March 04, 2014

Live Within Your Means & Travel Beyond Your Dreams

Before you begin to feverishly list all the places you want to visit in your lifetime, you need to put your financial house in order. I know that doesn't sound very glamorous, but without a solid grip on your finances, you'll never leave home!

This blog focuses primarily on those of us with limited disposable income -- not dirt floor poor, but not rolling in the Ritz either.  If after paying rent, utilities, groceries, gas, debt, and other monthly expenses, you're left with between $100 and $300 per month (or even better, per paycheck!), then you fall in my target audience.  If you have more remaining than that, you'll reach optimum budget goals faster; if less, just remember that slow and steady wins the race!

The first step for those of us without a lot of disposable income is to realize that traveling is a lifestyle commitment.  That is, every single day you're not traveling, you must commit yourself to living frugally.  In other words: live within your means so you can travel beyond your dreams!  You must consciously structure your every day life to better accommodate your travel goals. 

For some, living large for two to four-weeks of glorious vacation travels per year and numerous weekend trips closer to home is not worth living on a "shoe-string budget" the rest of the year.  If that's true for you, then maybe you need to rethink your traveling goals.  As for me, I would rather forego weekly dinners out, drinks at the bar every weekend, going to movies, or buying new clothes every day, and instead exchange it for fabulous trips at home and abroad.  Preparing a steak dinner at home is much more cost efficient (and healthier!) than going to a restaurant; sipping mimosas at a friend's house is more enjoyable (and easier on my wallet!) than going downtown; waiting to watch a movie on Netflix is preferable to spending a fortune at the theater.  My life is just as fulfilling now - and in some ways, even more so - than it was when I was constantly spending my money on those entertainment venues.  Every time I save money by not doing those things, I'm envisioning buying a wonderful dinner in Prague or enjoying gelato by the Trevi Fountain in Rome.  If you make the commitment to trim down your "luxury" expenditures in every day life, you'll find that you have more money to put aside for traveling!

©Thrifty Gypsy
I don't know about you, but seeing the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn in Prague, Czech Republic, on a crisp September night (shown above) is more than worth the "sacrifice" of not buying a second pair of black peep-toes!

Establishing a working budget is good sense for everyone, but it's absolutely essential for travel planning.  Set reasonable savings goals, eliminate waste, do more with less, and remember that the best memories you can buy come with plane tickets and a destination!

~ Just a Thrifty Gypsy

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