Two part series I’m posting today and tomorrow explaining a little about travel, upcoming plans and how wise spending comes into play.
I enjoy traveling. Now, I hate flying but that’s another story. I like the research, seeing new places, hearing new accents, trying local cuisine and reliving the memories of going to a new city.
The last time I went outside of the US was when I was 15 and 16 and took 2 trips to Mexico on a church mission. While it was rewarding my trip consisted of a strict schedule, sleeping in a tent and playing with kids.
Not exactly a vacation though I’m glad I went.
Since then a lot has changed, you now need a passcard to travel internationally something I’ve never bothered to get.
See, in college I always planned on a semester (or two) overseas. That didn’t exactly pan out. And I worked during winter and summer holidays, spent spring break in Lynchburg (exciting, right?) and generally did what I could to keep college costs low – including working hard for scholarships.
After college I moved back to California and immediately went to work. Shortly thereafter I moved to my current town to care for my grandparents. It’s been nearly 4 years now.
At this juncture in my life I want to travel. I know it’s the easiest time to pick up and go with just two dogs that will need watching. My bills are on auto pay, the house has a kick-ass alarm system and hours are flexible at work.
But what about the cost? you ask (and you always ask).
About 4 months ago now I completed a settlement from a May 2008 car accident. The accident left me in significant pain, requires bi-monthly visits to a chiropractor and has forced me to adapt the way I drive, sleep, clean, exercise, work – just about everything.
After the settlement hit my account, I promised not to blow the money on something stupid or spend it without thinking. It’s been sitting in savings earning interest ever since. The few things I spent money on after the settlement have been worth every penny (bookshelves and a camera).
I did end up having to pay back my insurance company but not the $5,000 they documented. Through negotiation I was able to save $1,100 on what I owed.
But right now I have 3 months worth of expenses in an Emergency Fund earning interest. I’m staying within my monthly budget that includes my reduced income. I’m working several part-time jobs and have plans to pay off the rest of my student loans this year.
I also have no consumer debt. By managing my money in college and in the past 4 years I am not paying for any purchases from that time. My car is paid off, the things I have I own free and clear. My mortgage is current and while we are looking at some maintenance, the house is in good repair.
On top of the 3 month EF I have the entire amount I estimate it will cost to travel in savings, including estimated lost wages since I have no vacation time to use. Which means I can pay cash.
I’ve just recently come to the conclusion that I will go, I will spend the money no matter how much it hurts and I will enjoy myself.
How did I come to this conclusion? Check in tomorrow for more. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts.