Money is the single biggest concern of career breakers. How much will it cost? Can you afford it? How can you save up? Can you earn extra? Should you borrow?
Here's advice on saving, earning and borrowing money.
Save money: on your house, car and bills
- Look at switching your mortgage provider. Don't ask your bank, and be careful of independent financial advisers (they can be expensive and might not give the best advice for your situation, especially if they're on commission). Look at newspaper or respected money websites, or ask a knowledgeable friend or relative.
- If you're planning to rent out your house, you might consider switching to a buy-to-let or interest-only mortgage (make sure you know what these really mean before you sign up).
- Fish out your last 3 lots of bills and go to a price comparison site to see if you could save money by changing electricity and gas suppliers.
- Also see if you can switch your broadband provider and telephone company, or get a better deal.
- See if you can get lower car insurance - make sure you use the comparison site with the least annoying ad.
- Get a better mobile phone deal when your contract's up by calling and asking to be put through to cancellations.
- Go to the money section of our blog for more posts about saving money.
Save money: on everyday items
- Get out your most recent supermarket receipt and circle or highlight all the items you bought on impulse. Add up how much these cost you.
- When shopping, write your list before you go, and stick to it! Avoiding buying more than you need will stop you wasting things.
- Buy things on special offer wherever possible (but only if they're the sort of things you would buy normally).
- At the supermarket, take a handbasket instead of a trolley - you'll stop shopping as soon as it gets heavy!
- Buy perishable stuff, like fruit and veg, every few days, so it doesn't go off.
- You've heard it before so we won't tell you again that giving up smoking or vaping will save you money.
- Our blog has loads more money-saving ideas.
Save money: cut down on luxuries and occasional items
- Cut down on the amount of expensive stuff you buy that you don't really need. This doesn't just mean designer clothes and fancy gadgets, but also experiences, like facials or cocktails.
- Look after your clothes and they'll last longer! Hang them properly (inside-out) and wash them according to the label instead of just flinging them all in together on a medium wash.
- Buy big-ticket items in the sales if you can, or on ebay.
- Cancel your online film rental service and telly subscription unless you really can't find anything better to do than sitting in front of the box every night.
Save money: in your social life
- It's hard to turn down social invitations when you're saving money. Try explaining to your friends what you're saving up for and why you're doing it.
- Invite people to your house instead of going out for dinner.
- Organise your group's nights out, then you'll have more control over the cost.
Save money: with this motivating tip
- It can be a bit of a drag cutting back, turning down invitations and faffing about with paperwork. To stay motivated, promise yourself the occasional treat - either every month, or when you've saved a certain amount of money.
Earn extra money: from your bank accounts
- Make sure you're earning a decent amount of interest on your savings.
- Is your money in a high-interest bank account? If not, move it!
- You might also consider putting your money in an ISA.
- Some career breakers open a separate bank account for their career break, and arrange for a certain amount of money to be paid into it each month.
Earn extra money: do another job
Some career breakers take on extra work to earn money for their career break. This is not a viable option for everyone, and it requires careful thought.
- What effect will it have on your family? Even if you have no family of your own, there's your mum or dad to consider! Plus your partner and friends.
- Do you honestly have the time and energy for extra work? You can't afford to let it affect your day job.
- What is the effect on your health going to be? You don't want to knacker yourself out before taking your career break - that's not the idea.
- Does your employment contract allow you to do paid work elsewhere? Many forbid moonlighting.
If you do decide to go ahead, think about the following:
- Is there a freelance market for what you do? Freelancing does give you some flexibility regarding when and where you work.
- If you choose to do freelancing, be realistic about your costs and figure out if it's worth it. Do you need to buy any equipment? Do you have time to find clients, do invoicing and sort out your tax returns, as well as doing the work?
- If you answer a small ad for homeworking, don't pay money upfront for anything.
- Make sure you're not breaking any laws (eg charging people for lifts if you're not a licensed taxi).
- Ask friends for ideas and help - they might know of suitable part-time work.
- Get creative! Think about what you might enjoy doing and find out how to go about it.
Earn extra money: sell or rent things
Here are some other ways to make money:
- Sell your stuff on ebay or Amazon.
- Sell catalogue items to your friends, like cookware, cleaning products, make-up etc. Lots of people (mainly women) do this to make a bit of extra money, and for some it's become a full-time, lucrative job!
- If you have a spare room, get a lodger. Make sure you familiarise yourself with your legal responsibilities, tax requirements, etc.
Although it's possible to get a loan for your career break, it's not generally advised. However, it is an option if you have to take your career break at a particular time – for example, if you've been made redundant and want to do it before you get a new job, or perhaps you want to travel before you have kids.
When you're doing your sums, don't make any assumptions about how quickly you will be able to get a job when you get back, and set some cash aside for emergencies. Obviously, shop around for the best loan for your circumstances and make sure you understand exactly how much you'll be paying back.
If you're learning on your career break, particularly if you're retraining for a new career, you can apply for a career development loan. You don't have to pay interest on it until one month after your training finishes. Find out more about these here.
Now you've got the money sorted…
Why not have a look at all the fab career breaks you can do? Our clear pricing information means you can see what each one costs and what is included, before you book.