Getting some extra money for your travel fund.

1. Apply for refunds.

Before you leave overseas on longer term travel make sure you get any refunds you’re entitled to when you cancel services. This includes:

– from your car insurance if you prepaid in advance,
– deposits you’ve paid when you started your utilities at your house or apartment.
– TV license fee in the UK.
– Car registration fees.

If you’ve got time left to run on any contracts like the your phone or the gym, then do some research about the best ways to disentangle yourself from those situations. Don’t listen to what the sales guy tells you! There are often ways and means! Go through your last few months bank statements and minimize, to the greatest extent possible, any payments that will still be coming out while you’re travelling. Make sure you understand the implications of canceing things e.g., you probably don’t want to cancel your health insurance to save a few hundred dollars, if there is a risk you could develop a long term problem while you’re away and then not be covered for it if you re-apply for health insurance later. An alternative to canceling is sometimes trading down e.g., keeping third party insurance for a vehicle you’re going to be storing.

2. Get the best prices when you sell your stuff.

There are several things you can do to get the best prices for items you’re selling online. Taking good photos and writing good descriptions is important. It’s also important how you price your items – not too high and not too low. You can never really be sure of this, unless you can look up past sales prices of virtually identical items. One option is to ask friends or co-workers who use the sites you’re selling on, what they think the prices should be. Otherwise you’re likely to fall into the trap of overvaluing your own stuff.

3. Do some extra work.

Overtime at your job is one option. Other options include things like babysitting or odd jobs. Be upfront with people that you’re trying to put a few extra dollars in your travel kitty, so if there is anything they want to outsource to you, you’re open to it. There are plenty of jobs e.g., cleaning someone’s pool that don’t take rocket science, and that many homeowners will be happy to take a break from. Doing this type of thing will build your confidence if it’s not something you usually do.

4. Submit a tax return.

If you’re an employee who has taxes deducted from your pay, and you’ve only worked part of the year, chances are you’ll be eligible for a tax refund. This is because the tax calculations generally assume you’ll be working for the full year. Some countries don’t require their citizens to file taxes if tax has been deducted at the correct rate, so you might not usually file a return. If you want to get the refund, you will usually have to file. Check out whether you can do this yourself. It might not be as daunting as you think.

Image by Moyan Brenn under Creative Commons License.

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