Big Dreams, Small Wallet: Planning and Financing the Trip of a Lifetime…On a Budget. PART V

KIDS

PART V: SAVING FOR YOUR TRAVELS

You have a goal, now is the time to start saving. Keep photos of your destination around your office and home to keep you motivated. Check out books and movies documenting the place you want to go. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE!

I recommend opening up a savings account that you use ONLY for your travel stache. Do not look at it everyday and do not allow yourself a debit card to access it, WHILE you are saving. Remove all temptation to draw from your pot.

SO, are you a good saver? Maybe you make enough or are frugal enough that you are already staching away enough per month to easily get you to your goal. Great!

However, you might have to find ways to cut back or make extra money so you can make it by your departure date. Here are some ideas:

Cut cable: Cable is not essential. It is expensive and it sucks up your time that you could be learning about the places you will go. Savings will be $50-150 per month!

Cook at home: Make eating out a special event again. Only do it once or twice a month. Buy in bulk. Don’t be afraid of Costco or your local co-op. Pack your lunches. Set a food budget and have fun creating meals to stay within it. We have cut our food budget by $500-1000 per month by not eating out so much. Amazing!

Use the library: Books are expensive. You can even get a lot of books for your E Readers through your library these days. Check out these sites to find library books to check out:

AMAZON.COM

OVERDRIVE SOFTWARE

Consider downsizing your car: You do not want to have to pay a car payment when you are traveling. Sell it and get something more affordable when you come back. If you want to keep your car, get the cheapest insurance you can while you are gone, or drop the insurance all together.

Rent out Extra Space: If you have an extra room in your home, or apartment, rent it out! It is temporary and will bring in a lot more money for your travels. If you have a shed or garage, offer to rent it out to someone to park their car or store their gear.

Cell phones: There are a lot of cheap prepaid phone plans now. Look into them. T-Mobile and Straight Talk are good places to start.

If you don’t want to part with your smart phone plan (I didn’t), put your plan on hold while you are gone. We paid $10.00/month through AT&T to keep our numbers and plans. We could not use our phones abroad but it did not matter. We could use Skype to call our friends and family by using our iPhones’ wireless features. Just download the Skype app. Load some money onto it and call anyone wherever you can find a wireless connection. You can also use your phone as a mini-computer with wireless. Perfect for researching your next destination.

There are tons of personal finance and frugality blogs out there that will have a million more ways to save money. Start with Mr. Money Mustache.

In addition to saving money, do everything you can to MAKE MORE MONEY.

Sell, sell, sell: Once you leave and see how little you need to live, you will WANT to pare down your belongings. Sell books, CDs and DVDs. Sell any expensive clothes, shoes or bags you have. Sell jewelry. Sell electronics. Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon are your friends. Every dollar adds up and will get you one step closer to your vacation.

Get a temp job: Look for seasonal jobs or weekend jobs you can do before you leave. I found a three month part-time temporary job in an office that ended right before I wanted to leave for my trip. I was willing to put in the extra effort for that short time because I knew I had five months of leisure to look forward too. A good trade off I think!

Consider working while you travel: It is possible to find jobs while you are traveling. Maybe you could teach English. Maybe you have skills that could land you a job abroad. Engineering? Nursing? Computers? It could extend your trip or allow you to stay indefinitely!

TOMORROW’S POST…

PART VI: STAYING MOTIVATED AND PACKING

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