Social media. Man. It’s a powerful tool. There are so many people who believe it has ruined our children, that it has ruined us. I don’t believe that. I believe it can negatively effect impressionable minds. I also believe it can be an incredibly powerful tool that can open us up to a world of opportunity … literally … you have access to things all over the world that you never would have had prior to the internet, right at your finger tips.
I can also see how social media can pull a person into a vortex of comparison. We follow people who seem to have more and do more. We all have those friends that seem to be traveling all the time to the most beautiful, exotic places. Their lives seem out of touch, almost like they aren’t living a “normal” life like the rest of us.
I mean, sure, there will always be someone who has more money than you, whether it be because he worked his butt off in a high paying career or because he is a trust fund baby.
However, this is what I want you to get in your head –> That life of travel shouldn’t seem so far out of reach to you. It’s possible. For you. For me. And for your aunt Mary.
My husband and I have dubbed 2017 the year of travel. Upon sharing our upcoming trips with those close to us we had quite a few people react with “I wish I had the money to travel as much as you,” or “must be nice to travel.”
Well friends, let me tell you a bit of a secret.
My husband is not a trust fund baby. Nor am I. Neither of us make a ton of money. These things do not contribute to our travels.
Let me break it down for you:
- The reason why we get to travel is because we prioritize it.
- The reason we get to travel is because we are smart about planning our trips, efficiently and responsibly.
- The reason we get to travel is because we spend less and save more.
- The reason we get to travel is because we live minimally, putting our money where it matters.
I’m not going to sit here and say they travel is possible for every single person because, yes, there is money involved. What I will say is that is probably closer to your grasp than you think.
I’m going to be sharing some of my top tips for traveling on a budget in an upcoming post, but for now I’ll share the basics of why we are able to travel. It’s not always easy, but it is possible!
First things first.
We prioritize travel.
Simply put. If I prioritized eating an all organic diet, my focus and energy would go towards making that lifestyle affordable. Energy flows where your attention goes. Prioritize travel and you will consciously and subconsciously make changes in your day-to-day that will move you towards your travel goals.
We are smart about planning.
Easy is purchasing the first plane ticket you come across, booking the nicest hotel you can find, and eating at the most tourists-friendly restaurants.
Smart is searching for a deal. Researching the best days/seasons to visit a certain destination. Smart is speaking with locals about their favorite restaurants, not relying on tourists traps.
Yes, these things take more effort, but it can make the difference between an expensive trip and an affordable one.
*Stay tuned as I will be sharing my favorite tips for traveling on a budget soon!
We spend less and save more (aka we budget.)
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been called cheap. My response? If cheap means I’m not drowning in debt, I’ll take it!
We have always chosen to live below our means. When my husband was in the Marine Corps earning a Sergeant’s salary, we were living on a Lance Corporal’s salary (two ranks below.) When he made extra money on deployments that money immediately went to savings. Taxes come in and we pay some bills, but the majority goes into savings. A small portion of money is sent directly to our savings account every single time I swipe my debit card. These are all choices to save rather than spend.
There are two apps I keep on my phone to manage our money and budget. The first being our bank’s app. The second is a free money managing app called Mint. Not sponsored, I just genuinely love it.
Mint makes budgeting simple. You can enter all of your bank accounts into one app so you always have a view of your finances in one spot. The app encourages your to set budgets for different aspects of your life and helps you keep track of those budgets.
My budgets include:
- Coffee Shops
- Sports/Activities for the Children
- Home Improvement
You can set a budget for each category and if you go over budget Mint will send you a notification. At the end of every month the app will send you an email with a pie chart giving you a visualization of where you are spending your money so it is easy for you to make adjustments.
Additional features include, bill pay directly from the app, notifications of uncategorized transactions, fast approaching budgets, and financial advice.
We live minimally.
Minimalism applies to every aspect of my life, travel being no exception. Basically it comes down to this –> if something does not bring your joy or prove to be valuable, do without it. The less you have, the more time, money, and energy you free up to put towards your travels.
When you stop focusing on buying the newest or the greatest, filling up every corner of your home, or keeping up with the trends in fashion you will free up money that can go directly into your travel savings.
So the bottom line is this:
We are able to travel because we make it a priority and our actions reflect that. It’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s the cold hard truth. The good news is, we aren’t special. We are no different than you. My husband and I are just two young adults who crave experiences and want our children to be open to meeting new people, doing new things, and traveling to new places.
This is the WHY, but don’t worry, stay tuned and I will hit you with the HOW.
Be on the lookout, yea?