Notorious D.E.B.T. https://www.notoriousdebt.com Mo' Debt, Mo' Problems Wed, 24 May 2017 12:00:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 A Step-By-Step Guide To Get Out Of Debt https://www.notoriousdebt.com/step-get-out-debt/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/step-get-out-debt/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 12:00:18 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1465  Inside: You don’t have to stay in debt for the rest of your life. I’m taking these steps to get out of debt, and they can help you too!   $940.96. That’s how much I pay towards my debt each […]

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 Inside: You don’t have to stay in debt for the rest of your life. I’m taking these steps to get out of debt, and they can help you too!

 

I used to never think I’d get out of debt. Once I realized how much we’re REALLY paying for our debt and how simple it is to get out of debt (as long as you work hard), everything changed. This step-by-step plan will save me thousands of dollars and I’ll be out of debt years sooner—for good!$940.96.

That’s how much I pay towards my debt each month.

That is roughly half of my entire take-home pay from my first post-graduation job two years ago. I was never the best kid in the class at math, but something tells me that isn’t sustainable.

Every month I stare at that check and wonder what else I could be doing with that $940.46. Here are some ideas:

  • Save up a real emergency fund
  • Bolster my pitiful retirement savings
  • Save up for a down payment on a house
  • Go to Norway
  • Buy 443 tacos (just kidding…kind of)

It gets even worse. If I continue to just pay the minimums on my debt, I’ll shell out an extra $31,446 in interest payments alone until the debts are gone. That’s 14,833 tacos’ worth of interest.

That’s not even going towards the principal! It is solely the fee for being too poor to afford the things I bought with that money. I’d also be paying these debts off for the next 18 years of my life.

Instead, I’m calling bullshit. I refuse to spend tens of thousands of extra dollars over the next two decades of my life.

Maybe you’re the same way too? Are you in debt and think there’s no hope? That you’ll just be another schmuck paying off debt for the rest of your life?

Have no fear, my friends! I’ve got a plan—a master plan—and I’m getting the hell out of debt one step at a time. I’ll show you how. If you want, you can come along too!

 

Step 1: Assess Your Debt Situation

A lot of people don’t actually know how much debt they’re in. Here at Notorious D.E.B.T., we shout it loud and proud, right from the sidebar (that’s $107,187.29, if you’re reading this from a cell phone and can’t see the sidebar).

You can’t develop a debt-slaying plan if you don’t know how much debt you’re in. So, take a bit of time and tally up all of your debts. Specifically, you’ll need to know:

  • Type of debt (student loan, personal loan, credit card, etc…)
  • Remaining balance (how much you still owe)
  • Interest rate (how much you’re charged each month by the lender)
  • Monthly payment (duh)

I recommend keeping tabs of this information in a sweet program called Undebt.it (affiliate link). It’s totally free to use and it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever since bacon tacos. Enter your debt information in here and we’ll come back to it later.

 

 

P.S., this step can be a little scary to see the total amount of debt you’re in, so I recommend a nice drink while running through this step. My favorite is a good Moose Drool Brown Ale, because a) it’s super tasty, b) it’s cheap, and c) moose.

 

Step 2: Start An Emergency Savings Fund

Open a separate savings account and name it if your bank allows it. Ours is named the Oh Shit Fund.

It may seem paradoxical to start saving before you pay off your debt, but stick with me. One of the main reasons people actually get into debt is because they don’t have emergency savings. I’m still paying off a $12,000 loan for unexpected housing repairs myself.

Don’t believe me? A full 46% of Americans can’t even afford a $400 emergency. $400!

So, let’s not get caught with our pants down. The best way to do that is by protecting ourselves in the future so we don’t have to take on any more debt.

I recommend a high-interest bank account because you can grow your money faster. I use Ally because they pay 1.05% APY. So far this year I’ve earned an extra $26.81 in interest. Compare that to your local credit union which probably offers you peanuts, gumballs, and well-wishes.

For more info on how to save, check out my guide on balancing debt with savings.

 

Step 3: Make More Money

I hear you. You’re saying, “But what if I can’t afford to save more?”

I’m glad you asked, my friend. I have just the thing for you. It’s called making more money.

What, you didn’t think you were just limited to your day job, did you? You can make money doing literally anything. I had a friend who got paid to strip nekked in college and sit on a pedestal in front of art students.

There is no excuse you can come up with for why you can’t make more money. No matter how hectic your schedule, you can always find a way. You can even make hundreds of dollars per year by installing passive apps on your phone—you don’t even have to do anything after it’s set up!

Related: The Side Hustle Path by Nick Loper (affiliate link)

I’m not gonna lie though. You might have to make sacrifices. You might need to turn your friends down sometimes to work on your side hustle, but which would you rather have? A lifetime of debt, or a martini? Debt, or martini? I know what I’d choose.

Related post: Make More Money: A Fear-Busting Game Plan To Start Side Hustling

 

Step 4: See If You Can Refinance Your Loans

Some loans like mortgages and student loans last a long time. If you’re currently paying a higher interest rate than you could get elsewhere, you could be paying thousands of extra dollars over the life of the loan.

You could be spending unnecessary months and years paying off the higher amount. And the higher your interest rate, the more you’ll be paying for longer.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re starting to pay back $50,000 in student loans over 10 years. If your interest rate is 6.8%, you’ll pay $19,048.20 in interest over the life of the loan.

But if you refinanced at 5%—just 1.8% cheaper—you’d pay $13,639.61 in interest. That’s a savings of $5,408.59. You could buy 2,470 tacos with that kind of cash! Think of the tacos!

My favorite place to shop around for student loan refinancing is LendEDU (affiliate link). It’s simple, free, it won’t hurt your credit to check, and you can compare offers from a whole bunch of companies in one spot. Booyah.

 

A few cautions:

If you have federal student loans, you’ll lose out on any of those nice goodies like income-based repayment plans or student loan forgiveness. Consider carefully if you’re cool with losing those benefits before you refinance, because your new private lenders won’t offer these programs.

Be careful with taking on super-long terms. Sure, you can refinance for 20 years and get a super-low payment, but you might actually end up paying even more interest if you do this. Make sure you compare how much you’ll actually save over time by using a student loan refinancing calculator.

