Smart Cost Cutting

There are various ways to reduce your fixed costs when you’re travelling due to your changing circumstances and needs.

Reducing payments for things you’re not using

If you’re going travelling you may be able to cancel services at home you’ll know longer need. There may be online subscriptions you can cancel too. For example, if you know you’ll be too busy while travelling to use a Netflix or an audiobook subscription.
Downgrading services often works quite well too. For example, if you know you’re not going to be using your car and that it will be in storage for the year, you might only need 3rd party insurance on it, rather than full coverage.

Some health insurances will allow you to take up to year off from payments if you can show you’ll be travelling during that time and that you’ll have travel insurance.

Make sure you check for any refunds that you may be due for prepaid services like your TV license if you live in the UK.

Reducing foreign transaction fees to zero

One of the absolute musts for travellers is a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. This means that when you pay for something using your card, whether it’s in Bangkok, Sydney, Auckland, or New York, you will pay just the exchange rate and not an extra percentage fee on top of that. Foreign exchange fees can be as much as 3% meaning you could be losing $3 of every $100 you spend. Cards will usually say “no foreign exchange fees” in their benefits list. So, make sure you see that info before applying. If a card has an annual fee, you have to be really sure that the benefits are worth it to you.

You might also consider looking for an ATM debit card that doesn’t charge fees for withdrawals, or you may have some success with asking your existing bank to remove these fees for the time you’ll be travelling. It’s amazing that just asking can result in them doing this, if you have a big enough overall relationship. They still make money from you and they avoid losing you as a customer or you shifting big chunks of money away from them to another bank.

I used to pay a high annual fee for a credit card because it had some really good travel insurance benefits. However, these only applied for trips up to 90 days and where you were travelling to/from your home country on a return ticket. It was a better deal than buying an annual travel insurance policy. When our travel patterns changed and no longer fitted with these restricted criteria I called to ditch the card and they suggested waiving the fee rather than cancelling the card 🙂

Cancel extras a little while before you start travelling

When you’re preparing to travel you may not have time to use things like your gym membership. Therefore you may be able to cancel these types of subscriptions a few weeks to a month before you leave.

If you pay for anything on an annual basis, like a Taste card, make sure it’s not going to auto renew a short time before you start travelling, since you’re unlikely to get value out of it if you’re using it for on a short time and are then out of the country.

If your circumstances have changed e.g., you’ve had an injury or been made redundant, you may be able to cancel some services even though you have a contract. For example, see this article about gym memberships.

Photo Credit:
Tristan Martin under Creative Commons Licence

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