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5 Ways We Saved Over $30,000 In 12 Months For Our Round-The-World Trip | Don't Ever Look Back

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5 Ways We Saved Over $30,000 In 12 Months For Our Round-The-World Trip

5 Ways We Saved Over $30,000 In 12 Months For Our Round-The-World Trip

In the lead-up to our big around-the-world adventure last year, we wrote extensively about the various strategies we used to save the money needed to fund several months of travel. The end result?

We saved over $30,000 in just 12 months.

People often ask us how the hell we managed to save so much in such a short amount time and the truth is it wasn’t really that difficult. Boost your income, significantly slash your expenses and have a lot of self-discipline and you’ll be following in our footsteps in no time!

Here is a comprehensive guide detailing the five primary ways we saved that much money in just twelve months time.

1. Use A High-Interest Savings Account

High-Interest Savings

Living in Australia where the economy is strong compared to the rest of the world, we were fortunate enough to receive 6.51% interest on our savings accounts with UBank. When our savings accounts were at their peaks, we were receiving over $150 in interest per month between us, which was a major bonus for any savings account.

ALWAYS put your savings into a separate account that pays some kind of interest! Not only does it make it harder to access and spend, you’re also missing out on easy money that is generated by your savings.

2. Pay Yourself First

Pay Yourself First

This is one of the best personal finance strategies you can use. When looking at your monthly bills, the first bill you should pay is to “yourself” (or better yet, into your High-Interest Savings Account).

Calculate how much you can afford to save from each paycheck and transfer it as soon as you get paid – no excuses! Regardless of how much you’re putting away, you’ll be able to watch your savings account grow at a consistent rate and that will motivate you to save even more.

3. Suck It Up – Move Back In With Your Parents
(aka Eliminate Your Rent/Mortgage)

Eliminate Your Rent/Mortgage

When we started saving for our trip, we were living in a nice apartment together and our monthly living expenses were around $2,000 (including a monthly rent of $1300). The two of us moved back in with Amy’s parents in December 2010 and slashed the majority of that expense which boosted our savings accounts by just under $10,000 in 6 months.

There’s no way we could have traveled the world if it wasn’t for this move.

4. Slash Your Unnecessary Expenses And Bank The Savings

Bring Your Lunch To Work

You’ve probably heard these all before – bring your lunch to work, skip the morning latte, cancel your cable subscription, drink ice water instead of soda, yada, yada, yada.

The difficult thing is actually putting these actions into practice. But believe us when we say that the savings do add up over the long run and if you’re transferring these directly into your savings account then you’re on the right track!

5. Generate Extra Income

Sell Your Junk On eBay

So you’ve already cut all of your expenses back as much as possible but still need to boost up your savings account? Then earn some extra cash!

We sold a lot of our belongings on eBay (over $2000 worth) and Kieron did plenty of freelancing web/graphic design work where possible. The two of us also some income flowing in from advertising on this site although we could always do with more for the next adventure (hint, hint advertisers).

Every little bit of savings helps and if you follow all of our advice above then we guarantee that you’ll be on your way to your next big travel adventure a lot sooner than planned!

Some other handy personal finance tips from last year’s Frugal February:

If you have any other great tips, please share them in the comments below.


  1. Posted February 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Such great advice. I love reading how other people manage to save – gives me a nice little bit of motivation to keep up my saving.
    I think people underestimate how important it is to slash unnecessary expenses. I quite often think ‘Oh a coffee is only £2’ but it all mounts up so quickly. I stopped buying everything from chocolate bars to magazines, new clothes or music. It’s nice to treat yourself every now and again but you can live without these things really easily.
    Monica recently posted..Sunset Sunday: Ha’atafu Beach, Tonga

    • Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Oh definitely, that’s probably another thing we should’ve added to this post. Always track your expenses, you’ll be quite alarmed at where your expenditure is going and it’ll help you identify where you can cut those costs.

