Funding your life on the road is one of the top questions out there. Often people say “you guys are lucky to be doing this ” but we believe lucky is not the right term. Luck is something that happens when you win lotto. For the majority of us being able to fund life on the road comes with alot of dedication and hard work in the background that doesn’t get seen in the everyday happy snaps or posts on facebook.
For us we spent several years dedicated to saving. Below are our tips to concentrate on to help you follow the dream.
~ This is a good time to mention that we are not accountants and don’t specialise in finances. However, we must be doing something right to be debt free and following our goals in life. So it’s from our perspective we bring the following information. ~
Start by having some form of tracking of your finances.
Break your expenses down into categories
Pick a easier categories first to boost your enthusiasm
Take a step back and see if the bigger picture will work for you
Use a budget tracker to start saving
When we started life on the road we created a budget tracker, Our budget tracking spreadsheet. There’s no reason why it can’t also be used before you travel.
It’s a great way to start watching where you spend your money on a regular basis. Tracking what your expenses are can quickly show you where your money is really going each day.
Sometimes you’ll be surprised in a month how much you spend on dining out for coffee as an example. It all adds up over a month and stands out when you see it listed on a budget tracker.
Breaking it into categories
I don’t encourage scrimping on every one of life’s pleasures to save money. You still need to be happy right ? If you’re like us we love a early morning coffee at a cafe watching the world go by. However you do need to take a step back and assess where your money is going to save effectively
In life you’ll generally have
Fixed bills – such as electricity – insurances – registrations – rent/mortgage …..
General expenses – Entertainment – eating out – fuel – social activities and more
Debt expenses – Such as credit cards and car loan repayments …….
Fixed bills takes a bit of a lifestyle change to reduce so leave that one until last. It is however the group that will see the biggest savings. At first though start with debt expenses as that’s more likely to see results quicker and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
First thing worth concentrating on is DEBT. A majority of people struggle with items like credit cards so it’s worthwhile paying them off fast. More so because it’s easy to over spend on them. If you always pay only least repayments because you don’t have the funds to pay it off properly you’ll always struggle with credit cards.
Credit cards aren’t bad things providing you spend on it one month and pay it ALL off before the next payment date. However as we all know credit cards come with interest rates which is giving away our travel money to the bank.
Grab your credit card statement and check how much you owe on it. Work out ways you can pay that off quickly. Perhaps this will involve
Having a garage sale of items you don’t use any more..
Picking up a weekend job
Taking a month off from doing something in the “general expenses” category.
Which ever way you go about it you’re definitely better off by reducing this one sooner rather than later. Same applies to all debt expenses such as car loans.
These are possibly easier ones to reduce but go hand in hand with both fixed and debit expenses. Although it’s a balancing act between still living life by going out for a coffee or having a BBQ with friends and saving for the goal of travelling, it’s a good opportunity to try and reduce each of your general expenses by at least %20 if possible.
It’s easy to go to a pub one night and spend $50, then think to yourself ok so I only spend $50 on alcohol generally. But looking through your budget tracker you soon notice you’ve done that scenario or similar 4 times that month and Boom…. there’s $200 accounted for already. When on Hayman it was common to go for *cough* work meetings a few times a day. this involved up to 4 cups of coffee a day easily. At $3.50 a cup that’s $14 a day or almost $100 a week.
Don’t forget about living though
Before we move on to fixed expenses lets also mention that life is too short to be sitting in a cold house rocking yourself to sleep. Trying to save money by not having a heater on in winter and selling your bed is not a good strategy. You need to have that comfortable balance point.
The general cost group can be a easy one to save on by changing habits, but unless you’re saving strategy through this category includes not spending $500 a week on the fanciest clothing to impress the jones family that never talk to you anyway then you’re likely to see good but not major financial gain quickly. To do that means taking a more drastic lifestyle change such as the below fixed expenses.
Always bare in mind that you have a goal to work towards but not to sacrifice all your pleasures in life to get there or you will lose part of your sanity.
Now we are at probably the harder one to reduce. This is because it comes with a lifestyle change or at least a few lifestyle tweaks.
Maybe you live in an expensive neighbourhood, perhaps consider downsizing to a cheaper area.
Sometimes moving state, towns or even country can benefit your fixed expenses in the long-term
Electricity bills to high ? look into cheaper suppliers, start turning switches off when not in use, use a fan not a AC unit.
Ring around for cheaper quotes on insurances, ask about discounts for bulk payments.
Do you need a car in your area ? or can you walk/ public transport it for a year ?
All those things and more can contribute to saving more towards your dreams. The time to start is now.