In the past four years we have spent a year travelling around the world, returned to the UK and taken short trips to Seville and Italy, spent six months working on a music career (Simon), and then set off again 20 months ago to travel indefinitely. How did we manage to afford all this on below average UK salaries? We changed our mindset about stuff, and saved really really hard. We made sacrifices and prioritised travel and living the life we dreamed of.
Our friends, and fellow temporary Chiang Mai residents, Betsy and Warren Talbot have a similar story. They saved enough cash to fund a five year world trip (including a trip to Antarctica), although just one year into their travels they are hooked on the lifestyle and have decided to make it permanent. They have written a book about how they managed to do this. Dream Save Do outlines their simple, effective method to amass the cash you need to live the life you dream of. It may be that you want to travel the world, take time off to write a novel or start your own business.
We know Warren and Betsy’s method works because it is very similar to how we managed to save 75% of our income to travel. Here’s some of the key advice that we definitely agree with:
- Keep track of your spending. You can’t start spending less until you know exactly where your money is going.
- Create a budget for the month and stick to it. Review it every month and try to find new ways to save. We found that as time went on we found it easier to cut more things out. We even hate shopping now!
- As soon as you get paid send your savings to a savings account. Betsy and Warren call it your Vault – we agree that once the money goes in it doesn’t come out until you start spending on your dream.
- Keep inspired through the difficult savings days with Dream Porn! We never called it this before (love the phrase though!) but we did fill our house with materials to keep our eye on our goal. We actually had two world maps plus a globe, and many many guidebooks from the library.
- When you get tempted to spend ask yourself “Is this worth X days on the road?” (Or whatever your dream is). It really helps put things in perspective.
- Think of creative ways to socialise cheaply. I loved Betsy’s story about how she threw a reverse birthday party just before she left on her trip. Rather than accepting gifts, she chose some of her favourite items (like us, they were selling everything), labelled them with a price and the story behind it and invited her friends around to bid on them. It turned out to be one of her best birthdays ever and it must have been nice to know that her favourite clothes and jewellery were going to good homes.
Betsy and Warren have lots more tips on how you too can save the cash you need to live your dream. Their practical, step by step advice is given in a no-nonsense, slightly cheeky tone and their personalities shine through. Their personal story is very engaging and I loved how the book is interspersed with anecdotes on the problems and successes they had while saving. They deal with issues that are often not talked about like peer pressure to spend and how to get your friends and family on board with this major change.
If you feel like life is passing you by and you want to make a major change, but don’t have the money to do it, pick up a copy of Dream Save Do and let Warren and Betsy help you live your dream.
UPDATE: You can now buy a Kindle version of Dream Save Do.
Are you planning your next travel adventure? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip.