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Travel Hacks: How daily expenses can impact your travel savings

20th November 2019

Do you ever sit at your desk, 3 pm on a Monday and sigh at the thought of another soul-crushing week at work? You think to yourself 'far out I need a holiday if only I could afford one', before dragging yourself to the coffee shop in search of a caffeine cure to your Mondayitis. 

While that coffee is a momentary fix, nothing can compare to that holiday feeling. It's time to stop with the 'I can't afford a holiday' excuse and kick yourself into gear. You can afford a holiday, and you deserve one.

'But how can I afford a holiday? I'm already living paycheck to paycheck'. At Travel Money Oz, we know budgeting and saving can be tough. We also, however, know how easy it can be to save some serious cash over a year and treat yourself to a holiday. 

Don't believe us? We've had a look at some pretty common daily expenses that, when cut out of your life, can help you save some serious coin. While we don't expect you never to buy coffee or lunch again, or to walk everyone to avoid transport costs, this list does give you an idea of how to cut down in everyday life so that you can live your best life on holidays. 


That delicious froth comes at a cost. 

The lifeblood of many, a cup of coffee can be the reason some people get out of bed in the morning. While you know you can save by making one at home, the allure of frothed milk and Arabica beans from the middle of South America tickle your fancy way too much. It's only a few dollars, right? Treat yourself. Fake news people, FAKE NEWS. For all the coffee lovers out there, the average cost of a cup of joe is $4.10. If you're getting one five times a week, you're spending:

Per week - $20.50
Per month - $82
Per year - $984

That is almost $1000 per year spent on coffee. Break up with your barista, crack open that tin of instant coffee (think of the holiday, you can do it), and put that money towards a holiday. Still not convinced? $1000 is return flights and spending money on a relaxing trip to Bali. 


If you close your eyes you can pretend it is a burger. 

Too busy to pack lunch? Fair enough, but the cost can quickly add up if you are doing it every day. On average, we spend about $12 when buying lunch; if you're doing this five times a week you're spending:

Per week - $60
Per month - $240
Per year - $2,880

There is no denying that $2,880 is a lot of lunch each year, especially when you consider that it could pay for return flights to Europe and a weeks accommodation in Venice. I'll happily pack my lunch if it means I can eat freshly made Italian pasta for a week. 

Public transport

Don't you love spending your hard-earned cash for the privilege to be packed in like sardines on a bus or train that is probably running late? Me too. While it is often an unavoidable cost, it does add up very quickly. If the average one-way fare is around $4, and you do that twice a day to get to work and home, you're spending:

Per week - $40
Per month - $160
Per year - $1,920

You can't be expected to stop taking public transport, we get that, but cutting back on trips and walking if possible is not only free exercise, but it will save you up to $1,920, or return flights and a nine-day tour in Cambodia. 

As a side note, if you are driving every day and paying for parking, why not find a free parking spot and walk the extra distance? 

Why not consider a local city bike share program? Most are incredibly cheap. 

Uber home

Can't be bothered with public transport and decide to opt for an Uber instead? We all do it, and the average cost of a trip is around $13.90. If you do this once a week, you're dishing out:

Per week - $13.90
Per month - $55.60
Per year - $667.20

Rideshare apps and taxies are incredibly convenient, hence why they gobble up so much of our cash. If you skipped out on them for a year, you could buy return flights to Fiji. An awkward six-minute trip in an Uber with Abdul or seven days relaxing in Fiji with your gal pals? You decide. 

ATM fees

Looking for some expensive ATM fees?

These sneaky little buggers are sometimes unavoidable when you are strapped for cash and can't find your bank's ATM. Most ATMs charge a $2 fee if you're not part of their bank. If you do withdraw once a week, you're looking at the following costs:

Per week - $2
Per month - $8
Per year - $96

It doesn't seem like much at the time, but that's $96 that could still be in your bank account. Plus $96 could instead buy you an epic food tour of New York's best pizza places. 

