You’re finally out of high school, the final exam and send off in the school hall is still a vivid memory that you keep reliving purely to reminisce.

But the time has come to get that college degree that you’re just not ready for. After such a long schooling career, you feel you deserve a break (despite your parents’ disapproval) and, you want to embrace the famous gap year break! Sure, there is the alternative to take out a student loan, study and keep going, but saving money and having a bit of fun along the way seems like the better choice! It also means avoiding any debt later on after the fun bits are over.

Avoid getting into debt

When it comes to money and savings, there are a few things to consider and to be wary of. One is to avoid debt at all costs and the other is to save as often and as consistently as possible. Generally, people should settle all their debt before starting to save, because financially that makes the most sense. One of the ways that you can get your debt settled is by consolidating all the credit you have into one monthly repayment. That will make it far more manageable when you start considering the savings part for your gap year.

There are, of course, mixed opinions on whether taking a study break is the best idea for student-aged individuals to embark on. If you’re opting for it, we know the best way is to save enough money for it so that you make the most of it and come back settled and ready to pursue your dream through your studies.

Cash is tricky and so is debt, so embrace tips and advice on how to maximise your savings during this period and avoid credit where you can by sticking to your budget.

One of the best parts of this exciting period of your life is that if you plan to travel in and around New Zealand, you can fund every last bit of your travels through the working holiday visa they offer. Don’t forget to come with at least some cash for the beginning of your travels, around $5000 and enough to get home! This is more than enough, but it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry when you’re far away from home because, upon your return, the last thing you need is to fork out all your money and savings towards debt that you accrued along the way.

Right, let’s get saving;

Tip 1: Go get a job!

Not just a part-time one, a full-time job. This is the only way that you will be able to secure enough funds to last you through your travels. Well, at least the kind where you get to be a part of the fun and not just witness everyone else having it. That way you can spend a little and save a little.

Tip 2: Try working overtime

If there’s more time to give and more money to be made, don’t be shy to offer your time to do it, you need all you can get! You’re young enough to work crazy hours and especially when it’s in aid of something like travel, so put in the extra time when it’s available to you.

Tip 3: Open a Savings account

Create a savings account and call it “Best Gap Year Ever” (or something that). You will get excited each time the figure grows when you add money into it. As soon as you have a dedicated account for your gap year, you’ll increase your motivation as you grow it. Every last Dollar you earn or get should go into this account. With online banking, saving is easy, so set it all up to work in your favour. The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to have to lean on credit because you overspent and didn’t save, so keep a strong focus on how much you put away each month! You can open an account at a credit union or bank.

Tip 4: Consider moving back in with your parents

This one might not be for everyone, depending on the type of relationship you have with your folks. But in order to save costs, break the news to your roommates, move out the digs you’re currently residing in and shack up with your parents again for a while. Just bite the proverbial bullet and before you know it you’ll have racked up so much savings that you won’t have to quit your morning coffee stops at the local bistro!

Tip 5: If you no longer have a use for it – sell it

There is no point in holding onto items of value that have no value to you anymore. You need the money, someone else needs that old drum set – get rid of it. We’re so used to surrounding ourselves with “stuff”. But why do we do it? To feel good about how much we have? Don’t make your future student loan debt any more difficult than it needs to be by holding onto things that could help fund your studies later and your break now, let it go and stay in control of your finances.

Tip 6: Don’t eat out, eat in

You’d be amazed at how much money you can save by not going out to eat. So many people pay with their credit cards just to make sure that they’re doing every conceivable thing out there. If you know how to cook, it’s definitely a good savings option and if you don’t – there’s always the cooking channel. We don’t want you to become malnourished, so don’t start eating microwave noodles and toast! That’s one way to get you completely unfit for the holiday you plan on having! Avoid the debt trap and cut costs where you can!

If all else fails and you tried your best, the alternative would be to take out a personal loan to help you repay whatever debt you might have brought home along with the questionable tattoos and piercings. That way you’ll still have funds to spend and a fixed repayment to save yourself from getting into too much financial trouble in your first year of studies!