Beware this is a dry (less visual) post compared to my previous topics but I honestly get this question A LOT and it needs explaining!
An interesting conversation with my mom the other day sparked an idea for a blog post. She was humming and hawing over whether or not to buy a new phone (trust me she needs one) and she got to talking about the gopro7 I had just bought and it’s features.
All of a sudden she says “how in the world do you afford to travel so much and buy fancy cameras and other stuff?”
Well, ma that’s a damn good question, so here’s your answer.
- I hustle and grind hard… real fucking hard.
- I decided what I want in life and prioritized it
- I’m cheap and I’m thrifty
- I do my research
1) My income is as follows:
I currently hold down a 40/hr a week job as a nanny for two brilliant children. I make an average salary for someone in this field with five years of professional experience. In my spare time, I pick up extra 10 hour shifts bringing my total up to 50 hours/week. I make extra cash by babysitting (1-2x a week) for three different families.
I adopted a minimalistic lifestyle and I sold, traded or gave away 80% of the things I owned.
I pick up odd manual labor jobs. I’m saving up to start an investment portfolio so I can make my money work harder for me (and also to save my butt during retirement).
This is what my month would look like: (light green is working hours scheduled).
2) After returning from a year abroad living in Ireland end exploring Europe I had a moment of serious personal growth and soul searching.
I rediscovered that I absolutely love traveling, and I love to pole dance. So I decided I needed to make a commitment to myself to work and strive to actively keep doing these things. It’s honestly a daily struggle to remind myself what I think is worth putting time, energy and money into but It’s amazing how much you’re willing to give up when you realize what your true priorities are!
Suddenly I didn’t mind buying second hand again, not having coffee every day, not using food delivery apps or taking Uber. I have a strict budget that divides my income into 5 categories (and respective subcategories in order of priority): Bills, Travel, Investing, Life and Emergency. I had to let go and make peace with the notion that I would own a home before I’m 35.
3) I rarely eat out I don’t buy in to fast fashion, I buy only as I need and 90% of it is used.
I take public transit everywhere. I’ve owned the same winter boots for 4 years and I’ve had the same jacket for 5.
I look for deals on Groupon for fun things to do if I need to go out with friends or on a date. I have a huge list of free (and fun) things to do that can occupy my time and save me money. I shop at budget grocery stores and bulk stores, I don’t own a car, and I make sure what I spend my money on is worth it. Websites like Kijiji, Craigslist where people can list items they want to sell are my go to! Bunz is a great community as well! I also look for clothing swaps or free markets in my city! Anything can be sourced from someone else with the right amount of planning and time
When I travel I make a strict budget and look for cheap or free things to do there as well. I fly budget airlines and rarely take a checked bag.
Couchsurfing is my best friend. Hostels are my mistress.
4) When I buy something, I put hours and hours of research into it! I wait and see if I can get it second hand and only buy it new as a last resort! When I book flights I use websites like Hopper, Secret Flying, YYZ deals (Toronto only) and Skyscanner to find the cheapest deals, when to buy and when to book.
I look for countries where my dollar (Canadian) is worth more, to get more bang for my buck… if I travel to an expensive country it was a total accident!
I rarely stay in Airbnb and hotels and when I do I search for an affordable one and the same goes for hostels. I eat at local restaurants (no chains) and often grocery shop and cook in the hostel, or simply eat fruits and veggies! I pick a few big ticket activities I want to do and do some serious googling into some cheaper or free activities as well! And forget about Ubers, local flights or expensive busses! It’s tuk-tuks and chicken buses for me!
This is not a list to say this is what you HAVE to do in order to travel a ton without blowing the bank, this is just a list of the things that I personally do that work for my lifestyle. Even adopting one or two of these habits can truly save you BIG bucks.
So what are you waiting for? Try it!