      But you’re right, treating yourself is essential. You don’t want to hate your life before you travel and should still enjoy yourself as much as you can.

  2. Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Great advice….I would imagine the hard part is actually sticking to the plan. I find that when I want to save for something, as I get close to the goal I cheat a little and buy something or book a weekend getaway. Sort of like a diet haha..
    The World of Deej recently posted..The Most Overlooked Attraction in Washington D.C.

  3. Posted February 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Cutting down on alcoholic drinks when going out. That saved us thousands. Cooking at home also saved us another couple of thousand. Those little things do add up! Jealous of your 6% interest accts 😉

    • Posted February 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Stop going out (eating out or drinking) altogether and you’re likely to save thousands of dollars very quickly as you said.

      Good tips guys, thanks for sharing! And yes, we’re very lucky to have those interest rates although I’m sure homeowners would beg to differ.

  4. Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Great job! We did just about the same for our trip and are realizing that we might have needed more… Patagonia was wayyy more expensive than we thought!

    I’m always curious when people talk about how much money they saved in whatever amount of time… it can depend so much on circumstances. How much you made as a couple above the basic amount to survive and whether or not your parents have the means to take you in while you save.

    Luckily for us, we were able to do a lot of the tips you recommended! The hardest part about saving for travel is just making the decision to go for it. Once you have clarified that, it is amazing how determined you can be.
    Tony recently posted..No More Top Bunk For This Guy – Thank You Roomorama!

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      I think we probably spent closer to $40,000 all up but definitely could’ve done with a lot more. With that said, we certainly didn’t slum it as that’s just not our travel style.

      Obviously circumstances will play a major factor in how much you can save – there are the high earners who could save what we saved in just a few months and obviously others who would take much longer. This was just our story to show that it is possible…

      Once you’ve made that decision to go, the saving for it really does come naturally since it’s your major focus for such a long time!

  5. Posted March 1, 2012 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    At age 50 moving in with our parents wasn’t really an option but those are all good tips. We’re on our RTW right now and finding that Southeast Asia is a great place to stretch the dollar just in case the whole savings thing doesn’t work out.


    Larissa and Michael
    Changes In Longitude recently posted..Don’t drink from the toilet!

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Definitely a lot easier as twenty-somethings to move back in with your parents (although still quite tough we must admit!).

      Yep, avoid those expensive destinations and stick to places like SE Asia if you want to be on the road for longer. Thanks for commenting guys!

  6. Posted March 1, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Wow this is great! Great job guys!! Eliminating rent would definitely help! I spent sooo much on rent :S But I am living away from home (other side of the world) so I dont have the parents option 😀 And selling things on ebay is a great idea… I should get on that when I am back in Canada

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Rent is a killer – you could always look at getting a roommate or two to reduce the costs I guess. You’ll find that once you get back to Canada, you’ll realize that you no longer need the majority of the things that you stored – it’s just a matter of finding the energy and motivation to sort through it (which is still on our to-do list!).

  7. Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great post! It was a much needed reminder of ways in which I can save for my big trip next year.
    Catherine recently posted..A Boost of Happiness

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Happy to share our experiences and we really hope it can help you out! Good luck with your big trip next year. 😀

  8. Posted March 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Really great advice, guys! And more proof that it’s much easier than most people believe to save money and travel the world!
    Amanda recently posted..Striking it Rich in New Zealand – Panning for Gold in Ross

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Amanda! And yes, if you’ve got some form of income coming in then it’s really not that hard to do if it’s your number one priority!

  9. Posted March 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Currently undertaking all 5 of these. Moving back with the rents hasnt been too bad actually, but slipped back into old habbits and may find it a bit of a shock when I move out again.

    The paying yourself first thing is a great shout. I put £X in my ISA account as soon as I get paid. Probably helps that I cant withdraw anything from that account unless I go to the bank rather than just pressing buttons on my laptop.

