When we find ourselves telling people what we do and how we have been travelling for almost two years, more and more often people cannot help but ask how we manage from a financial point of view, especially considering we quit our full-time jobs to dedicate ourselves to a full time traveling lifestyle. I understand perfectly people’s curiosity about this subject because I was wondering exactly the same thing myself before we started travelling.
I guess everyone has a different way and method to enable themselves to leave everything and finally make the BIG step of booking a one way ticket without any regret and with only one thing on their mind – travelling!
I wish I could say that we won the lottery (if only we played!), but our answer is always the same and it cannot be any different; having some consistent savings ready to be invested in our new nomadic life was the way for us to make this happen and that it’s still contributing now to keep us going 24 months down the line. Without our savings we wouldn’t have been able to travel in the first place, at least not for such long period of time and not in the same way. But how did we manage to save a consistent sum of money without disrupting our day-to-day life?
There still was the rent to be paid, the various bills to take care of and the various daily expenses we couldn’t avoid, but we needed to make some changes to our routines that enabled us to save money, so we did!
Downgrading Our Accommodation
It was lovely living in a two floor double bedroom house with a nice garden both front and back in a nice, quiet neighborhood, but it was way too expensive and it didn’t leave us much money to save at the end of the month after the rent had been paid. We asked ourselves if we really needed so much space, a garden and such a comfortable home. Surely we could have managed with something smaller and cheaper.
We moved into a cozy one bedroom flat with no extras that was much cheaper, though by the time it came for us to leave it, I ended up loving it more than the previous house. We sacrificed extra space and comfort to start building our savings so that we could make our dream of traveling come true.
Home Cooking All the Way
We didn’t eat at out at restaurants or order takeaways that much already, but we made those occasional times disappear completely. I’m not sure how expensive dining out is where you live, but in the UK if you want to have a good quality meal in a nice restaurant – not a fast-food or high street chain of restaurants – it can become an expensive business.
We didn’t mind giving up restaurant gourmet meals, we went crazy with home cooking instead, definitely a cheaper way to keep our tummies full and happy (almost every time), to learn new recipes, to refine our cooking skills, and to of course help build up our travel savings.
The Bike Became My New Friend
Our new cozy flat was right in the middle of town just a minute away from Dale’s workplace, but I still had a long way to get to my office job at that time. I didn’t have a car and it wasn’t the best time to buy one considering we wanted to save money, buses can be expensive in the long term if you have to take them every day so I started to cycle to work. Everybody knows how unpredictable English weather can be, which meant for me cycling in all kinds of conditions, no matter if it rained or if it was icy cold I still needed to get to work or back home. Cycling definitely was good for my personal health too, but most of the time it wasn’t very pleasant and I have to admit I hated it when I ended up being soaked to the bone by the time I got to work, but it was a sacrifice that had to be made for the sake of saving.
More House Parties
We didn’t go out that much either but we still wanted to see our friends and have fun. We started to have them come to our place more often or going to theirs, at the end of the day it was the company that mattered most to us and not the location. We didn’t need to go to trendy and overpriced clubs to see our friends and enjoy ourselves. We aren’t party animals either, so the choice to modify our social life a touch didn’t bother us, especially as it was for the sake of saving to go traveling.
Do We Really Need This?
I’ve never been a big shopping person, Dale definitely was more than me. I always bought things that I thought were necessary or that I particularly liked, but since we decided to save to be able to afford long-term travelling, I realized that most of the things we were buying weren’t necessary and that we could easily do without them. Plus with the perspective of having to leave at some point, we were going to get rid of our possessions anyway so what was the point to keep shopping for more stuff? We simply stopped buying anything unless it was really necessary, like our backpacks for instance.
Skype Is Such a Smart Invention
One of our bigger expenses was mobile costs, especially with me calling abroad sometimes to talk with my family and friends in Italy. We started to use Skype for abroad phone calls and even between our friends in the UK, in this way we kept our cost incredibly low without having to sacrifice talking with our loved ones.
I guess like everybody else, we liked to have our monthly subscriptions for the things we enjoyed which all together added up to a substantial amount of money that left our bank accounts every month. For instance we didn’t mind paying the monthly fee for the film rental service we used or for Spotify to listen to great music. Soon we realized we could have just gone to the local library to rent DVDs and CDs for free instead, or we could easily borrow plenty from our friends. It was a little painful not having the comfort to have such services right at home whilst sitting on the sofa, but again we did it for the sake of saving.
The Bottom Line
By adjusting our lifestyle a little bit, making some sacrifices and giving up a few things we were used to having and almost took for granted, we managed to save more money in a period of over a year than we realised was possible. We could have kept saving and working for a little bit longer, but we came to the conclusion that it was time to go, to make that first big step because there would had never be enough money, we could always use more. No matter if what we had saved by that point was going to be too little, it was the right time for us.
It wasn’t easy to make some of the these changes – it could have it’s frustrations at times – but we would do it all over again considering where these savings have taken us over almost two years, and what we have been able to achieve and to do with them is not less than extraordinary. Everyone has different priorities in life, we worked on ours to follow a dream and we are so glad we didn’t give up and we are now living that dream.