 

Step 5: Debt Avalanche Or Debt Snowball

The time has come! Now you can pick a battle plan to slay your debt. We’re going to draft up a hit list of debts. You’ll pay off these debts in a specific order, depending on which method you choose.

You can pick from two main debt-payoff methods: the debt avalanche, or the debt snowball.

The debt snowball method is a perennial favorite. With this one, you line up your remaining balances from small to large. It might look like this:

  • Auto loan: $300
  • Student loan: $5,500
  • Credit card: $10,000

The idea with the debt snowball method is that you get quick wins right out of the gate. That $300 loan? Yeah, you can take care of that in a snap. Boom! Already killed one.

The debt avalanche method is the more mathematical-based approach that will save you the most money. Instead of lining up your debts by remaining balance, stack them up from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. That could look like this:

  • Credit card: 24% APR
  • Student loan: 5.5% APR
  • Auto loan: 4.0% APR

Because you don’t pay any heed to the remaining balance with the debt avalanche method, it could be quite some time before you actually pay off one of your debts in full. But because you’re focusing on the most expensive debt first, you’ll save more money in the long run.

Confused on which you should pick? Don’t worry. Remember how you entered all of your debts into the Undebt.it program? If you log back into your account and select the Payoff Plan tab from the side menu, you’ll see another option called Compare Methods.

Behold! As long as you entered everything in correctly (and it can be a bit time-consuming, I agree), you can see exactly how much each plan will cost you. Here’s how much interest I’ll pay according to each method:

  • No payoff plan (i.e., minimum payments forever): $31,446
  • Debt snowball: $14,474
  • Debt avalanche: $12,701

Guess which method I’m going with? The debt avalanche—aww, yeah!

 

Step 6: Pay Off Your First Debt

The battle begins! Now that you’re stocked up with plenty of backup ammo (i.e., an emergency fund) and have a concrete battle plan, you can start!

Throw any extra money you come across towards your debt, according to whichever battle plan you chose (debt snowball or debt avalanche). Before you know it, the first chain will be broken!

 

Step 7: Pay Off Your Second Debt (And Third, And Fourth…)

Woohoo! You’ve got your first one down. Now’s not any time to rest on your laurels, though. We’ve won one battle, but we’re in this for the war, remember?

You’ll now have a newly-liberated monthly payment. For me, the first debt on my hit list is my personal loan. It has a $369 monthly payment.

Once I pay that off, then I’ll use that $369 as more ammo to throw at the rest of my debt. I went this long without that extra $369 available in my budget. I can go just a bit longer if I can use it as a weapon to nuke the rest of my debt.

My next debt on my hit list is one of my student loans, with a $218.36 monthly payment. That means I’ll be sending in a total of $587.36 ($218.36 + $369) towards this debt each month until it’s gone.

What happens after that? I take that $587.36 and apply it to the next debt on the list—one of Zach’s student loans.

Rinse and repeat. Take out each debt—one at a time—like the slow zombies from Shaun of the Dead. Boom! Whack! Thud! Crash!

By the end of it you’ll have won the war! You’ll be totally debt free, and you can finally move on with your life.

What would you do with an extra $940.96 in your budget each month?

 

Final Words

In 1,943 words I’ve described to you the exact way—step by step—to get out of debt. If you follow these steps—assess your debt, make more money, refinance your loans, pick a debt payoff plan, and then pay off your debts—you’ll be debt-free before you know it.

Of course, life isn’t that easy. There will be things that’ll happen to trip you up. Know that ahead of time, expect it, and develop a game plan for what to do when that happens. Paying off all of your debt requires iron dedication to each step of the plan, both from you and anyone else in your household.

I once heard someone say, “Being in debt is hard. Paying off debt is hard. Choose your hard.”

I couldn’t agree more. Which type of hard will you choose?

 

What steps are you taking towards getting out of debt? Leave a comment below!

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The Financial Reality Of Being A Broke Biologist https://www.notoriousdebt.com/financial-reality-broke-biologist/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/financial-reality-broke-biologist/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 12:00:51 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1436 Inside: I always knew I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. What I wasn’t prepared for were the struggles. But at the end of the day, I’d still do it all over again.   Follow your passion. Choose a job […]

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Inside: I always knew I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. What I wasn’t prepared for were the struggles. But at the end of the day, I’d still do it all over again.

 

When I was a kid I LOVED animals. That’s why it’s not shocking that I ended up studying wildlife biology in college. But, it’s not as easy as they said it would be. Here’s everything I wish I knew before I started going down this path. Follow your passion.

Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

These and other tidbits of wisdom are slapped on cards, posters, and Pinterest images around the world. They’re poured out by inspirational speakers everywhere.

I swallowed the bait hook, like, and sinker when I was younger. I loved to hunt, fish, read, count things, and investigate. Hanging out in the woods was a favorite pastime.

So, you can understand how I ended up studying wildlife biology in college when I was older.

Unfortunately, this career path isn’t what I hoped it would be. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be a wildlife biologist someday. Literally everything I do now is in service of that goal. But along the way I’ve changed. There are a lot of things I didn’t realize when I started going down this path.

Warning: this is going to be a long read. Buckle up, folks.

 

Biology Compared To “Normal” Careers

Let’s not pussy-foot around this. Being a biologist isn’t a “normal” career. That’s kind of the point; I’m an abnormal person, and I need an abnormal career to match.

In the short time I have been employed in biology, I’ve jumped out of helicopters, dodged bears in the woods, played with explosive rocket fuel in the lab, and actually been injured by a reindeer before Christmas.

My biologist homies will know exactly what I’m talking about with this article. But for the non-biologists among us, let’s set up a baseline financial comparison with other, more common “normal” careers. We’ll look at data from the US BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

First, let’s look at your job prospects as a wildlife biologist:

 

Number of wildlife biologists and biological science technicians employed compared to other careers

Uh oh…

 

Shucky darn. Your chances aren’t very good, my friends. Maybe there will be more wildlife biologist jobs in the future, though?

 

Projected career growth of wildlife biologists and biological science technicians compared to other careers

D’oh!

 

Bah! Foiled again. According to the BLS, the average career growth rate is 7%. That means you’ll be seeing even less of us in the future compared to other jobs. What about a wildlife biologist’s salary compared to others?

