Posted by : Ruby Escalona Tuesday, December 18, 2012



This week, I've been reading and discovering a lot of travel blogs. It is quite fun reading what other people think and their experiences are as they are embarking on their journey of a lifetime. I'm quite jealous, to be honest! So, as I try and embark on a similar journey (hopefully), I kind of want to share a personal post on what savings and travel mean to me.

When I was way younger, like in primary school, I always had a tendency to spend beyond my means. Whatever I wanted, I would normally buy, provided that I had enough money in my pocket. There was this one time when I was in fourth grade that I bought too many books at a book fair and basically had nothing left for lunch and snacks. It was only around 12 noon and well, I overspent too much! Good thing a kind classmate gave me some coupons so I could buy food and the local school bus was there to take me home. Otherwise, I would have been screwed.

During summers, I would never even have enough money saved up! Well, I was such a loser way back in the day and no one in our culture/country would normally just go out to find jobs during the summer or go to the beach like Westerners do. I normally spend my summer at home, playing computer games or watching a heck of a lot of telly. For two freaking months. Boring eh?

Then came high school and well, I got to enjoy what life has to offer. My mum is open to me going out to several beaches and/or resorts during summer with my friends, and I was forced to learn how to save.

However, that all went out the window when I first started working and earning my first real paycheck. I got addicted to spending too much on material things and ended up with credit card debt, and on top of that, trying to pay for my last trimester in university.

I was in debt, and I didn't know what to do about it.

Six years later, here I am. More financially stable and about to embark (hopefully) in a huge savings goal to eventually go on my dream trip. I wouldn't expound on that today, but maybe a bit more when I am closer to the goal (and the date), and well, if everything is more in place. It took forever for me to be what I am right now when it comes to money and the discipline that it takes for me to not spend too much and live within my means.

Here's how I did it:

1) Understand that you have a problem. Five+ years ago (and well, even when I was really young), I knew that I was an impulsive shopper. If I liked something, boom, I would get it. And when I thought that all these clutter started piling up: clothes that I did not wear, books I would never read, bags I would never use, it began to dawn on me that I could have used that money for something else. Knowing that you have a problem is always the first step, and once you acknowledge it, you know you are truly on the way to "rehabilitating" yourself.

2. Read and research. I knew that I was an impulsive shopper so I spent down times at work trying to read other blogs on how to save money and how to curb my spending. It took more than a year of practice for me not to go to malls, and just delaying my gratification. It did work, eventually. I read a ton of money blogs, to be honest, bought two books on how to save and invest (thank you so much Rich Dad, Poor Dad - you are one of the reasons why I turned my life around).

3. Once you have done your research, practice what you've learned. This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do! Well, it took a lot of patience and practice, and eventually I got the discipline to do this. I made charts, Excel spreadsheets, the works! I tried everything that they threw at me and when I found out what works for me the best, I stuck to it and made it my own, with a twist.

4. Save, Invest & Save some more! Other travel blogs out there have savings tips, and well, they helped me too, but some of these tips, I already do know by heart. I love how these blogs convert the price of one Starbucks latte to an overnight hostel stay somewhere here in SouthEast Asia. I guess it's just a matter of putting things in perspective. Need a new iPad? Well, x number of lattes in Starbucks = 1 iPad. Same for travel!

So, as I embark on this huge savings goal, hopefully, these tips help you too.

Oh, and did I mention I'm Asian? I do work full-time at a multinational company at the moment, but I definitely don't have a salary of a Westerner nor do I have a trust fund. If I can do it (save for a big trip or some other reason) then anyone could!



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