26 Jan 2015 4 Comments
Yes, you CAN save enough money!
There was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever have enough money to actually travel around the world. I mean, the travel industry sure makes it seem like you need to either be rich or win the lottery to get in any travel of significance. I have traveled quite a bit now, and I have done both the expensive and the budget versions of travel. And since I plan to be on the road for a year this time, you can bet that I’m going to make the trip last that long by having a very small travel budget. Like, miniscule. Itty bitty. Teeeenie tiny. Recently I was telling someone about my trip and she cried out, “WHAT?! You’re not staying in hotels?!!” She simply couldn’t imagine how one travels without the travel-industry-led idea that you must make your trips luxurious and, therefore, expensive. Otherwise, what’s the point? Ah, I wrote that blog here.
I will be writing a blog on how to make an infinitesimal, itsy bitsy traveling budget actually work, but this blog is about how I’m saving and scraping and selling in order to have enough money before I go. I have given myself a mere ten months—just 300 days—to save for this year-long round-the-world journey. While I will be making money working on the road, my goal is to save at least $8,000 before I go. This is a shade over five months of travel at $1,500 a month, equal to $50 a day, which is incredibly generous for world travel.
“Gosh, that’s a LOT!” you might whine observe. I think so, too. But I’m all about the cushion, and it IS an estimate. I’d rather aim high and have enough to last than to have to come home early. And think about it: I only need to save $800 a month for ten months. When you have a dream or a goal or a desire within sight, wouldn’t you do whatever you needed to to get there? It’s that.
Now, I don’t have an extra eight hundred bucks lying around at the end of every month, but I also don’t have a lot of bills. Still, how am I possibly going to accomplish this savings on my fairly small, not-very-consistent freelance income? Well, I have been doing my research, and I’ve come up with a list of seven ways to stuff my green-and-orange-striped sock with plenty of money to get me launched.
Show me the money!
Here, in no particular order or relevance to success, is my list of seven ways to shove the green stuff into my striped sock:
- Cut out all discretionary spending. This one is a no-brainer. Stop buying coffee out. Movies are all at home or at friends’ homes. No new lipsticks. (Geez, I’ll never use up all the ones I already have.) No eating out. (Not hard for me. I like my own cooking.)
- Actually put the actual money I actually would have spent on the items in (1) into said green-and-orange-striped sock.
- Combine auto trips to save gas. Better yet, ride my bike or walk when I can. I live where it’s easy to jump into the car and run to the store, which would take 45 minutes to walk round-trip. But it’s also easy to jump into the car several times a day on short little trips because of this, which adds up in gas. I’m going to plan better in order to consolidate my trips, or heck, even forego a trip to the store altogether. I don’t always have to rush out for coconut aminos if I run out while I’m cooking. Adjust. Adapt.
- Sell my stuff. This is a big one for me. I am not young, and I own my house. It’s full of a lifetime of stuff, but not clutter because I’m certainly not a hoarder. However, it is true that your stuff grows to fit the size of your home. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want to sell, and I realize that I’m just not attached to much of it at all. That said, I’m going to want the basics when (if) I return, so I’m giving this a lot of thought. But lots of kitchen stuff, much of my furniture, most of my clothing, and all of my books can go. Craigslist, Ebay, and garage sales are what I’m planning.
- Do odd jobs. I have lots of little one-off income opportunities that put money in my sock. I teach astronomy to private students. I make Power Point presentations. I coach people in public speaking. These small jobs are not my Paleo bread and butter (that would be book editing), so I can think of the income from them as “extra” money. Again, it goes right into the sock.
- Put away something from every single income check I receive. Since I work freelance, my cash flow can be pretty inconsistent. One thing, among many, that my dear departed dad taught me was to put aside some amount from every single paycheck, and do it FIRST, before I pay any bills. This advice has served me well (thanks, Dad). Before I even think about how much I need for living expenses, I put away enough that it hurts a little bit. Sometimes my checks are for a single hour of work. I’ll put away 50 percent of those little checks. Other times, a check is several thousand dollars for several weeks’ work. With paychecks like these, I can put away 25 percent, and the sock gets much fatter much faster.
- Take the money I’ve saved out of the sock and put it into an interest-bearing account. This one is also a no-brainer. While savings and checking accounts don’t pay much at all these days, I am looking around at different options. Putting the money in a savings account instead of my sock is not only smarter, it’s safer.
Well, that’s it. Those are my secrets to saving for a dream I have had for years. It’s time to put my words into action and make it happen.
Now I want to hear from you! What dream do you want to save for? A house? College? An RTW? What secret tricks are you implementing to save money? Answer in the comment section below.