Johannesburg – Your finances can play a big role in what you can do in a gap year. Taking a year off without an income can add financial strain and you need to carefully plan for it to avoid incurring debt, said an expert.
“Once you decide about what you want to do in your gap year you need to plan how you will fund this lifetime experience,” said Stephan Buys, head of strategic business development at FNB Cash Investments.
“Taking a gap year is not a cheap exercise; however, it’s possible to take a gap year without incurring debt. What’s most important is to start planning early and ensure the plan is adhered to,” he said.
Buys shared a few tips on how best to save up for a gap year.
Set a savings goal
“Whether you plan to spend an entire year travelling or volunteering in a specific country, you will need money for food, accommodation and transport costs,” he said. List what you want to do and link costs to the items. This will show you how much you need to save.
Open a savings or an investment account
Open a savings or an investment account. “Make sure you take the time to find an account that works best for you as savings and investment accounts have different features, consider when you will need access to your money,” he said.
Get a part-time job before travelling
Taking on a part-time job will help you earn money to put towards your savings. “Depending on your current situation, you may be able to take up two jobs, not only will you earn more but you can reach your goal sooner.” The hours spent working will also help stop you from spending more, added Buys.
Cut unnecessary expenses
List your expenses and identify ones you don’t need. This could be convenience foods, daily snacks and treats. “Less spending means more savings that you can put towards your gap year.”
Think about volunteering or taking a gap year job
“Take the time to research gap year programmes, where you still get to travel and explore different places but at the same time get paid or provided with food and accommodation,” said Buys.
Get a gap year buddy
Partner with someone who can be good company and also help share costs, said Buys.
Set monthly targets
“Set monthly targets, on a monthly basis aim to settle expenses such as costs related to acquiring a Visa, airfares, accommodation and travel bags.” This will help you settle major expenses over time, before the gap year or trip starts.
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