One thing I rarely skimp on is travel. During a normal year, you will find me exploring about a dozen countries, some I know, some new ones, and even after years of doing that, I still LOVE the novelty, or going back to a place I have visited in the past. It is like going home, as you are familiar with the transit system, the kind of food you want to order, and where to get it from, but at the same time, it is a whole different universe.
Travel has always been a great pleasure of mine, so it has never been too hard to sacrifice other lines in my budget so I could afford to travel more. I rarely eat out, when my friends want to get together, I usually suggest a hike, or going for a drink, and other activities that don’t cost an arm an a leg.
Because even if you go out once in a while, amounts add up. Look at that infographic created by Oliver’s Travels. It is pretty eye opening, especially if you are the kind to complain that you never have enough money to go on holiday. If you are mindful with your money, you CAN afford certain luxury. Of course, you won’t be dining on Champagne and oysters in a restaurant every single day, but if you can forego seven Starbucks lattes, bam! you can afford one such dinner.
Brown bag your lunch to work for three weeks and skip the bland supermarket meal deals, and you can spend the £45 you just saved on a caviar meal!
Oftentimes, people don’t really see that every time you spend on something, you are making a trade. You are trading the time it took you to work and save that money, in order to acquire such and such items. So if you realize it takes a whole day of work every month to support your coffee habit, will you see your latte differently?
And even when you make such calculations, you often take your gross hourly rate, which is wrong. “I make £15 an hour, so spending £15 equals to working for an hour for it” is not how it goes. When you make £15, some is taken for National Insurance and contributions, then you pay 20% taxes (if you are in the 20% band), then you should also deduct work related expenses like commuting, dressing up for work, lunches out and day care. We are probably under £10 by now. And your 8 hour day is usually more like a 10 hour day if you account for commuting and having to stay around work during lunch. So you made more like £80 for 10 hours of your life, i.e. £8 per hour. Ouch. Let’s make that money count!
I would much rather have a once in a lifetime experience than mindlessly spend on stuff I won’t remember six months from now. Three Domino’s pizzas? That’s a beautiful tea time at The Ritz. Four trips to your hairdresser could amount to a meal in the world’s most expensive restaurant!
Next time you think you can’t afford those things, look at your spending and add up these little expenses. If you really want something, you just have to save for it to make it happen!