The key to achieving your dream
people are curious
about how we managed to save enough money to be able to quit our jobs
and embark on a multi-year cycling tour. Did we get rich
the dot.com boom years? Perhaps we inherited a large sum from
long lost relative? Maybe we got lucky playing the lottery?
If only it had been so simple. The truth is we were able to quit our jobs and become bike nomads because we lived simply and saved.
living below your means
Being a cheap-skate is no longer something shameful. Given the current economic situation, living below your means is suddenly in fashion. We've been living well below our means since we got married in 1997.
is a penny-pincher at heart so saving comes naturally to him.
other hand, was more like the average western consumer.
set off traveling in 1995, I spent almost everything I
earned on expensive clothes, a nice car,
trendy restaurants and the like. When I started traveling, a
change in my spending habits gradually took place.
discovered that cutting back on indulgences didn't meaning cutting
the enjoyment of life. Much to the contrary. I began to
each small pleasure much more intensely.
how to get started saving for your dream bicycle tour
You don't have to risk pneumonia by cutting the heat in the winter or resign yourself to a surviving on mac and cheese to save money. Here are some cost-cutting ideas that worked for us:
- Instead of buying food at upscale supermarkets where the vast selection of goodies is bound to tempt you into putting more into the cart than necessary, do your shopping at discount supermarkets such as Save-a-lot, Walmart (I know it's controversial), Grocery Outlet, Aldi or Lidl.
- Instead of furnishing your home with new Ikea sofas and beds, buy second-hand furniture--just as nice, a fraction of the cost.
- Instead of trying out new restaurants, spend time perfecting new recipes at home.
- Instead of investing in a new wardrobe each season, raid the local thrift shop. You can benefit from the wastefulness of others.
- Instead of riding around on a fancy new bike, spend time tuning up an old one. In the process you'll also become a first-class bike mechanic.
- Instead out forking out money for gas, commute to work by bicycle . You'll get in shape and arrive at the office feeling refreshed and full of energy.
- Instead of buying new books, check out reading material from local library or buy second-hand books at the thrift shop.
- Instead of buying on impulse, spend time comparison shopping to get the best price. Buying on-line can also save you loads of money.
- Instead of getting into debt, pay off your credit card balance at the end of each month.
Here are some things we didn't give up (and they didn't hinder us from saving money):
- A comfortable apartment in a nice neighborhood.
- Yearly holidays and weekend getaways.
- A membership to the local fitness center.
- Yoga classes.
- Eating well.
Most people are used to spending rather freely. If you suddenly start turning down restaurant invitations and focusing on free entertainment, friends and family are certain to start asking questions. Be open about your plans. If you have the support of those closest to you, saving will be all the much easier.
Once you start saving, be sure to get sound financial advice. Letting your money accumulate in an old-fashioned savings account probably isn't the fastest way to make it grow. And don't forget about retirement and having a cushion when you return from your cycling adventure. Do you really want to move back in with mom and dad at the end of your tour?
Finally, If you really want to set out on a bike tour, you will find a way to save money. We've met families on the road, recent graduates who've never worked full-time and retired people enjoying the freedom of travel. Take the steps needed to make your dreams come true. Start now.
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