Choosing to save your money for travel.

When you make the commitment to travel, you make a commitment to forgo other things in life in order to travel. At least, if you’re the majority of the population that’s the case. Some people are born independently wealthy (I’m jealous of you if you are/were) and don’t have to worry about saving money, but for the rest of us, the fact is, we have to plan if we’re going to see the world.

For me, the prospect of travel is an important one. I want to run away on my long weekends rather than staying home. I want to say that I’ve been to all of the continents and keep a running tally of all the countries I’ve visited. I want to collect tiny a vile of sand from every beach I visit. To do this, I knew I needed to get serious about my finances.

I’m quite lucky in that, in spite of not being employed presently, I still have a couple of trips on the docket for 2019. When you’re going to travel the world, here are some realistic tips for saving your money because, after all, it’s better to save your money to have more to spend there!

  • Meal Prep. Meal prep is helpful because it causes you to make use of the food that you already have. If you’re eating the food that you have prepped in your fridge already, you’re not going to be tempted to eat out – thus saving that money. Take that money you would have spent on your fast food dinner and put it in your piggy bank. Literally. Furthermore, if you’re meal prepping you’re making better use of the groceries that you purchase and therefore you will find your grocery bill going down each month.
  • Have a piggy bank. This one might sound weird, but it’s oddly motivating to see the money in your piggy bank grow. If you can get a clear piggy bank, that is the most motivation because you can see when you put those five, ten and twenty dollar bills in there. The more money that’s in your piggy bank, the more you’re motivated to fill it.
  • Automatic withdrawal from your pay cheque. When you get paid, set aside an amount of money that is automatically coming off the cheque. You’re not going to use it, you’re not going to spend it. It’s going towards your travel dollars. Whether it’s $20 per cheque or $100 dollars per cheque, telling yourself that you get zero access to that set amount every pay cheque can add up in a year.
  • Cut the luxuries. I’m talking about things like Netflix and Itunes Music and your subscription services. The average person has 3-4 of these, minimum, and if you cancel all of them that is hundreds of dollars in a year that you’re saving.
  • Don’t drink when you’re out. Going out to have alcohol, whether with your friends or your significant other, the markup on alcohol is ridiculous. If you like a nice glass of wine once in a while, do it with your friends at one of your home’s. You’re going to enjoy it more without the extra noise of a club or a bar, and, you’re going to save a lot of money when you’re not spending $14 on a glass of wine.
  • When you’re shopping – shop sales. I know this can sound awful to some people, but it can be really beneficial if you’re smart about the way you shop. We all have things we need in life, like a winter jacket or a new pair of shoes. Right now, on the North Face website you can purchase a winter jacket from last year’s collection for $125, rather than $500. This savings is solely because it’s last year’s coat. North Face jackets never go out of style, and honestly, no one’s going to know that it’s last year’s coat. Whereas you might have previously budgeted several hundred dollars for your winter jacket, you can now take that extra money and put it into your vacation fund, wear your new Northface coat and no one will be any the wiser.
  • Track your finances. This is the most important aspect of all. If you’re looking to save money for travelling, track your finances. Being able to see on paper, or an excel spreadsheet, where your money is being spent will help you to realize where you’re spending too much and where you can cut. After all, you are not going to become a millionaire over night, so, if you want to travel the world you need to know where you’re going to cut money from in order to put it into your travel budget.

As you’re saving for your trip and cutting money from other places in your budget, please remember for your own peace of mind that you need to treat yourself once in a while. Don’t cut everything from your life cold turkey in order to save for your trip, that will make you miserable. Buy yourself that chocolate bar on the day when you really need some chocolate. Just make sure that it’s a once in a while treat and not an every day treat.

Hopefully, if you’re smart about it, you’ll be sailing off into the sunset of a beautiful trip in no time. Because I am a firm believer that it’s far more important in life to collect experiences rather than things.

Go forth and travel the world.

Day 26: Money can’t buy happiness.

Actually, money can’t buy a lot of things. But, as I sat in the salon listening to the woman next to me complain about her husband, her children, her home, her life and her motivation, I couldn’t help but think that she was the perfect example of that statement.

Wearing a diamond ring larger than any I’ve seen before, fumbling through her $5,000 purse to find her car keys to shut the car alarm of her $150,000 Mercedes, she continued on about how her husband doesn’t listen to her. About how he doesn’t care. About how when she gets upset with him his response is to buy her something new. Be it diamonds or electronics or vehicles, he’s bought it all for her and he still hasn’t learned that what she wants most is for him to listen.

As she continued on talking about how her children were spoiled brats who didn’t understand the values of anything in life, I couldn’t help but wonder if she played a hand in making them that way. I don’t think it was intentional, but I do think that when they’re not looking, parents play a larger role in passing on bad behaviours to their kids then they believe.

Here’s the thing: the woman was clearly very depressed with her life. Something that seemed quite ‘beautiful’ from the outside, at a personal level was tearing her up. She was not happy. And maybe too afraid to do anything about it. (That last part is absolutely speculation) And, as I watched what seemed like a perfect exterior fall apart in a salon chair, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that material possessions are nothing more than that. Possessions can’t give peace of mind. Possessions can’t make you happy. Sure, they can make things easier, if you use them properly. But they won’t buy your happiness.

I’ve never been someone to be wowed by fancy things. With a whole world out there to explore, I have no desire for diamonds, I desire experience. I want to walk with penguins in Antarctica and go cave diving in Madagascar. I want to see the whole world. And yes, money is needed to travel. There is a bit of a catch-twenty-two there. But watching her, clearly deeply unhappy with her life and how it’s turned out, I was reminded that experiences are far more important than things.

She, for me, will serve as a reminder that things are not necessary. Money can’t buy happiness. Money cannot buy peace of mind. Actually, money cannot buy a lot of things. Money can’t buy:

  • Respect
  • Truth
  • Work-life balance
  • Natural Beauty
  • Manner
  • Common Sense
  • A clear conscience
  • Purpose in life
  • Integrity
  • Good Friends
  • A long life
  • Close-knit family
  • An open mind
  • A worry-free day
  • Trust
  • A new beginning
  • A great idea
  • An honest politician
  • Peace of mind
  • A good hair day
  • Patience
  • Luck
  • Happy Memories
  • Time to relax
  • A strong work ethic
  • A positive attitude
  • A happy home
  • Good Karma
  • Blessings
  • Appreciation and love of the simple things
  • True Love
  • A new shot at a missed opportunity
  • Peace in the World
  • A golden anniversary
  • Talent
  • A second chance
  • Quality time with the ones you love
  • Wisdom
  • Happiness
  • Intelligence
  • Humility
  • A good reputation
  • A 25 hour day
  • Youth
  • Experience
  • Class
  • Justice
  • Perspective
  • Selflessness