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12 October 2017

Four Steps to Saving For YALC

I'm not going to lie, YALC is expensive. And with a little over 9 months to go, I thought it was time to release this saving guide into the wild.

Step One - Start Now
No, really. Start now. The sooner you start the easier it is. Start putting money aside now. The sooner you start, the less you have to put away each week/month to reach your goal.

I set up a second, instant access bank account and any money I'm saving is automatically transferred on pay day so I can't spend it.

Step Two - Write a List
Write down a list of what you will need to save for. This means you can start researching prices.

Typically my YALC list looks like this:
  • Accommodation
  • YALC tickets
  • Train tickets
  • Bus/Tube fare
  • Food and drink
  • Spending money
  • Emergency extras
If you intend to stay, shop around. Look at prices and decide what type of accommodation you want. I like the freedom of self-catering, and this can often bring the price down. Look at different areas too, even within a few tube stops the price can drastically drop.

The average price for a Newcastle to London train ticket is a whopping £140 (eek!) so I always save more than I need in case I can't find a decent deal on early release tickets. I've been lucky in that I've never paid more than £50 including a first class upgrade. But I also look into maybe getting the coach - although I absolutely love travelling by train so it's a last resort.

I find travel in London super cheap. I don't know what crazy subsidies they get down South, but a day of unlimited travel with TFL is cheaper than a return ticket to town for me up North. I know I won't need more than £30 for a long weekend in London, where up here I'd need more than double.

Step Three - Set Goals
OK, so you have some pennies put back now. But how much do you need? Set yourself a final figure. 

My figure last year was £500 for YALC, because I was doing an extra long weekend and travelling from Geet Up North. This paid for a four night AirBnB stay, my YALC tickets, my train tickets (including an upgrade to first class!), travel to and from venues and stations, takeaways and wine each night, and spending money while I was there.

Based on my final figure I set aside £10 per week for a year, and added in a little extra when I could. I actually ended up with more like £600 saved be the time YALC came around, and the little extra helped when my card stopped working. And I still had change, which went right back into the savings pot.

Don't think you have to pay so much though! My first year was £100 including YALC ticket, last minute train tickets, travel in and around London, food and drink, and spending money for YALC. And I had change, despite coming back with many new books.

Step Four - Book Early
This applies mostly to tickets. The general rule is, the further in advance you book, the less you pay.

YALC tickets are on sale now. Eeek!

Some travel companies have an alert system, so you can enter your dates and get an email alert as soon as tickets are released. I also found it cheaper to go direct to the travel operator for my train tickets, and as a bonus I got free wi-fi for my journey and a first class upgrade. It's also a good idea to check out split ticketing, as that can often get you cheaper fares.

Also, once a particular part of your expenditure is out of the way you can relax a little. Once my accommodation and travel were booked I was chill, because it was out of the way and paid off. With those big tasks ticked off the rest was plain sailing.

Money Saving Ideas

Start a Book Buying Ban
This is very difficult but very rewarding. Not only do you spend less, but you get to actually tackle that TBR of books you've already acquired. And if you really need new reading material, why not join your local library? 

Set Up A Coin Jar
After seeing Aoife at Pretty Purple Polka Dots post about this, I decided to do it too. And it's a huge success. All I do is put £1 in my coin jar every time I finish a book. I already have over £100 saved this year and have had to swap out £1 coins for notes so I have space to keep adding.

Drop a Bad Habit
I'm not saying that my chocolate addiction is a Bad Habit (it is, I know it is, shh) but if you're not spending £1 a day on a chocolate bar then you can save an extra £1 a day. I'm on a super-saving kick at the moment so I've stopped buying chocolate, wine, books, and takeaways. And boy, does it add up.


  1. £1 per book read is a brilliant idea -- I'm totally stealing that :)

    I went to YALC this year and it was amazing! It was my first time and I'm absolutely going back next year.

  2. I really hope that I can get to go to YALC next year! Loved reading this as I honestly had no dea were to start! Maybe the NorthernBookBlogger Club could all go down together haha :) Great post and now I'm going to start saving!

  3. This is such a handy list on saving for any occasion! I hope you enjoy YALC!
    Tara xo

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  5. This is all such great advice! I hope you have a blast - to my knowledge there's nothing in my area that equals YALC, so count me jealous and have a black in 2018! :D

  6. This is brilliant advice! Thanks Cora

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