 

Average hourly wage of wildlife biologists and biological science technicians versus other careers.

Wildlife biologists: We’re not the worst! Sorry, biological science technicians…

 

Well, not so bad here. As a wildlife biologist you can expect to make about as much as a high school teacher. Just try not to compare yourself to doctors too much.

Related: Tents, Tortoises, And Tailgates: My Life As A Wildlife Biologist (affiliate link)

 

Stable Jobs Can Be Harder To Find Than Unicorns

I was taught as a kid that I’d grow up, find a good job, and work there for the rest of my life. That’s what my dad did. He is still employed as a natural resources officer for a state Department of Natural Resources.

Unfortunately, for biologists, it doesn’t work this way very often.

Most jobs are seasonal in nature, especially for biological science technicians. That works out great if you’re a college student. But, I know people in their 40s who are still doing the annual summer job search.

Full-time permanent positions do exist (perhaps you have one yourself, dear reader?), but they are not easy to come by, especially if you’re not able to move anywhere at the drop of a hat. That’s especially true for recent college grads like myself.

 

You Might Not Be Able To Pay Your Student Loans And Save

I took out $55,000 of private student loans to pay for my undergrad education. In the wildlife biology world, starting out with a BS will likely get you a job as an entry-level Biological Science Technician position—not even a full-on Wildlife Biologist job.

 

Looking for a plot to sample while out in the field doing biology research.

Nope, no extra dollars here.

 

Here’s a sample of what my monthly budget looks like. Let’s assume I’m single and not also supporting my husband as well, because that makes things simpler. I’ll split rent/utilities with my “roommate.”

  • Rent: $497
  • Food/toiletries: $300
  • Car payment: $200
  • Car insurance/registration/fuel/maintenance: $258
  • Cell phone bill: $98
  • Internet: $29
  • Electricity: $45
  • Renter’s insurance: $20
  • Medical/dental/vision insurance: $204
  • Health savings account: $200
  • Clothing: $50
  • Laundromat: $20
  • Emergency fund savings: $200

So far we’re up to $2,121 in expenses. I haven’t even included anything for fun like Netflix or entertainment money. I also haven’t even gotten to my student loan payments yet.

Let’s break this down Lil Dicky-style.

My first post-graduation wildlife biology job was as a GS-06 with the federal government. My monthly gross take-home pay was $3,305. If I set aside 10% into a 401k for retirement, I’d then have a final paycheck of $2,272 per month after taxes were taken out.

Now let’s look at adding in my student loan payments. Drumroll please….$369.

That means I have $2,272 per month to cover $2,490 worth of expenses.

Obviously something’s got to go. I’m already not paying for any “fun” expenses like dining out, entertainment, or Netflix on this budget.

I could try to find a cheaper place. Moving in with parents to save on rent would be a great idea. Except for the fact that you don’t always get to choose where you live with this career.

I could find a cheaper cell phone plan, but even if I cut it in half I’d still have to shave off another $169 in my budget. The only other option is to stop saving as much, either for health expenses, emergencies, or retirement.

That, or find the actual end of the rainbow.

 

You’ll Probably Need To Go To Grad School

Let’s say you want something a little more permanent than never-ending summer jobs. Maybe you want a high enough income so you can afford to pay off your debt and save at the same time.

Luckily, going to grad school has a lot of advantages. I got a brief reprieve from having to start repaying my student loans while in grad school (of course, the interest kept ticking ever upward).

Studying biology in grad school isn’t like getting a grad degree in other fields. It works more like an apprenticeship system: you find an advisor, do a research project, publish it, and Bob’s your uncle.

Because of this unique system, most people are actually paid to get their degree. By the time I graduated, I’d come out ahead by over $75k, published two scientific articles (soon to be three!), and had an MS degree to boot.

Of course, life isn’t always so simple. Having an advanced degree puts you in another class entirely. You’re overqualified for many jobs, and paradoxically, this may even harm your employment prospects.

After I graduated I applied for as many local biology-ey jobs as I could. No dice. I started to panic as my bank account started to dwindle. Finally, I started applying anywhere and everywhere—even as a cashier in big-box stores. No one ever called me back from those jobs.

Eventually, I landed a position as a janitor/animal caretaker in a lab animal facility cleaning rooms for other grad students’ animals. I made a measly $31k per year.

When I crunched the numbers on a per-hour basis, I’d actually made more money as a graduate student myself.

 

You’ll Probably Have To Get Another Job

As a wildlife biologist or a biological science technician, you’ll be battling four ever-present foes:

  • A general shortage of jobs
  • Most jobs are only seasonal
  • Low wages relative to expenses
  • Inability to move willy-nilly wherever jobs actually are

Sometimes you’ll get lucky with a seasonal job and they’ll extend the offer for you to work longer. That’s what happened to me last year: my summer seasonal job was extended right up until it unexpectedly petered out two weeks before Christmas.

Luckily, I had started freelance writing a year prior in a desperate attempt to bring in some more cash. Unlike my budget I showed you above, it was even worse: I was supporting my husband while he was in school, meaning I was the sole breadwinner. And frankly, that bread would have been a big stale turd of a loaf if all I had to live on was my income from my GS-06 job. Half of my entire salary was going to our old home that tried to kill our bank account.

Related post: How I Got Started As A Freelance Writer

Instead, when my position ended, I was able to step into freelance writing almost full-time. That was six months ago, and I’ve been here ever since waiting for the next biology opportunity to crop up. Even after I get a job I’m going to keep freelance writing. At this point it’s my job insurance.

 

Wildlife biologist office

Here’s my current “office” where I wrote this post from. Sexy, I know.

 

I’m not the only one either. Most people rely on temporary jobs to hold them over in between the temporary-wildlife jobs. I have friends who’ve worked as receptionists, substitute teachers, grocery store deli clerks, tour guides, and yes—lab animal caretakers.

To my fellow biologists, let me say: don’t just rely on a job to tide you over if possible. Start something of your own. Choose something flexible so you can dial it back a notch while working in the field or part-time on nights and weekends. Then you can crank that sucker right back up when you’re unemployed again.

You’ll also be able to build it up over time, rather than start from square one at a new job every time you get an in-between-jobs-job. Don’t get caught with your pants down, guys!

Need some inspiration? Check out Side Hustle Nation’s epic post of 99 Side Hustle Ideas.

Related: Overcoming Underearning: A Five-Step Plan To A Richer Life (affiliate link)

 

You Have To Be OK With Moving Frequently

Here’s the honest truth: the most successful people in this profession are willing to move around. A lot. Sometimes it seems like some of my friends move across the country more times than an epileptic ping-pong ball.

That’s hard if you’re someone who doesn’t want to live anywhere except a place you’re attached to.

It’s especially difficult for families. Right now my husband is in school. He can’t just pack up his bags and leave on a whim to the middle of nowhere. So, I have two options: either have a long-distance relationship with my husband (I know many people who do this), or wait and hope a job opens up where I’m already at. If no local jobs hire me, then I’m shit outta luck and have to do something else in the meantime—freelance writing, in my case.

It’s also hard to move around frequently if you have pets. Let’s be honest; wildlife biologists went into the wildlife biology field because they like animals. For a wildlife biologist to be pet-free would be like a librarian without books.

One of my friends is currently moving across the country from Michigan to Arizona for a summer job doing bird surveys. They won’t allow her to keep her dog in the government-provided housing (the one she has to pay to live in), so she is leaving her dog behind with her family in Michigan.

If she didn’t have that fail-safe, she’d either have to decline the job offer or get rid of her dog whom she’s raised since he was a pup.

 

This Job Is Not Easy On Families

Moving around so much is not easy on families. Dealing with a low income is also doubly hard for families. Both of these factors only get worse if you bring kids into the equation.

Hopefully by the time you’ve decided on having some wee ones you’ve been lucky enough to find a permanent job, but that’s no guarantee. Even if you go to grad school it can take many years before you nail down this elusive type of position.

I’m almost 30 years old and I’ve still only worked one “official” seasonal biology job since graduating. I’m not saying I’m old, but my baby-makin’ clock is ticking.

If I wanted to have kids, the next few years of my life are among the last prime childbearing years I’ll have. But will I have a permanent job where I can support such a family? Will I still be chasing temporary seasonal jobs? I don’t know.

Wildlife biology caribou

Dakota the pocket caribou may not be an actual child, but I’m pretty sure she’s cuter than one.

 

It can be tough to manage a family even after you’ve found a job. Biology jobs often require you to get out into the field every so often to collect data, and this can take anywhere from a few hours to several months.

I heard a story once about a female wildlife researcher who headed out into the field after giving birth. She put up her husband and new baby in a hotel nearby, and every day she’d go back to the hotel to feed her new infant. There wasn’t any other option; she was the lead researcher, and they didn’t have an option to delay captures.

A lot of wildlife research is time-dependent. There’s only a four-day window after baby caribou are born where you can still catch them on foot, for example. If you had the misfortune to be laid up on bedrest during that time, well then you’re just shit outta luck.

For this reason, it’s pretty common for people to plan babymaking around field seasons. I can’t imagine that kind of pressure especially as I’ve heard from friends how difficult it really can be to conceive on a planned schedule. Come on, Frank, I got a deadline in two days otherwise I’ll be giving birth with the caribou! Let’s do this!

 

You Need To Have Flexible Career Goals

You may have started out with the full intention of being a wolf biologist. But, there’s probably like ten of them in the entire country. The odds are not ever in your favor.

Here’s the ugly truth: if you limit yourself to one area or one specialty, you may never get that job. There’s so few permanent positions available that once people have them, they cling onto them for dear life.

You can do everything humanly possible to make yourself a fantastic candidate. But if there’s only five biologist positions in your commuting area, you can’t move, and those five biologists aren’t giving up their spots—well shucky darn tough beans. You’re not getting that job.

So, be flexible. Accept that you might have to work another job, even if temporarily. Hell, I’m not working as a wildlife biologist right now. I’m mostly writing articles about credit card reviews and life insurance.

But I still consider myself a wildlife biologist, even if that’s not what I’m doing right now out of economic necessity.

Related post: Why Millennials Need To Rethink Career Plans Amid A Changing Employment Landscape

 

It’s OK To Change Your Goals

Wildlife biologist bugs

Guys! I think there’s a few bugs out here!

None of this information is new to people who’ve been inducted into the biology career path. One of my favorite classes was Population Biology—basically, how to do math with animal populations.

On the first day of class, my instructor said, “You can become a population biologist and make a tiny bit of money. Or, you can take these same skills I’ll teach you this semester, apply them to the human population, and make a shit ton of money as an actuary.

Of course, this means nothing to a doe-eyed 22-year-old.

Move around the country? Of course I can do that. Not make a huge salary? That’s OK; I’d rather to hang out with trees and animals all summer rather than be rich. Besides, I’m not making much now as a student and I’m fine.

Somewhere along the way though you realize you might actually want to contribute to your retirement account, because you don’t want to be eating cat food as an old person. You might realize you don’t want to be paying student loans into your 50s. Maybe you actually do want a home of your own, but you can’t save up for a down payment.

Maybe you decide someday that gosh darn those little burpy-faced cherubs are cute, and I need like five of them in my life right now (sorry Mom; this hasn’t happened to me yet).

Your life will always be evolving and changing. You are continually making decisions based on incomplete information. This is especially true as an undergrad. Hindsight is 50/50. You can only make the best decision for you today, but tomorrow the rules may change and maybe you wouldn’t have made the same decision again.

So, it’s OK to change your goals. It’s also OK to keep them.

 

You Might Have An Awesome Career

For those who persist and for whom the stars align, congrats: you made it.

We get to do the kinds of things other people only wish they could do. People pay money to do the things we do.

Wildlife biologist with caribou

This caribou jumped right into my arms from somewhere in the Hodzana Hills in northeast Alaska. I later named her Hope and she was my favorite caribou.

My first “wildlife” job as an undergrad involved capturing newborn caribou calves from the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. I helped raise and train these guys over the course of several years. I knew each one. They were my friends (whether they knew it or not).

I’m one of the only people in the history of the entire world who’s ever gotten to do that. That’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Even if you don’t end up as a Wildlife Biologist, you can still have a kick-ass career. I’ve got friends who went on to start up a huge beekeeping operation. Bees, for fuck’s sake! They get to travel around the country (with their young family in tow) with their beehives. It’s awesome and they couldn’t be happier.

Others have started small farms, worked in science communications to spread the Good Word, or even became professional dogsled racers. Hell, even here I am trying to teach you how to be better at managing your money so you can afford to work in this job.

 

Final Words

This is not an easy career path. I would never tell someone to blindly “follow their passion” like a tender carefree butterfly, right into the jaws of a crocodile.

This career takes more tenacity than Tenacious D searching for the Pick of Destiny (side note: if you’ve found it please let me know because my metal guitar skills are subpar and I could use a boost).


 

For those who stick with it and aren’t afraid to adapt their master plan, though, this is about the most fun job I can think of.

The ultimate test to ask yourself looking back is, would I have made the same decision twice? Despite all of my struggles, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

I love this career for the struggles. It forced me to grow, to evolve, to adapt, and become something more than I was before I started. Being a biologist means inherent struggle.

At the end of the day, I still love being a wildlife biologist.

 

Be A Part Of My Nonscientific Research About Scientists!

I’ve always wondered about the fate of other biology students around the world.

Did you get the job you were hoping for? What were your struggles? Is it what you thought it would be? How much money do you make? What sacrifices did you have to make?

Now, my friends, the time has come! Thanks to the power of the Google machine, we can together learn more about the plight of our fellow biologists.

If you’ve graduated with any type of biology/wildlife management degree, I want to hear from you.

Please take this survey. It’s totally anonymous. I’ll compile the results into one super-awesome, totally-unscientific survey about the state of people with biology degrees.


So, shout and share this post to all of your biology friends on Facebook and Twitter! I call upon every biologist with accessible Internet access!
Crawl out of the bat cave, take a break from your vegetation surveys, and put those binoculars down! Minimize your R window, close the side door on the four-place balance, put down that fish, and rest those weary grant-writing eyes!

I call upon thee to help us understand…us better than ever before! Let’s collect as much data about biologists as we can!

 

Have you had to make any sacrifices for your career? What difficulties have you faced? Leave a comment below!

 

 

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20 Ways To Travel Around The World For Cheap Or Even Free https://www.notoriousdebt.com/20-ways-travel-around-world-cheap-even-free/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/20-ways-travel-around-world-cheap-even-free/#comments Wed, 10 May 2017 12:00:34 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1416 Inside: I used to never think I’d be able to afford to travel. That was until I learned these tips for how to travel cheap, that is!   Did you know the average family vacation costs $4,580? WTF guys. Seriously. […]

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Inside: I used to never think I’d be able to afford to travel. That was until I learned these tips for how to travel cheap, that is!

 

I used to think I'd never be able to travel because I wasn't born rich. I couldn't understand how other people were able to afford to go to places while I wasn't. But once I learned these tips I've gone on over half a dozen trips almost for free!

Did you know the average family vacation costs $4,580?

WTF guys. Seriously.

If I waited until I had that much disposable income lying around I’d probably be a pile of dust.

You don’t need to spend that much on a vacation if you don’t want to. Instead, do it smartly. Take some time to do some research. If you spend maybe 20 hours of your life doing a bit of research on how to shave $4,000 off your next vacation (and believe me, it is possible), then that’s like making $200 per hour. Sign me up!

These tips I’m about to share with you have literally changed my life. Before I wasn’t able to afford travel; now I am. It’s that simple.

Related: How To Travel The World On $50 A Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter (affiliate link)

Alright, are you ready?

Here they are:

 

Learn How To Travel Hack

“Travel hacker” sounds like some diabolical villain. You know what’s diabolical? Tricking people into a lifetime of debt with shiny credit card rewards.

Instead, you can actually turn the game around so you beat the house. How? It’s pretty simple. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for a travel rewards credit card with a lucrative bonus
  • Funnel all of your spending on it until you reach the bonus
  • PAY OFF YOUR BALANCE EACH MONTH (I do it once daily because I’m anal about it)
  • Close the card before the annual fee is due (most cards waive it the first year)
  • Rinse and repeat

Credit card hacking isn’t for everyone. But, if you have a great credit score (700 or above) and you’ve got good systems set up to pay off your credit cards regularly, there is no reason why you need to pay for flights or hotels almost ever.

Since learning how to travel hack with Brad and Alexi’s free TravelMiles101 email course, I’ve gotten the following trips for almost nothing or even free:

 

Extend Your Stopover

You know how you usually fly through several cities on your way to your final destination?

Did you know you can actually extend your stopover into a vacation of its own? For example, if you fly to Europe you can actually extend a stopover in Iceland for a full week—for free!

This epic post tells you everything you need to know about engineering your stopovers for a second free vacation. It even tells you how to reroute your itinerary to go to the places you want to check out.

 

Keep Up With Discount Flight Websites

Pricing airline tickets seems like a crazier business than making Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. Sometimes, things slip through the cracks and you can get a smokin’ hot deal if you’re flexible on where you go.

Websites like Holiday Pirates, The Flight Deal, and Airfarewatchdog allow you to sign up for updates so that when a flight does hit a crazy-low price, you can get notified immediately before it expires. You can also search for destinations based on how much you can afford with Kayak’s Explore tool. Here’s another great post about how to find airfare mistakes in your favor.

 

Check As Many Websites As Possible When Booking

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: not all travel websites were created equal. If you just go to a single site to book your travel, you could be missing out big time.

A good place to start is with Momondo, because it searches many websites by itself (even non-English ones). Kayak, Google Flights, and ITA Matrix are also good places to check once you have your itinerary down. Nomadic Matt even has this search system down to a science.

Sure, you might not save hundreds of dollars by booking a cheaper flight. If you’d take the time to clip coupons, though, why not take a few extra minutes to do this and save a few bucks?

 

Book Your Flight At The Best Time

You probably knew ticket prices change over time, right?

It turns out that the optimal booking window is 6-8 weeks out if you’re traveling in the off-season, or 12 weeks out if you’ll be traveling during peak season.

 

How To Travel Cheap Airfare

Fly Budget Airlines

Budget air carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet have been a big thing in Europe for a while now. Alas; we’ve been held hostage by high-price carriers here in the States. Luckily, budget airlines like Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines are starting to make headway here. So, whether you’re traveling here or abroad, it’s worth checking these companies out.

The reason these airlines are so cheap is because they offer a frill-less experience. You’ll generally be charged for food, bringing bags aboard, and they even pack the seats in closer than normal airlines. As long as you’re aware of each airline’s restrictions (and here’s a great guide), you can save a ton of money by flying budget airlines.

 

Go Backpacking

Some people love to travel to beaches and laze about, take naps, and rest.

I am not one of those people. I like adventure. I’ll leave the nap-taking to my cat at home (for free).

One of the best ways to have an adventure is to blend in with the locals and do your own DIY vacation rather than an all-inclusive package. It’s way cheaper, too!

It looks like I’ll be spending around $15 per night for accommodations in a hostel for me Peru trip this fall. There’s even a three-day trekking trip through Colca Canyon (the second-deepest in the entire world, full of flying Andean condors) for just $50! I eat dinners that are more expensive than that here in the States.

 

Plan How You’ll Pay For Things Ahead Of Time

The rest of the world doesn’t always run on credit cards. Shocking, I know.

So, plan out your money situation ahead of time. Will you need to take out cash? What’s the best way to do it? Go to a bank vs. a local moneychanger? Can you withdraw cash from an ATM when you’re abroad? If so, are there network ATMs in the country you’re traveling to where you can withdraw cash without a fee?

If you will be using your card abroad, do they actually have an established presence in the country you’ll be going to? Discover is popular in America but isn’t too widespread in Europe, for example.

It’s also a good idea to check if your credit card charges a foreign transaction fee before you go. Most credit cards charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you use one with no foreign transaction fee (here’s a good list), that’s like getting your vacation for 3% cheaper. Or, think of how much chocolate you can buy with that extra 3% savings! Come on now, people! Think of the chocolate!

 

Couch Surf: Like Being A Bum, But Cooler

Have you ever heard of couchsurfing? If you don’t mind hanging out in close quarters with strangers, this can be a great option.

You simply find locals at your destination through the Couchsurfing website who have a free couch (or even an entire room) to share.

It’s like asking people for free room and board. Unlike bums and hobos with cigarette-stained coats and greasy hair, though, you instead grace them with your fine (clean-washed) presence. It’s a sort of cultural exchange. And lest you think it’s truly free, it’s also considered good manners to take them out for dinner or get them a small gift.

 

How To Travel Cheap Airbnb

 

Use AirBnB

AirBnB can be way cheaper and more authentic than staying in a hotel. Rather than supporting a multi-national conglomerate, why not try supporting actual locals (and yes, I know, AirBnB does pocket some of the cash, but most of it goes to the hosts).

You can rent anything from a separate room in someone’s house to an entire home or apartment. And, if you cook most of your food yourself in the kitchen you’ll save twice.

Plus it can be way cooler—check out these awesome AirBnB rentals! You know you want to go. 🙂

I’ve even got a special link for you to save $40 on your first trip of $75 or more.

 

Visit A Cheap Country

Not all countries were created equal in terms of exchange rates.

Maybe your dream is to visit Iceland. That’s cool; I’d love to visit Iceland too. But in the meantime, you can also visit Thailand for next to nothing, especially if you get your flights there for free through travel hacking.

Keep your options open. Don’t let it be One Country Or Bust. Otherwise, you might be missing out on a lot of great experiences in the meantime.

That’s what happened with my trip to Peru this fall. My dream is to visit Europe, but when the opportunity to visit much cheaper Peru came up without compromising my long-term goals, I had to snag it.

You can check out average prices for a backpacker’s budget for 46 major countries in my post The Ultimate Guide To The Cost Of Traveling The World.

 

House Sit Or Home Swap

How would you like an entire vacation home to yourself—for free?

If you’re a responsible person (and not prone to almost burning down kitchens…so I am excluded) you can actually apply to watch people’s homes while they’re on vacation themselves through certain websites. Here’s a cool run-down on how to do it.

In return, the homeowners get the peace of mind knowing that their home is being watched while they’re away. You might also have some light chores, such as petsitting or keeping up with a garden too.

Most people recommend you sign up for multiple sites to boost your odds of success. Each site has a membership fee so it’s not totally free, but for what you get, it’s darn tootin’ close. Here are some of the more common housesitting sites:

 

Cook Your Own Meals

After airfare and accommodations, food is the #3 expense on most people’s travel budgets. But, if you follow my tips above then you’ll likely have a kitchen available, and so you can cook your own food!

I used to think people who traveled all the way to another country to eat PB&J sandwiches were lame. But then I realized—they at least got to travel to another country, where I was sitting on my fat butt at home eating takeout every night!

Of course, if you are going somewhere new you need to try the local cuisine. It’s a part of the travel experience. I’ve never eaten ceviche in my life, so what better place to try it than in Peru where it’s a major food group?

But, do you need to get your toast and eggs every morning from a high falutin’ restaurant? Methinks not!

 

Plan Your Trip Budget Ahead Of Time

Don’t just show up willy-nilly like a bat out of hell with a bad gambling habit when you’re traveling. Restrain your purse-strings, dudes!

If you don’t, you might have to cut your trip short from lack of funds. You might go into debt. Maybe you’ll even have to write a scammy-sounding letter to your friends and family asking them for money because you’re stuck in a foreign country. No one wants that. So plan ahead.

It’s not hard to do. I wrote a whole post about it here: Maximize Your Travel Adventures With A Travel Budget Planner. You can even snag a copy of the travel budget planner that I use below:



Go In The Off-Season

Things are way cheaper in the off-season.

Me and Zach got married in January. Each winter we go to our favorite B&B in the cute mountain town of Estes Park, Colorado. It’s basically a giant log mansion and we have the whole place to ourselves because winter. They give us too much wine. It’s great.

More importantly, we save about $60 each trip since we’re booking in the off-season.

 

Scope Out Your Memberships And Credit Card Perks

Most people sign up for memberships and then forget what the hell the perks were. I did this too; last year I signed up for a garden membership with my local botanical gardens. If I’d traveled away to another horticultural garden, I could have gotten in for free.

Credit card perks work the same way. You sign up for these dang things and forget all the fine print because who wants to go blind reading them all day? But, did you know that many credit cards offer free travel insurance, rental car insurance, and even phone-in concierge services?

