How I Afford To Travel So Much On My Student Budget
A packet of rice, six zucchinis and a loaf of bread could easily be my weekly groceries. (Easily, not happily.)
Since starting my bachelor’s degree in 2015, I’ve traveled across continental and Eastern Europe, New Zealand twice, and Tasmania. Before that, I managed to afford a six-month and three-month trip across old mate Euro on a £6 per hour wage in London; widely known as the cheapest city in the world to live in* (*not true).
Since I’m not very good at anything, I’m pretty chuffed with my scientific formula to get my passport stamped and my minimal amount of Instagram followers jealous.
My Savings Method
With classes three days a week ending at around 2.30-3pm, I could work four nights a week at my bar job. That left me two full days off to catch up on study, run errands and cuddle my mates for a hot second.
It’s busy, but my tight ass could then put away a couple hundred bucks into a secret savings account that shamed me if I tried to withdraw anything from it. A packet of rice, six zucchinis and a loaf of bread could easily be my weekly groceries. (Easily, not happily.)
When I felt a bit fancy, I’d lower my standards and nibble on leftover food at work. Look, it strengthens my immune system. Less time being sick, more time getting dat cash money.
Separate Money Like A Tight Ass
When I’m in Extreme Money Saving Mode™ this is my biggest asset. Picture the scenario. Your “fun” money left for the week is fifty bucks. Even if I have $20,000 (lol) in the old savings account, and ASOS is waving a giant pair of leather boots on sale for $60, it’s unfortunately a no go.
In the two years I lived in London, my dreams of spending three months fucking off to Scandinavia meant that all the clothes I bought were from second-hand stores. Flash forward to full-time study and this is largely the same. To keep myself as fresh as can be, clothes shopping money is whatever I get in tips at the bar I work at. Treatin’. My. Self.
Travel On A Shoestring
Because I would rather spend time in more countries than anything else, my standards literally couldn’t be lower in terms of food and accommodation. I once stayed at a hostel in Vienna that was further away from Vienna city than my hostel in Bratislava. I slept in the park during the Running of the Bulls. I avoid restaurants like the plague, and eat only at street stalls or cafeterias (MarketPlace on the Nevskiy – please call me if you’re reading this). Across most of continental Europe I get maggot exclusively on bottles of $6 white wine (foreign goon, if you will).
I reckon the money I saved on sleeping and eating stretched me out so much that three months of punch dancing from Holland to Finland cost me (depressingly) almost exactly the same as a month’s rent (excluding flights).
At the end of the day, getting out in the world is the most valuable experience to me. It brings me unending joy, educates me, and teaches me discipline and self-control. And I can very happily sacrifice my creature comforts for another great big fat line of budget airline travel.
Pasha is a Film and Television Animation student at Swinburne University of Technology. She spends most of her time playing with plasticine in the dark and can be found on Instagram at @pashrashy.