Last Updated on May 16, 2019 by Chris and Lindsay
Need motivation to get going on your travel savings?
It is possible to jumpstart your travel savings by understanding a few simple principles most people misunderstand about money. We didn’t start our dream of traveling with a whole lot of money in the bank. In fact at one point we lost everything and had to start from scratch!
But with a few steps and a handful of financial strategies we funded our dream to travel full time. The first thing we had to do was to change the way we thought about money. We also had to develop a framework (plan) by which we would learn to make the best possible choices about how to make or spend our money. Finally we had to follow through with practical day-to-day activities that brought us closer and closer to our goal.
They say that money can’t buy you happiness. But for us, it does – because happiness for us is the chance to spend time out on the road!
THE FIRST STEP: THINK DIFFERENTLY
In order to change the way you live you have to change the way you think. This applies to how you look at your travel savings as well as other areas of your life.
If you do things the way they’ve always been done then you should not expect different results. For instance, if you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or completely wiped out when your vehicle breaks down or you have an emergency medical situation, then you’ll start to think there is no way you will ever get ahead. And if you think that way, then it is true – you will never get ahead.
But if you are really motivated to break these financial cycles in your life, then you can use these moments to refine a new way of thinking.
MONEY IS A TOOL
You have to see money as a tool to get you from Point A to Point B. That could be to have enough in the bank to be able to go out to eat from time to time without worrying about the bill. Or it could be to have enough savings to take a vacation once or twice a year. It might be keeping a certain amount in your travel savings for your next trip.
Life is intimately personal – so only you can decide what is important enough in your life to change the way you think about money.
Changing the way you think about money is no different than making many other lifestyle changes – such as dieting or exercise. You are only going to succeed if you are motivated enough to change the way you think.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
Instead of being a victim in life, you should start to see that you are in control of most, if not all, of the decisions you make when it comes to your money.
You can choose to:
- not spend more than you earn.
- have certain things, or to go without.
- incur debt, or to build your savings.
- work more, or less, or to change jobs if you decide.
- downsize your life and reduce your spending.
You can choose to afford the things you desire to have in life – including your travel dream. If you think about money differently and you are committed enough to achieving them, then with the right framework in place you can start to build momentum toward achieving your travel savings goal.
THE SECOND STEP: IMPLEMENT FRAMEWORK
Benjamin Franklin said that most people don’t plan to fail, they simply fail to plan. If you’re one of those people who don’t really have a financial plan, then it’s likely you probably need to go back to Step 1.
Even people who come into having “enough” money – through circumstance or occupation – can have problems keeping it. There is story after story of lottery winners and professional athletes who have gone broke after making millions!
But if you’re committed to your dream and you’re willing to change the way you think about money, then it’s time to develop a plan to get you there.
We had a pretty simple goal at first: save as much money as possible for as long as possible and don’t let financial setbacks take our eyes off that goal.
However the more we researched and planned our dream trip, the more defined our savings goal became. The more defined our savings goal became, the more we had to hunker down in our daily financial decisions. Once we determined realistic goals for ourselves within our framework all we have to do was to save, save save!
THE THIRD STEP: SAVE!
The framework we put in place has helped us make financial decisions that reflect a deep commitment to heading out and staying on the road as long as possible. We made saving for travel a priority and applied that mindset to everything we did when it came to money.
We followed Fundamental and Practical strategies when it came to making daily financial decisions. At first we were tempted to make the same decisions we always made. But as we started to follow some of the strategies and see some success we embraced the changes. We knew we had to make changes in order to reach our goals. Seeing that change add up (literally!) inspired us to continue.
NOTE: These little nuggets come from personal trial and error, a touch of formal financial education and a little research to firm things up. My posts do not constitute official “financial advice” nor do they absolve you from determining whether they fit your personal financial situation and goals. There are plenty of “official” people who can work with you in your specific financial situations but this should be a pretty decent starting point to formulating your plan!