The solution to living and travelling as a nomad isn’t as simple as saving a certain amount of money before you depart. You need to seriously examine the way you live currently. If you are terrible at managing your money and have no idea how much you spend each month, you will never be able to travel as a nomad for an extended period of time. Until you are disciplined and organised enough to set a budget and stick with it, you won’t be ready to quit your job and travel. That’s the honest truth.
Money matters: set a budget, change your attitude.
Setting a budget and adhering to it are the most important factors for anyone considering nomadic travel. First, you need to know exactly how much you earn and how much you spend each month, not just a ballpark estimation.
Next, you will need to reduce your spending. The purpose of reducing your spending is so you can save as much money as you can so you’ll have a decent amount of money saved before you begin travelling full-time.
Can you reduce the amount you spend?
Of course you can. If you don’t think you can, you need to completely change your attitude when it comes to spending. Saving money needs to be your #1 priority from the moment you decide to give this lifestyle a shot. All other expenses are secondary to this goal.
Stop eating out and quit eating processed foods. Quit drinking coffee and alcohol. Cancel all monthly memberships, like Netflix and the gym. Walk, carpool, or take public transit instead of paying for gas for your own car. (Sell your car eventually.) Cancel your phone contract if you won’t incur a penalty. The amount of money you have isn’t as important as how you spend it. Stop buying stuff you don’t need!
In addition to reducing your spending, increase the amount you earn.
Find another job (full or part-time, whatever you can manage) and/or sell all of your belongings. If you live alone or have spare rooms, get a flatmate or rent out a room or two. Earn extra cash any way you can and save it all.
If the thought of working a 2nd job just so you can save extra money scares you, then maybe you’re not ready to commit to working towards the goal of living as a nomad full-time. You will need to make sacrifices before and after you depart as a nomad. Life will be uncomfortable and not what you expect; you will need to work hard!
Similarly, don’t continue to eat out, drink alcohol, go clothes shopping, etc., and in the same breath complain that you can’t save enough money because you and only you are the only person standing in the way of your goal. Clearly, you aren’t ready to commit to this lifestyle since you’d rather self-sabotage your efforts!
Create a budget and stick to it.
Once you know how much you spend and how much you can reasonably save each month, sort out a budget. A budget is simply a spending plan that helps you spend and save with intention. Every month, deposit the pre-determined amount of money into your savings account as soon as you get paid. Only spend if your budget allows for it. Stick to your budget for as long as you can.
You might want or need to save money for a year or more before buying your one-way ticket. It all depends on your financial situation before you made the decision to work toward a nomadic lifestyle.
Some people will whine that they can’t save money or stick to a budget because they have bills to pay, but I guarantee they could reduce or eliminate some (if not all) of their expenses if they really tried. Most of these expenses are probably for services and stuff they don’t need in the first place. If you are serious about living as a nomad, you will do everything in your power to make that a reality. Everything!
Not having money to travel is just an excuse. To quote my boyfriend: If you want something you find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse. Make travelling your priority and change the way you live to reflect it. Reducing your spending and increasing the amount you save each month will set you up for success down the road. Remember that the amount of money you have isn’t as important as how you spend it. Create a budget and stick to it. Managing your money effectively is the only way to succeed as a nomad.
Tomorrow I will explain how to plan for the future and the importance of doing research before you start travelling. That should wrap up this series nicely!
For more information, please read:
- The secret to living as a nomad: part 1.
- How to quit your job and travel 24/7.
- Travel or your life is wasted.