 

Volunteer Abroad

It sounds funny that it costs money to volunteer, but stick with me guys. Many coordinating agencies (such as the ones linked to here) offer more than your typical tourism experience. And rest assured, these programs are also usually cash-strapped and your donation goes a long way to supporting them.

You pay about what you would to do a DIY backpacking trip (or even much cheaper, in some cases). In return, you get a community of folks dedicated to a similar mission as you. They’ll provide you with room, board, and friendship while you work. It’s a real cultural experience.

It’s also a great way to get your bearings in a country. You can even ask the volunteer folks for recommendations on where to go and what to do next before setting off on your own.

 

How To Travel Cheap By Hitchhiking

 

Hitchhike

There. I said it.

This one scares the bejeesus out of me. Maybe it’s because I saw too many horror movies as a kid (all five of them), but something about this just rubs me the wrong way.

But, I know a lot of people do it and have a fantastic experience, so I had to throw it on the list as well. Just please don’t crawl in the backseat with a creeper, guys. Most people seem like creepers to me.

 

WWOOF

I love gardening. I’d love to garden in another country. I’d love to garden with locals from another country who host me in return for help with their gardens.

That’s the idea behind WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms). You stay with a local family in a real homestay adventure, complete with working on the farm and all. Typically you’d work for a half day and then be off to go explore on your own.

These opportunities are—well—available all around the world, including Norway! Check this one out—seriously, guys, this looks like a ton of fun! Lindsey (not me) did a WWOOF in Portugal and agrees. She wrote all about it here.

You can find WWOOF opportunities on these sites:

 

Scope Out Your Travel Options

I recently just learned what a tuk-tuk is when I had to operate one to take the trash out at my last job. People would tell me to “take the tuk-tuk.” I was like, “I’m supposed to took-took the trash out?”

But tuk-tuks and other options can be way cheaper if you’re in another country with more adventurous infrastructure than our own. Most people just assume you should take taxis and plane flights to get around. Not true! Fake news!

If you scope out all your options—hotel shuttles, busses, trains, etc… you can usually find much cheaper deals.

 

Be Flexible, Save Money, Travel Cheaply, Travel More

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas on how you can travel for way cheaper, or even almost free.

Related post: How To Save For Travel Regardless Of How Much You Make

Just because you might be limited by a low income (or high expenses) doesn’t mean that you can’t afford travel. Sure, you might have to sacrifice a bit. But at the end of the day, do you really want to sit on your butt watching cable TV when you could be out exploring somewhere new?

I didn’t think so. 🙂

 

Where would you go if you could go anywhere and do anything? What are your frugal travel hacks? Leave a comment below!

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Celebrate Your Financial Mistakes Like They’re Going Out Of Style! https://www.notoriousdebt.com/celebrate-financial-mistakes/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/celebrate-financial-mistakes/#comments Wed, 03 May 2017 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1379 Inside: So, you’ve made some financial mistakes. Congratulations! You now have an unparalleled opportunity to learn, grow, and come back stronger than before!   When I first met Zach I thought he was a super-tough dude. He was an Army […]

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Inside: So, you’ve made some financial mistakes. Congratulations! You now have an unparalleled opportunity to learn, grow, and come back stronger than before!

 

Some of us were born great at managing money—but for the rest of us, we need financial mistakes to turn on the Be-Good-With-Money switch. If you needed to make a few mistakes before you learned how to do better, then welcome!When I first met Zach I thought he was a super-tough dude. He was an Army solider at the time, with a face full of scars.

Little did I know it’s just because he’s too damn tall and keeps hitting his head on things.

That got me thinking though—as a society, we celebrate scars. They’re a sign of toughness, of someone who’s bumbled about a bit. Someone with scars is stronger than the rest of us mere smooth-faced flowers.

Why don’t we do the same thing with our financial mistakes? Why don’t we consider our mistakes to have made us stronger? Why do we hide it shamefully from the world?

 

Financial Mistakes: Worse Than The Time You Farted In Gym Class

Alright, so I get it. Mistakes are shameful.

In a world where we’re supposed to be right, it sucks to advertise that you’re wrong.

I’m here today to tell you that I call bullshit.

 

Financial Mistakes: The Scars Of The Financial World

It’s time we stopped shaming people for financial mistakes. The whole damn reason we suck at money as a society is because we don’t talk about it.

Why don’t we talk about it? Because it’s “rude,” because everyone’s different, and because 95% of us never really received any education on the topic.

Of course everyone makes mistakes. But because we don’t talk about it, we don’t learn from them.

Announcing your financial mistakes is not the same as raising a giant flag high into the air proclaiming your failure as a human being. It’s an opportunity to learn—and that’s very precious in a world where we like to be comfortable.

Your financial mistakes are a powerful tool that can teach you what no amount of book learnin’ or patronizing finger-wagging can. Use them to grow financial scars (not as cool as actual scars, sadly).

Learn what you did wrong, and how you can come back with a swingin’ fist at The Man.

 

My Financial Mistakes Have Made Me Stronger

I can’t even count the number of ways my financial mistakes have helped me and my family.

For example, my student loans. I took out $50,000 in private student loans when I probably could have gotten by with half that. I bought so much useless shit with that money it’s not even funny.

When it came time for Zach to go to school, did we bother with private student loans? I’ll let this guy tell you (he’s from the Exploding Kittens NSFW pack [affiliate link], which is totally my favorite card game ever):

Financial Mistake #1: Private student loans

I made the mistake of buying the worst house ever in existence when I had no money. Will I be buying a house without a down payment or emergency savings again?

Financial Mistake #2: No down payment

I always thought you had to have a car regardless of your circumstances. I thought it was your ticket into the Grownup Pants world. But now, I’m saving a ton of money by sharing a truck with Zach. Will I buy another car when I can get by with just one?

Financial Mistake #3: Buying a car just for the sake of it

How about spending $800/month on restaurants alone?

Financial Mistake #4: Dining out too much

 

When Are Financial Mistakes Not OK?

Here’s one of the reasons why I think people hide their mistakes: they don’t actually take the opportunity to learn from them.

You have a valuable resource here, people, don’t squander it! It’s not every day you’re given the best motivational lesson of all. Use this resource to get better! Grow financial scars!

