6 Things Travel Can Teach You About Personal Finances
Financial responsibility has always been a topic in my household growing up. As a child, I have always saved money that I earned. Fortunately, I took this same mentality into my adulthood.
Can I keep it real for a second? While working in Corporate America, there was a point in my life where I did not really consider my finances. With the salary that I was making, my bills were covered, my student loans paid off (praises to the Most High!), and I was contributing to my savings and financial investment accounts automatically.
Whatever was left, I was BMF (read: blowing money fast; thanks, Rick Ross!), by constantly eating out, going out with my friends, taking weekend trips every weekend, and buying those really cute shoes and other pieces of clothing that I saw and bought on the spot.
After leaving my life in corporate America, I had to give that up and quickly change my mentality as it pertains to finances.
While I always preach that travel is inexpensive, it still requires money to travel.
Travel can teach you 6 essential things about your personal finances.
+ Wants vs Necessities
This one is a no-brainer, right? It is always important to ask yourself whether something that you want to purchase is a need versus a necessity. Travel has a way to really put things into perspective. Those $200 black riding boots (that you already have a similar pair) is also a roundtrip flight to somewhere in South America if you can catch a good deal! Or $200 that could go towards paying off your travel credit card!
+ Stop Spending Money on Things You Already Have
When I packed up my apartment after quitting my corporate job, I realized I had lots of duplicate items. LOTS. I had about of the same color lipsticks (expensive brands too!), several pair of the same looking black heels, and other items that were duplicates of things I already owned. This goes back to that compulsive urge, before you purchased anything, double check to make sure that you do not own the same or similar!
+ Take Advantage of What is $Free.99
I love free sh**. I mean, who doesn’t? And just because things are free does not always mean that they are cheap. There is a post here on how to see a country for free.
Travel teaches you about valuing your money. For example, why spend the extra money on going to a museum or hiring an expensive tour guide, when you can do a free walking tour and tip the guide at the end or take advantage of free museum days. Use that money towards a culinary experience or a night out on the town! When it comes to travel, many times the free “stuff” gives you a completely new and authentic experience that the paid, touristy stuff.
+ The Little Things Add Up
It is not the huge purchase like your flight, or hotel room that puts a dint in your bank account – this is the small purchases. When you are spending between $3- $6 on coffee a day, at least, three times a week, really start to add up, or getting cash from any ATM and accruing fees. While $3 may not seem like a big deal, overtime those little costs really begin to add up! Travel teaches you how to be sensible and find other resources, and how to prioritize.
+ Stop Being Lazy – RESEARCH!
Doing a few simple searches can save you a lot of money and time, no matter what you are doing. Google is your Bestie! You can often find free alternatives to expensive activities just by looking online. Reading reviews of hostels, activities, and restaurants online can help you determine whether they are worth the money you are spending.
Being an informed consumer will ultimately help you grow your finances and your personal wealth by not spending frivolously!
+ Stay Prepared
Travel can teach you to not be in a position where you are “face down, a** up”. Take it how you want it, but you never want to be in a position where your funds are so low that you cannot bounce back if you happen to be in a tough spot. It may be a few days before your family, friends, and a bank can wire some extra money!
Things happen. After scuba diving in Thailand, I ended up with ‘ear squeeze’ (inflamed ear drum and ear infection). Had to pay about $100 up front to see a doctor and get the proper meds for my ear. It was a setback because $100 in Thailand could have easily lasted me over a week.
Travel teaches you to always have a backup, emergency, contingency fund! If you are in rough patches, you can, at least, get yourself out of a tough situation and plan for the next move.
So tell me, what are some ways that travel has given you insight into your spending habits?