I don’t have a fairy godmother leaving me 100 bills under my pillow nor did I win the lotto (I wish!). To save up enough money to travel for seven straight months is simple. You set priorities on how you spend your money. Do you want that $400 purse or do you want a plane ticket to another country? Do you want that $4 latte every day or do you want a bungalow on a beach?
It is a simple concept but not always simple to do. America is a materialistic society. We want…want…want. We buy..buy…buy. I will be the first to admit it, I flirt with this mad game of consumption daily. However, in order to help overcome this fight, I give myself a few little rules of thumb to follow.
1. Limit unnecessary shopping. Does this item serve an actual purpose (like toothpaste) or is it unnecessary (like a new shirt)? If it is the latter, I don’t buy it. I don’t need new clothes, shoes or other fashion items. I won’t take it with me on my trip so what is the point of buying it now as it will be out of fashion when I get back?
2. Be a cook. Cooking is almost always going to be cheaper than going out to eat unless you plan to hit up a fast food restaurant every night. I cook almost every night and I always bring a lunch with me to work. I can not express how this in itself has saved me so much money. My only downfall is that I absolutely love to cook but I don’t like to cook cheap. If you are coming over for a dinner party you will find yourself enjoying a 5 course meal. But the cost for that one dinner alone is the cost of living in Asia for a week. So, this kind of cooking falls under “entertainment” and I only do it occasionally.
3. Limit entertainment. The key here is not to deny but to limit your favorite hobbies and past times. I love snowboarding and glorious powder. I adore getting dressed up and going out to dinner. I cherish the end of the day when I grab beers and happy hour with friends. I get excited to go to the movies, plays and concerts. However, traveling is also my hobby. So I have to pick and choose. Would I rather spend a day trekking in the jungle or day on the mountain?
These three simple rules have helped me think carefully about how I spend my money. It’s not that I really deny myself of anything, I just limit the number of times I do it. This has allowed me to balance living in the moment and planning for the future.
So, if you want to go on an around the world trip there is no,”I wish I could.” Rather, what you should be saying is, “I can”–then start prioritizing.