    Great article.
    Neil recently posted..Grenada pt2 – Lance Aux Epines

    • Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Great stuff mate! Yeah you do get back into those old habits and get comfortable but it doesn’t take too long to readjust once you’re out and about.

      Putting that barrier to your savings in place is essential, even for those dedicated savers among us!

  10. Posted March 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t realise you guys had saved so much! We managed to put away about $20,000 before we left. Definitely helps working and living your way around the world now considering we have been going for 2.5 years!
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show

    • Posted March 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Yeah we saved up a nice amount (always could’ve done with more though!). Would’ve loved to have worked overseas but it hasn’t worked out yet… hopefully it’ll happen soon though! Will have to get in touch with you guys to get some advice. 🙂

  11. Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Packed lunch everyday for an entire year for work.. giving myself a freebee once a week. You can only eat so many sandwiches and Subway. Lol. It’s a good thing I neither smoke nor drink coffee. We also turned down most night outtings with friends knowing drinks and dinner would rack up over time. You guys saved way more though.. Lol. Great advice!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Bucket List: Bungy Jumping in New Zealand!

    • Posted March 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Sandwiches and subway do get old quickly so it’s important to mix it up a little bit so you don’t go crazy. We’re lucky that we don’t smoke or drink coffee either and yep, often turned down invitations so that we didn’t spend excessively.

  12. Posted March 6, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Really useful tips. I haven’t tried the savings account route… I just assumed interest rates were so low it wasn’t worth it, but I should look into that.
    Scott – QuirkyTravel recently posted..9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Grand Canyon

    • Posted March 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Scott! It’s always worth it… remember that inflation means your money is worth less as time goes on so even that 1% interest rate is going to help you out.

  13. Posted July 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Great advice…even if moving back in with the parents is the last thing we all want to do 🙂 Choosing inexpensive countries to visit is so key.
    Greg Goodman recently posted..Indian Water Coolers: Kinda Like Air Conditioning, More Like a Fan

  14. Posted August 1, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Great tips here. We’ve been saving for close to a year and have reached around the $50K mark – we’re hoping to travel for 2 years. Unfortunately we weren’t able to move back in with our parents as our jobs are in DC but parents are back in Boston, but we did cut back everywhere else. I started cracking up when I saw your “how many days in Thailand” post title because that is literally how I stop myself from purchasing anything unnecessary. My though process is always – a Starbucks coffee, or a plate of authentic pad thai in Thailand? (The pad thai always wins)!
    Vicky recently posted..Our Bucket List

    • Posted August 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Wow, 50K in under a year? That’s mighty impressive! You’ll be laughing at all those suckers back home drinking Starbucks while you’re chowing down a delicious pad thai that costs half the price… enjoy! 🙂

  15. samantha
    Posted September 29, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    me and my partner are thinking on getting married in three years. we have two kids so moving back in with our parents is not an option. and i can’t work at the monent b/c i’m going to school. do you have any advice for how we can save about 40 000 in 30 months for our wedding?

    • Posted September 30, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      That’s a tough one Samantha – just doing the sums you’re going to need to save over $1300/month to reach your target which seems very difficult, particularly on one income. It’s difficult for me to give specific tips without knowing exactly what your situation is (ie. monthly income, bills, etc) but here are a few suggestions:

      1. Track all your spending so you know where it’s going and what you can cut back on. Every little bit counts and you might be able to save $100/month by identifying bad spending habits.
      2. Start reading finance blogs like Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar – they will have much more advice for you.
      3. Consider whether you can cut down the costs of your wedding or push it back another 12 months. For example, a $30,000 wedding will only require $1000/month savings and the same goes if you pushed it back 10 months.

