Sometimes people from back home tell me how much they would love to travel and see the world and it makes me a little sad because most of the time they have defeat in their voices as though that is a total impossibility for them.
And I don't really think that is the case.
So, with that in mind, I have decided to share some details of our life so people can see what it takes for us to do what we do: travel + see the world.
Our biggest secret is cutting back on daily expenses and living far below our means so we can save more of our monthly paycheck.
Here's how we stretch our [one] monthly paycheck to cover our globe trots:
We don't have a TV or cable bill
We don't watch much TV anyway. Anything we do watch is online and free. In Taiwan, some channels are not accessible online but most things can be found with a bit of creativity.
We don't have a cell phone bill
We use pay-as-you-go cell phones. We find we don't need to be connected all the time. In fact, we kinda like that we're not. Plus, not having to pay a smart phone bill each month makes us happy.
We budget our weekly expenses very carefully
We only spend $100/week on food + household expenses. We get cash out for the week and that is all we get for the grocery store. For more about our system, read this.
We set aside money each month
We put aside $500 each month for travel. We have a separate account for our travel money too. We never touch it unless it's for something related to travel.
We find cheap + free things to do for fun
Most of what we do over the weekend is cheap or free. We scoot up into the hills, go on walks, explore local markets, etc. We rarely spend more than $20 on an outing.
We indulge once a week
We allow ourselves one day a week to go out to eat, go to a movie or go crazy and buy three bottles of nail polish. Not being a complete scrooge with our money allows us to feel like we still can do what we want but within reason.
We use things until they bust
We do not buy new electronics or household items until we wear out our old ones. We also do our best to revive things once they die so we can postpone having to buy a new, expensive items.
We shop sales
When we do buy new things, we poke around before we make a purchase to make sure we are getting the best deal. We also usually buy things like clothes in bulk so it's not something that happens every month.
We buy cheap airfare
We always fly economy and we always book through either cheapoair or jetscoot. Usually we fly at odd hours and sometimes there are long layovers but we.don't.care.
We don't buy junk
We stay away from chips, soda, beer, ice cream, candy, wine, fast food, etc. We only get those items every once in a while on one of our splurge days.
We intentionally put ourselves in a profession + situation that allows for our desired lifestyle
Moving to Taiwan was partly an adventure and partly a good economic investment. We worked hard to put ourselves in a situation where we: get free housing, pay $1 USD every time we fill up our scooter's gas tank [which is about once a week], can live cheaply due to the low cost of living, could enroll Sean in a BA program and incur only a little debt, have three months off every year and yes: travel, travel, travel.
All of these things allow this single income household the opportunity to travel and see the world. We have financial obligations: my student loan and Sean's university fees take up nearly half of our one paycheck. Despite that, we prioritize travel and find ways to set money aside so we can globe trot. I think you would be very surprised to see how just cutting back on a few things each month can really start to add up to the point that in a few months you could have saved for a plane ticket to a place you've always wanted to go!
What about you? What are your tips + tricks for saving for travel?