31 May 2011

There's no getting around it, your career break is going to cost you money. The average cost is around £5,000, a pretty hefty sum! Most career breakers put a lot of effort into saving up for their career break. Here are some tips we've got from them, plus a few of our own.

Dreamstime image of money

© Andrew Bruce | Dreamstime.com


Tip 1: Carry only cash

If you take only the cash you need for the day when you go out, and leave your debit and credit cards at home, you'll resist the urge to impulse buy when you're out and about.

Tip 2: Carry only cards

One of our career breakers said she only took her card when she went out and never carried cash. So if she fancied a sandwich or magazine or something, she'd first have to go to the cash machine, and having to take this extra step made her stop and think - and usually forego the impulse buy.

Tip 3: Put reminders everywhere (and we mean everywhere!)

Saving can take a long time, so it's handy to have reminders all over the place. Print an image-heavy picture from this website and stick it on your fridge. Write down some of the things you're planning to do and put the list in your wallet. Find a big picture of your destination(s) and set it as your desktop or phone wallpaper. Look at all our career breaks, print out the results and circle the ones you fancy doing, then put it by the loo or in your bag (to read on the bus or in a queue).

Travellers Worldwide image of lion cub

We suggest pictures of much cuteness. Image © Travellers Worldwide


Tip 4: Plan your time better

A lot of our spending is because we don't plan very well. We buy a sandwich at lunchtime because we didn't make a packed lunch. We go to the expensive shop because we haven't got time to go to the cheap one. We pay for expensive repairs because we didn't get around to doing maintenance. Try to plan your days better to avoid this kind of thing - making your packed lunch, for example, doesn't have to take long and can save you hundreds of pounds over a year. As a bonus, learning to plan will help you have a better career break too.

Tip 5: Switch your insurance and energy providers

There are loads of comparison sites for you to find cheaper gas and electricity suppliers, phone, broadband insurance, mortgages, etc. We asked some of these about average savings, and on fuel it's about £180, and insurance £280 (that's for car and home). Quite a bit of cash for less than an hour's work!

Tip 6: Have the odd treat

Career breakers who've done the whole 'living on a budget' thing say it's not as bad as you expect. However, the odd treat will keep you going - you can just cut down on some of your favourite luxuries instead of giving them up altogether. For example, if you eat out once a month instead of once a week, you'll still save over £1,000 in a year.

And remember...

You're doing this so you can have the experience of a lifetime, and you won't be able to put a price on those memories!


This post was written by The Career Break Site staff writers, with contributions from real career breakers. If you are excited about doing a career break, have a look at all the organisations which can help you here.