Gym Memberships

Did you know around 67% of gym memberships aren't used? That's a lot of wasted cash, especially when the average gym membership is about $50 a month. Those costs can add up over a year:

Per month - $50
Per year - $600

If you genuinely love the gym, then I probably wouldn't cancel this one. Exercise is essential, and if the gym works for you, then don't stop. If your gym card is gathering dust somewhere in your house, it's probably wise to cancel that membership and put the $600 towards something more productive, like car hire for your road trip around New Zealand. 

Wasted food 

According to OzHarvest, the average Aussie household wastes $3,800 worth of groceries per year. Not only is that an insane amount of food waste, but it's also money that could be better spent elsewhere. Broken down, that $3800 looks like:

Per day - $10.41
Per month - $316
Per year - $3,800

$10.41 per day! What an insane daily number that can easily be avoided. You can save food and money by planning out your meals, writing a list and only purchasing what you need. For fresh ingredients, consider buying them no more than three days in advance to avoid having to toss them if they go off. 

If the lack of food waste isn't enough to motivate you, consider the fact that $3800 is more than enough to fund a three-week backpacking trip around Thailand and Vietnam. 

Bottled water

We're all guilty of mindlessly adding a bottle of water to our lunch order, or forgetting our drink bottles and buying a plastic one while you're out and about. Not only does this add to the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in landfill, but it also chews through your cash. The average 500mL bottle of water is about $2.75; if you buy two a week this adds up to:

Per week - $5.50 (2 bottles in a landfill)
Per month - $22 (8 bottles in a landfill)
Per year - $264 (96 bottles in a landfill)

Hurts to look at, right? The simple alternative is to use a refillable water bottle every day. That way you can save the planet and put that $264 towards a ski pass and hire in Banff during Canada's winter. 

Life's good saving $264 a year on bottled water.


If you're struggling to quit smoking, maybe the following numbers will add some motivation. The average pack of 25 cigarettes costs $28. If you're buying two a week, this can add up to:

Per week - $56
Per month - $224
Per year - $2,688

Your lungs will thank you, and you can put that $2,688 towards breathing in as much fresh air as possible in a luxury Vanuatu resort for a week. 

Lottery tickets

Ah, the lotto. You buy a ticket with stars in your eyes, throw it in your bag and promptly forget it exists. Then, a few days later you hear on the news that the winner was in your state and you madly scramble to find the crumpled paper, scan it at the newsagent and see that you are not, in fact, an overnight millionaire. You buy another ticket because 'you've gotta be in it to win it!' and the cycle starts all over again. The average lotto ticket is around $19 for a standard bundle ticket. If you're buying one a week, it can add up to:

Per week - $19
Per month - $76
Per year - $912

Instead of trying to be a millionaire, why don't you keep that $912 and put it towards a holiday? Unlike the lotto, you are guaranteed to have it, and $912 can buy you return tickets to Indonesia where you can feel like a millionaire carrying around Indonesian Rupiah (200 Aussie dollars equates to about 1,916,290 IDR). 

Delivery charges

Meals on wheels. 

It's Friday night; you've had a big week and just can't be bothered to cook dinner. UberEats is mentioned, and the next minute you are deep into the local Thai restaurant's menu. Cost of the food aside, the delivery fee added at the end of the order can add up quickly, especially if you are doing this once a week. If the average delivery fee is $5, this equates to:

Per week - $5
Per month - $20
Per year - $240

You've already skipped out on cooking, why not pop in the car to grab the takeout and save yourself $5. Sure it's a hassle, but the $240 you save per year could buy you a reliable insurance policy to ensure you're covered for your adventure to South America. 

We're realists and know that you can't cut everything out of your budget. Life is for living, and you should treat yourself every now and then. It's when these treats turn into daily costs that things start adding up and hindering your ability to go on holiday. 

If you're keen on some more saving tips, or you've already done the saving and are ready to purchase some foreign currency for your well-earned holiday, be sure to visit the experts at Travel Money Oz. With over 150 stores across Australia and the Best Price Guarantee, you can rest easy knowing that you are taking off with more. 

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