Monday, while I was on my way to Wichita to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert speak, she serendipitously posted an intriguing article on her Facebook page. Her post was inspired by this meme:
Liz did her own research and discovered the $600-$750 a month was high. But she did find that Americans spend an average of $7.50 a day eating out, mostly on lunch. By packing a lunch or eating at home every day, at an average of $2 a day, one can save $5.50 a day. That’s $160 a month and $2,007.50 a year…more than enough to buy an international plane ticket to anywhere.
Liz pointed out that dropping $4 every day into a travel fund, rather than spending it on a Starbucks coffee, would result in $1,460 in a year, enough to buy a ticket as well. Giving up one luxury item a day could launch a travel fund.
I was captivated. The number one reason people don’t travel is because they don’t feel like they have the money to do so. That’s been my main reason as well. The truth is, I’m choosing to spend my money on other things. I’m not talking about the necessities. I’m talking about discretionary income. I have a busy schedule that doesn’t always conform to a 9-5 workday. I eat lunch and dinner at odd times. I most often grab takeout or fast food on the way home. At least once a day I pick up a large unsweetened ice tea.
By choosing to eat at home, cook more, drag out the crockpot so dinner cooks while I’m out, I can put money saved toward something I’d love to do more of…travel. I can also brew tea at home and carry it with me in a travel mug. Or better yet, drink water. It’s about shifting my awareness and choice. I’m allowing convenience and immediate desire to eat up extra cash, rather than putting it toward a larger desire.
Tonight I created a Travel Money Jar and seeded it with two $5 bills and a handful of change. It was a full day. I ate two meals. I threw the money I would have spent on meal number three into the jar. Over the weekend I’ll make a grocery run and stock up on supplies so that I can eat at home most of the time. I’ll still enjoy a meal out occasionally but it will be more of a treat rather than a daily occurrence.
Rather than think I can’t afford to travel, I choose to makes changes that free up the funds to do just that. Travel. See the world. Explore. Italy, England, Ireland, New Zealand and my beloved Scotland, here I come.