I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called TINY: A
Story About Living Small. It was a story
about a couple who built their own tiny house on wheels. Watching this made me think about how much
housing really costs and how much space and stuff we truly need. We currently live in a three bedroom, two and
a half bath, 1,334 square foot town home with a one car garage and no basement. We
have two adults and two teenagers living here. With two teenagers, I can’t
imagine having less space than we currently do.
But when they grow up and move out, I don’t see a need for a bunch of
empty space. I also started to think
about how much money we could save by downsizing to the bare minimum and how
that savings could fund things that we really enjoy.
What are your dreams?
One of my biggest dreams is to travel the country and I am
fortunate enough to have a husband who also shares this dream with me. We would love to actually live in an RV and
travel until we either get tired of it or find a place that we just can’t
leave. My youngest child will leave for
college in four years. This means we need to knock out $60,000 in debt and save
a lot of money in the next four years. We also need to find other income
streams so that we can afford to quit our full time jobs when the time comes.
We’ve come up with some goals to help accomplish this.
Goals for Reaching our Dream of Traveling
- Pay off all debt in the next year. This is going
to be a major challenge that will require us cutting out all wasteful spending
and applying every dime we can towards debt. We know this may not be entirely
possible, but we will keep at it even if it takes longer. The key is to not
give up when things take longer than you hope. If you give up, you will never
- Develop other income streams that can be done
from anywhere. I’m hoping this blog will be one of those income streams,
especially since I love helping other people save money and accomplish their
dreams. We may start other blogs and possibly even try to write a book. I love
photography and am thinking we will probably add a travel blog once we are on
the road. I think the most important
part of this goal is to actually enjoy what we do.
- After paying off all debt, we will apply every
possible dime into savings for our RV, travel, and living expenses. We also
need to research where to store this money where it will earn the most
interest, but not charge a penalty for withdrawing before a certain age. I’m sure Mr. Money Mustache has some good
articles on this subject on his blog.
- Find a lower cost home between now and then. We
currently rent and our rent isn’t outrageously high. In fact, it is the lowest
rent for 3 bedroom apartments (or homes) in our school district (except for the
low income housing, which we do not qualify for). However, I still think we could probably find
something cheaper if we keep looking.
- Don’t fall into the eating out trap. We have
been doing pretty well at not eating out lately, but it takes discipline and
planning ahead to stick with it. We have to keep it up if we want to accomplish
our goals in a reasonable amount of time. The good news is I have a small garden this
summer so that is motivation to try to use up those vegetables.
- Cut out more unnecessary wasteful spending. We
have already cut back a lot in the last few months, but I know we still have a
ways to go. I still smoke cigarettes (although I figured out how to reduce this cost by 65%)
and we still drink a lot of soda. I think I’m going to start cutting out my
soda by drinking from the free water cooler at work instead of hitting up the
vending machine. I also will try to start exercising, which will cause me to
drink more water, even if it just means doing some sit-ups or going for a walk
each day. This is something I need to be doing anyway and I think it will help
my water intake as well.
- We need to start decluttering. We have a lot of
junk in boxes in the garage that we don’t ever use. I will be taking a week off
of work in a few weeks and that will be my goal for that week. We need to sell
what we can and donate the rest. We can’t take all this crap on the road with
us when we go and we could apply the money we make towards our debt.
This will be a post that I will refer back to often as we
try to accomplish each of these goals. Think about what your ultimate dreams
are and discuss them with your spouse. If you can find common goals, you will
find a way to work together to accomplish those goals. It took my husband and I
several years to find a common goal to work towards and that was mainly because
we weren't looking at the big picture and communicating about it. I kept trying
to say I needed to go back to school so that I could earn more money, but going
back to school would put us even deeper into debt and I wasn't thinking about what
would really make me happy. Making more money isn't always the answer. The
answer can simply be to only spend your money on things you truly value. Stop
thinking about what normal society spends money on and think only about what
you want out of life and you will be much happier. If my husband and I want to accomplish our
dream of living on the road, going back to school is pointless and wasteful
spending. If you have been dreaming of
owning a large home, why do you want to own a large home? Is it just the idea
of having it or is that what you truly want? Sure I would like a large house,
but I wouldn't want to do all the upkeep myself and I definitely don’t want to
pay someone else to do it. If I really want to travel and I don’t want to be
home much anyway, what is the point of having a large house? I would just spend
more money trying to fill it up with things I don’t really need and I would
probably have to work the rest of my life to pay for it. That does not sound
like fun to me!
Follow These Steps to Accomplish Your Dreams
- Think about your ultimate life goals and discuss
them with your significant other if you have one.
- Make a plan and stick with it. Put it in writing
in a place you can refer to often as a constant reminder.
- Break your big goals down into smaller
goals. When you set smaller goals, you
can accomplish them one at a time in a reasonable amount of time and each one
of these you accomplish is a step closer to meeting your larger goals. Celebrate every goal you accomplish (in a
cheap way of course).
- Remind yourself of your biggest goals every time
you consider purchasing something that isn’t a necessity. You would be
surprised how often you will put things back when you do this and you will feel
good about it!
- Track your spending and use a budget. This is
probably the most important task of all. If you don’t track your spending, it
becomes hard to reduce your spending and keep track of your goals
efficiently. See my post about my
favorite budgeting software, YNAB.
are some pictures of places we have traveled to in years past.
|Las Vegas Strip|
|St. Augustine, FL|
Labels: frugality, inspiration