Why Being a Low-Maintenance Girl (by Luck) Allows Me to Travel

Having an expensive hobby like travelling requires lots of money. Well, maybe not much if you go backpacking, but having parents that worry so much of their daughter’s safety and passport that needs visa to most of the countries, taking tour will be the best option for me.

When I told one of my ex-colleagues that I paid 10k Turkey trip with my own money, he didn’t believe it. He was very sure someone sponsored me (yeah, I wish). He has all the reason to think that way, for I was a fresh grad with modest salary- how could I possibly have the money?

10402584_10202090912620553_3545257711849135494_nMe enjoying Turkish apple tea in Turkey

Well, it’s because I’m a low-maintenance girl by luck. Not all by luck, of course I worked hard but mostly it’s just happened that I am, by luck. Here are some reasons why:

  1. I’m staying with my family

What else do I need to say? I’m waived from house rental, electricity and water bills, and the food is provided.

  1. I got addicted to work during semester break

After my first internship and earning my very own money, I took another one. The boss liked my work and accepted me to work for him again in the next semester breaks. I managed to save more than 50% of my salary every month.

  1. I’m not a coffee lover

I like tea and milk. A cup of your artisanal coffee costs more than my 1 liter of milk. Two cups of coffee are equal to a box of 25-bags green tea. Just imagine how much I can save!

  1. I’m behind the borderline of being an Orthorexia

Orthorexia is a condition where someone becomes addicted to healthy diet. The person usually started with good intention to eat healthily, then turns into an obsession.

One of the traits of an Orthorexia is they tend to eat alone or have no problem eating the same food for some periods. They stick to their healthy eating plan. In my case, I’m not obsessed much but I try to make sure I eat veggies and fruits every day. For example, I had no problem eating tempeh and veggies for lunch, bought from the same stall every day (happened to me before). While my colleagues were eating out, I had no problem eating alone as long as I had my healthy meal. Being an Orthorexia also means I don’t spend on snack as much as normal people.

Fyi, veggie is cheap. My 2 veggie meals are equal to 1 normal meal with meat. At that time I was saving for my Europe trip, so yeah, luck and determination heheh… Now I’m starting to eat more and have lunch often with my colleagues.

  1. I don’t eat in fancy restaurant often

I set my daily lunch budget except for weekend and outings with friends (but still I won’t spend 50 bucks just for one meal unless there’s wine).

  1. I don’t use makeup

Rather than Sephora or MAC, I visit Innisfree or Watson. My daily and weekend “makeup” will be BB cream, eye cream, lip balm and lip gloss (sometimes mascara). I have sensitive skin and prone to acne, so I try to avoid makeup unless it’s a very special event or I’m obliged to put it on. Plus some people who saw me with makeup said they prefer my natural look, so be it. Save me hundreds of dollars!

  1. I’m not into gadget…

Iphone six is out. Oh, there’s gold edition. The new iPad air. GoPro is on sale. So?

I don’t care to spend money on gadget unless mine are broken or very outdated. And no thanks, I don’t need iPad or iWatch when I already have my laptop and watch. All this time I’m lucky that my phones were all inherited from my family- whoever buys a new one, they will pass me their old ones. Lucky girl, I know 😉

  1. …I’m into fashion

My love for fashion doesn’t blind me (more explanation in No.9). Unless it’s very very nice, I will put them in my wait-until-it’s-sale list. And every end of season there will be sale. Oh yeah!

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  1. I’m not brand conscious

I’m earning a modest income, why do I need that Louis Vuitton bag? Who cares if I’m using Skinfood and not Etude? Or Johnson & Johnson body wash instead of Crabtree & Evelyn? Unless I’m earning a lot. Anyway it’s just soap.

  1. I’m not a regular clubber

You will spend minimum 100 bucks for the entry and drink. If you open a bottle or reserved a table, it will cost up to thousand. So if you go there once a week, you know where your money goes to, or how much I could save…

  1. My nails are done at home

I’d rather use the money to buy clothes instead of mani-pedi. Clothes last for years, your nail routine is probably weeks or a month.

  1. Train and bus are my (foot) extension

I don’t buy car because I don’t have a promising career yet. Plus I’d rather pay a trip than down payment that comes with more expenses (petrol + regular service + parking ticket + car wash, etc), leaving me broke with pathetic bank account. Why would I buy a car when I could use the public transportation? I’m ok with the inconvenience, supported by my burning passion saving money for my next travel destination.

  1. Expensive accessories? Hmm…

I’m not cheap. I have nice, branded and non-branded accessories. But I don’t see a point in buying 3k Pandora bracelet when me myself taking 1 buck bus ride. That’s so un-match! I’d rather buy a return ticket to Europe with the money.

All of these, my dear readers, will be useless if I don’t have this one trait:

  1. I create monthly budget and stick to it

Minimum 50% of my salary will go to my bank account. I’m discipline with my monthly expenses, I make sure I have the money to pay what I need to pay, the rest comes later. If I have $300 left till the end of the month yet dying to buy that $100 dress, I have to endure whatever it is so I can pass the month without withdrawing any money from my saving. You want that dress? No movies or cafe outings till next month.

With all of these traits, I’ve managed funded myself trips to Turkey, Bali and Eastern Europe. Even if you’re not blessed with the traits I have, you can still save some money and go travelling by sticking to #14 tip.

Other option is to save every day. Let’s say, you promise yourself to save $5 every day. ($5 x 30) x 12 months = $1800. Congratulations, now you can book a 10 days tour package to Spain!

In the end, it’s all about priority and how you manage your money.

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