Budgeting the Unknown

Posted: January 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: ATW Planning | No Comments »

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Taking a look at our current spending, we spend, on average, approximately $4,000 a month.  This includes rent, food, bills, gas, loan payments, and fun.  This does not include any of the savings we sock away into our emergency account, retirement accounts, and personal savings goals (like travel!). 

I know extensive travel will have a different set of expenses than daily apartment-life.  For instance, we won’t be paying rent or apartment insurance anymore, but we’ll be shelling out for hotel/motel/hostel/etc. fees.  We won’t be paying so much for gas but we will be paying for flights, trains, and any other transportation we’ll be using.  We won’t need to pay our monthly utilities, electricity, or internet bills, but who knows if we’ll need to spend for internet cafes or other travel charges we have no ideas about yet. 

Then there are the things we’re still unsure about.  Do we keep our cell phones & requisite data plans?  Do we pay for mail scanning services or get a P.O. Box?  Do we pay extra for cloud backup services for our computers?  Do I still need to pay auto insurance if I’m not using my car or do I let it lapse?  How much is travel insurance and visa fees?  How much will moving and storage companies cost?

So, it’s hard for me to know what exactly we’ll be spending, with little to no experience in all of this. 

If I assume we’ll be spending approximately how much we spend currently for two people on an average of 30 days a month, that means we’ll need approximately $65/person/day.  And less than half of each day’s budget should be the lodging.  Which is, considering a cheap hotel room is about $100, rather disheartening. 

I’m sure there are lots of things we can do to reduce our monthly spending while we’re travelling.  I’ve been exploring different lodging options.  Both Rick and I are happy perusing street vendors for delicious meal options (Thank God for cast-iron stomachs!).  Our essential souvenir purchases are postcards and magnets.  We tend to spend more on gifts for others than ourselves.  And we adore figuring out the local public transportation. 

However, I believe travelling should, at the very least, be livable.  Rick and I spent one night sleeping in Edinburgh Airport rather than shell out another $100 for a hotel room.  I didn’t get much rest that night, too worried over the security of our belongings and persons.  One night is ok.  A year of similar circumstances, would probably end with me shipped off to a mental institution.  Besides, what’s the point of going all the way to the other end of the world, only to end up peering forlornly through windows, too afraid to spend any money?  Where does the line between frugality and enjoyment fall? 

And with so many unknown factors still to be ironed out, it’s slow going figuring out a set budget. 

What I’m especially nervous about is if we don’t manage to get any secondary income streams up and running in time for our trip, we’re not going to have ANY money coming in to supplement our needs.  We’ll be entirely dependent on whatever savings we’ve socked away for this trip, which, at the time of writing, is about a third of what we’ll need.  Yikes! 

Ultimately, however, if this is the path we’re supposed to be on, if this is truly going to be as life-altering as we believe it to be, then even if the money isn’t there, we kind of have to believe that it’s still worth it, that God will provide, and that we’ll be creative enough to make do with what we have and still have a giant blast doing it.

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