The thing about money
Something has been happening lately- ever since ‘news’ of my big trip leaked out, people have been asking me how I saved up for it. (They obviously know I’m not rich). To me there’s really no big mystery- loads of how-to blog posts and articles on this subject have already been published, and by people who’ve been to more countries than I have. I hate reproducing stuff so I’ve always stayed away from such posts.
But those of you who know me have been asking what I did (as opposed to some stranger living halfway across the world), and still do, to save money. Serious globetrotters who are already experts in what they do (not being sarcastic here, you guys know who you are) will have no use for my tips, but to those who aspire to travel more often, this is how I do it.
1-Settle your debts
This may sound obvious, but that’s what it really is. If you want to save money, you need to stop owing people money. Those who know me will know that I still live with my parents (I’m boring like that) and that I don’t own a house or apartment or anything. I’ve also settled my car loan, so apart from my credit card bill, I don’t owe anyone anything. Yes, I have no property to my name, but if I did, I wouldn’t be able to travel as much I do.
2- Keep it simple
I’ve only had one car in my 14 years of work which is very unusual in Asia, where people tend to upgrade to a more expensive car every few years. Not only that, I bought my car in July 2003 and I’m still driving the same old one. This means that when I was a lawyer from 1998-2003, I relied on taxis and the kindness of my friends to go to court and back home. Because I had more disposable income compared to my colleagues who drove, I was able to travel more often than they.
3-Cut down on the shopping
I don’t shop very often; this is terribly embarrassing but the last time I bought a pair of shoes was a year ago and the last time I shopped for clothes was in April (I can hear fashionistas all over the world pulling their hair out and shrieking in horror. But then again, they probably don’t read me). If I have one weakness, it’s for designer bags but even though I’ve got quite a collection, I haven’t bought any since June 2011. And that, trust me, is a very good thing.
Ask any person who travels a lot and they’re likely to say the same things and add a few of their own tips like cutting down on expensive meals and setting aside a travel fund, which I also encourage. I don’t see what I do as depriving myself of the good stuff. In the grand scheme of things, wearing the latest styles and driving the latest car don’t do much for me. I’m not saying that my way of doing things is right- if you enjoy indulging in the finer things in life, go ahead. Those things just don’t happen to be important to me.
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