Do you fantasize about jetting around the country from one exciting destination to the next? Do you find yourself turning a grassy shade of green every time you scroll through those friends’ social media timelines? You know the ones…they’re always away on some or other fabulous holiday – like, do they ever actually work?
Well, pack your costume and sunnies, because exploring South Africa may be well within your reach this year! And, according to Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group (a leading leisure company that manages over 25 holiday properties across the country) you don’t need to earn more money in order to achieve your dream of sun, berg or sea! “The secret is not to earn more, it’s to spend less,” he says.
He adds that it is easier said than done, but if you are willing to set a budget and sacrifice, you too could be sharing dreamy photos of your idyllic getaway before you know it.
Shaun offers six tips for making your dream holiday a reality:
1. Pick a destination: You can’t save for a holiday if you don’t know where you are going, and if you don’t know where you going you can’t set a budget. So, first things first – pick a destination. If you already feel like you live from pay cheque-to-pay cheque, choosing Cape Town as your holiday destination when you live in Johannesburg or Durban is not wise. Save costs on airfare and car rentals by going ‘local’. For example, if you live in Johannesburg, the Magaliesberg is less than an hour’s drive and the gorgeous mountains are guaranteed to take your breath away!
2. Find the best deals: Speak to your friends and family about their most cost-effective holidays or trawl the internet for the best deals – but don’t forget to book directly on the hotel’s website as this is often cheaper than going through an Online Travel Agent (OTA). Furthermore, if you don’t have kids, choose to travel outside of the school holidays or ‘Peak Season’ as it is significantly cheaper. And finally, remember that many of the bigger hotel groups offer ‘Early-bird’ specials. For example: First Group offers a 15% discount if you book 90 days prior to arrival, plus you only have to pay R1000 deposit to secure your holiday.
3. Set the budget: Once you have decided where you are going, you need to create a spreadsheet of all the approximate costs involved, including transport, accommodation, meals and activities. Once you have the amount needed (it won’t be totally accurate, but is a starting point), divide that amount by the number of months left before the trip, and you’ll be able to see how much you need to save monthly to afford it.
4.Cut back and save: What do you currently spend your money on that is a non-essential? Now, before you say “Nothing!”, consider interrogating your bank account to find things that you can cut back on. For example, you can save up R2500 a month by simply cutting back on a daily work-day cappuccino. Bringing lunch to work instead of running out to the shops, can save you anything from R1000 – R3500. You can also save by shopping for groceries monthly instead of weekly, cutting back on non-essential subscriptions like Apple Music (save R59) and Satellite TV (reduce your package and save up to R300!) and reviewing your current household/car insurance!
5. Reduce and re-sell: Marie Kondo says that if things don’t give you joy, then get rid of them. Why not go through your cupboards and sell what you no longer like, or need. But don’t just stop there. Go through each room in the house, and sell, sell, sell! Remember ‘One man’s junk, is another man’s treasure!’ Then, go and stash that cash!
6. Open a separate bank account: Before you are tempted to spend your newly-acquired cash, transfer it to a ‘Holiday Savings Account’. If you’re not disciplined, consider setting up a debit order with your bank to transfer this amount into your Holiday Savings Account monthly, as soon as your salary is paid. That way you cannot forget to do it, and you also won’t be tempted to spend that money – out of sight, out of mind.
“Life is about experiences, not stuff. The magical memories you make on your holiday will last you a lifetime, so be disciplined, stick to your savings plan and before you know it you’ll be sipping a cocktail poolside,” Shaun concludes.