Thursday, 6 March 2014

how to budget for a working holiday

I have been asked my multiple people how I really came to make this experience come to pass money wise so thought it was time to share. I will be honest straight up and say it was no walk in the park. From deciding that I was really doing this to actually getting here was like climbing mighty mountains with many sacrifices to be made.

With the decision made in late January and a bucket full of debt from my last adventure, it seemed incredibly daunting. My first goal was to pay the deposit for the working holiday club on my credit card and then get cracking on paying off my multiple $ off the plastic. Returning to full-time work was like putting a gun to my head but I knew it had to be done.

So yes that little horrible word 'work' was the key ingredient to getting me to where I am right now. I had a 5 day working week with multiple late nights and early mornings and would jump at any opportunity to work extra if need be. Working in hospitality takes it's toll and it means no play on weekends and a crazy whacky sleeping/eating pattern. So thats just what I did, I worked 40 hours or so per week for 10 long months. When I say long though, they really did fly when I look back now. I would have loved extra time to save more money but it just was not practical.

Sacrifices you say? My sacrifices included putting my hard earned money into a goal savings account which I did not touch until needed each week. I gave myself a $100 budget per week factoring in added expenses such as my car, flights, travel insurance, health insurance yada yada yada. This hurt big time! It meant saying no to a tonne of things. I resulted in bringing in my own meals to work, declining those nights out, living off my parents choice of groceries and just milking everything I possibly could from my beautiful friends and family.

It is super important to jump at that extra bit of cash too. Whether it be getting that goal savings account which earns you bonus interest, babysitting for all those cute cousins that you have on a saturday night, attending as many as you can paid research groups and finally our beloved ebay. Coming towards the last few months before I took off, I sold everything I could get my hands on. I went through old cds and "helped" mum sell those, old shoes, clothes, formal dresses, books, dvds you name it! I went crazy for ebay. After trial and error I got the hang of it and made almost an extra $1000 to add to my spending money.

I guess the big question is though,, how much do you really need to make it work? Yes it is important to remember that you do get paid to work over here but really its just pocket money. I have chosen the more expensive room (luxury pays) which pretty much is taken out of my pay every fortnight. This leaves me with the bare minimum to play with for 2 weeks. I found the first month I chewed into a heck of a lot of money. They say you can get away with coming over with $5000 minimum and that my friends you can! However, I worked that little bit harder throughout the year to come over comfortably without the worry about running short. There have been times where I am short for cash close to pay day but that's just me not being very cash savvy.

So there you have it, looks like I have a lot to say about that dirty word money. However I really dont. I just remember the anxiety I had before coming over as to if I would have enough. Not to forget though if you plan on travelling before or after then it is wise to factor that into your budget as well. It was achievable and anyone can do it if you want it bad enough! I often shake my head at people when they say "wow I could never do that" or "I cant afford something like that" because that just simply is not true. If you want it bad enough whether it is working overseas or travelling for a month or even 3 years, you can for sure make it happen!

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