      Good luck! 🙂

  16. Posted October 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    6,65% interest? Wow… In Belgium nowadays were lucky if we can get more than 1,5% :/
    I’m already pretty good in keeping the spending low (I think):
    – I only buy what I’m sure I’m going to eat in the following week
    – I don’t buy candy and stuff like that
    – I put a fixed amount of my paycheck on my savings account every month
    – I almost never eat out, and when I do I eat for max €20 in total
    – Since my trip to LA in September (where I’ve shopped A LOT – but that was the plan :D) I decided to try not to shop until the ‘solden’ (in Belgium, shops can only do big sales two months a year: once in January and once in July. However, they sometimes do hold ‘special’ sales like when spring starts or on special weekends) and then only buy what I really need
    – I always drink tab water
    – When I go out, I try to get on the guestlist, I never drink alcoholic beverages (but that I almost enver do any way) and I usually don’t order more than two drinks a night (this isn’t hard for me: I find it difficult to dance with a glass in my hand:D)

    The only thing I know I could still cut down on are my gas expenses. I could take the bike to work, for example. But I like the time I safe by using the car and being warm and comfi when it’s cold and rainy (which is often is over here) outside.

    This, however, doesn’t mean that I don’t spend a lot of money on certain things. I think there is one thing that actually stands out: dance classes. Besides traveling, dancing is my big passion and I try to take at least 6 to 7 classes a week, which costs a bunch…

    Sofie recently posted..A travel ‘gift’ from the bank

    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s gone down significantly since then but we’re still lucky enough to be able to get around 5% here in Australia. Thanks for sharing those excellent tips, every little bit counts and all of those sacrifices you’re making will be well worth it when you’re spending it on doing something you love. 🙂

  17. Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I go to NYC for a couple of months each year (I’m from New Zealand) and I usually pay just less than $50/night for my apartment sublet. I always think of purchases in terms of nights in NYC. So, I can relate to the tip about days in Thailand. This way of thinking completely gets rid of any desire to buy clothes or go out for $50 meals.
    30traveler recently posted..How Does Your Politics Influence Your Travel?

  18. Posted January 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Great tips! One thing I do is only buy enough groceries to last a week so I’m not wasting any food.
    Curious Nomad recently posted..Save money using a refillable water bottle

  19. Posted June 17, 2013 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    $30,000 is a huge amount of money. We spend the same in about 5 years on the road. It’s been better to spend less than earn more for us, because it all takes time that is away from the actual travelling and living on the road. Of course the easiest way to make a lot of money is to buy a colour printer.
    Global Nomads recently posted..6.94 ABSOLUTELY Vital Travel Tips

  20. Posted October 9, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Great advice! I think that money is one of the biggest issues preventing many people from taking the leap and articles like yours suggesting exactly how it can be done can be incredibly helpful to those dreaming of RTW travel and wondering how to make it happen!
    Mary@GreenGlobalTrvl recently posted..JORDAN: Why I’d Prefer to Forget Visiting the Dead Sea, Jordan

  21. Posted December 17, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Excellent tips guys especially with the “pay yourself” number. I’d just like to add that before you travel, pay off all your debts or at least as much as you can.

    When I left the British shores almost 15 years ago, I was a corporate consultant and since I wanted to officially emigrate, I stopped going out, paid off all my debts and saved up all my bonuses. As a result, I went merrily off to Asia so that when I finally took up a job in Berlin, I had no qualms about taking it at a far lower salary than I was used to!
    Victoria recently posted..To Nessie or not to Nessie: A temptation cruise on Loch Ness

2 Trackbacks

  • By Travel Article Highlights — LandingStanding on March 3, 2012 at 6:39 am

    […] you save $30,o00 for your RTW trip in just one year? Amy and Kieron did and tell you how! Now everyone’s […]

  • […] Our routes to funding our trip around the world are just two of the thousands of different ways you can fund your trip.  But just in case you were wanting a little more diversity in how it can be done, here are a few more sites that show how they saved for their trips (Twenty-SomethingTravel.com, NodNSmile.com, ArtOfBackpacking.com, DontEverLookBack.com) […]

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