cards can save quite a lot of money. I found an Amex card offer online with no yearly fee, low interest rate on balance transferal, with a travel points rewards scheme at no cost- definitely worth the time to research!

8. Think of switching energy companies – one phone call I made to an energy comparator website and I discovered many of the major energy companies charge a premium and are geared to suit businesses rather than residential customers. I switched to Red Energy and will be saving around $50 on my next energy bill with no disadvantage to me – all these companies do is bill you, nothing more. The company I’ve switched to is more environmentally friendly than some the bigger billers too.

9. Buy generic brands at the supermarket. In Australia all food, branded or not, needs to meet minimum Australian quality standards, which are generally very high. Particularly canned and frozen goods – there’s almost no difference in quality but a BIG difference in price. Frozen and canned food also lasts longer so you’re less likely to waste money throwing it away because it’s gone off.

10. Last but not least…do you absolutely LOVE it? Do you absolutely have to have it out of necessity? Ask yourself these two questions before EVERY purchase you make! If you answer no to both questions, don’t buy it! I’ve saved myself an endless number of purchase mistakes of items that I haven’t given a second thought since by simply asking those two questions before buying.

Happy shopping and happy travels!”

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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