If you don’t well then you’re just being silly. You’re just poking more holes in yourself than the Black Knight from Monty Python. It’s not just a flesh wound!


 

I’m Better Off For My Financial Mistakes

Being in debt sucks. You know what sucks more? Being in debt for the rest of your life.

If nothing else, all of my mistakes have given me the swift kick in the ass I needed to take control.

Since deciding to learn more about how to manage my money, I’m also consciously saving up for retirement for the first time ever. I’m learning how to budget, and save up for travel so I can afford things that I thought were only in the realm of the Rich Folks.

There’s a hell of a lot of people that don’t need to make as many mistakes as I did before they woke up. Some of them have always been good money-managers.

I was not lucky enough to be one of them. I needed to be hit over the head with a metaphorical financial 2×4 before my money-management switch was turned on. I suspect that most others are like me too—and if so, welcome!

 

Celebrate Your Financial Mistakes!

It’s time to end the stigma on financial mistakes.

Proclaim your combined glory/failure, loud and to the world! Check out my sidebar—I’m paying off more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of debt! Tell people what you learned, and how you’re getting better! Shout to everyone how you’ll be a stronger person with financial scars in the end!

 

What financial mistakes have you learned from? Have you come out better in the end for it, or not? Leave a comment below!

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The Ultimate Guide To The Cost Of Traveling The World https://www.notoriousdebt.com/cost-of-traveling-the-world/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/cost-of-traveling-the-world/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:04:51 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1346 Inside: I didn’t think I’d ever be able to afford the cost of traveling the world. Not so! Here’s a list of daily costs in 46 countries. Some are crazy cheap!   I didn’t get to travel a lot as […]

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Inside: I didn’t think I’d ever be able to afford the cost of traveling the world. Not so! Here’s a list of daily costs in 46 countries. Some are crazy cheap!

 

I used to think traveling was only for rich people. I was wrong! But I wanted to know: how much does it REALLY cost to travel the world? I made this comprehensive list of travel adventures from all over the globe. I crunched the numbers so you can easily see how much you can expect to pay no matter where you want to go!I didn’t get to travel a lot as a kid. Once, I even went to Ohio.

That’s why I was so surprised when I got out into the Big Girl Pants world and found out that it’s actually pretty common for people to travel—and not just to Ohio.

I was flummoxed. I thought travel was a Rich Folks’ thing.

My first intro to the world of travel was through the movie Eurotrip. The hapless teenage travelers alternate between being broke and out of options to living like kings on pocket change in Eastern Europe. Whaaaaat?

I had to learn more.

It turns out it’s actually pretty common for other countries to be cheaper than ours. Who knew? I didn’t.

Once I learned this fact, though, a fire lit up in me. I can afford to travel, even if I’m in debt? I don’t have to be rich?

 

How much does it cost to travel the world? It depends…

Of course, how much it really costs to travel the world depends on how high falutin’ you like to be.

Do you need a fancy cruise that doesn’t let you DIY your own costs?

Are you willing to stay in a budget hostel, or do you have to stay in the most luxurious resort in the area?

Related: If you sign up for AirBnB through my link you can get a free $40 credit towards your first stay!

Can you get by with cooking your own meals, or do you require a 5-star sit-down restaurant for each meal? Etc, etc…

And, of course, how much your trip costs depends a lot on where you go!

 

How much does it cost to travel to different parts of the world?

Of course, when you’re just scouting out potential locations to travel to, it helps to have some kind of a baseline comparison between countries.

This blog post is my attempt to sort out some of the cost differences between the most popular tourist destinations.

I’ll show you at least three cost estimates for each country. These costs can vary by two factors: inflation and currency exchange rates because they were written at different times.

I also wanted to know what it was like for real people to travel to each of these countries. So, wherever possible, I’ll link to blog posts about real people’s trips. That way, you can see pictures and learn more about the nitty-gritty of the cost breakdown.

If a trip was taken in 2015 or later, I’ll update it to 2017 dollars. If the currency exchange rates have changed, well then shucky darn—I’m not magic and can’t figure out how to put my shoes on sometimes let alone figure out exchange rates.

These trip prices don’t include airfare. That’ll be a big factor in your final cost, but that depends mostly on where you live. Let’s make it simple and compare apples to apples. These prices are also listed on a per-person basis.

Finally, I only included DIY backpacker-style trips. Why? Because if I waited until I had enough money for the kind of trip I thought I needed to take (i.e., a fancy all-inclusive tour), I’d be as old as the Cryptkeeper and scare everyone away. And that’d be no fun (or would it?….).

Now, let’s go! Allons-y!

(P.S. – if you need some help planning for your own trip, check out my free travel budget planner below. I made it for myself but hopefully it can help you too!)


 

Asia

Photo courtesy of Neville Wootton.

Thailand

Nomadic Matt recommends setting aside $32-$38 per day for a cheap Thailand backpacking trip. But, he did admit to spending $72 per day while showing living the high life with some visiting friends. (Get used to this dude’s name; he’s all about budget travel and has a ton of blog posts I’ll be linking to).

GoBackpacking says you should budget $15-$164 per day (whew! what a range) depending on how fancy you want to go and how much you’ll be traveling in-country.

Jeremy from Travel Freak spent $30 per day over the course of a month-long visit to Thailand—and has the pictures to prove it!

Natalie and Robson from Love & Road spent a super-low $20 per day, but they did it over the course of eight months. So, they basically moved there. 🙂

Final tally: $44 per day.

 

China

Jeremy from Travel Freak spent just $30 per day on a 12-day tour of China by scrimping and saving as much as possible.

Nomadic Matt recommends budgeting $30-$40 per day and has a ton of great tips on how to stretch your dollar while visiting this country.

Johnny from One Step 4ward spent around $29 per day on one of his many trips here.

Final tally? $31 per day.

 

Singapore

Ali of the eponymous Ali’s Adventures took a trip here and spent a whopping $135 per day. (Edit: Ali clarified in the comments that this was for two people…so on a per-person basis, it’s a way more realistic $67 per day. Thanks Ali!)

Nomadic Matt says to budget around $40-$55 per day assuming you’re going the cheap route.

Steph and Tony from 20 Years Hence spent about $36 per day over two weeks (and have tons of great photos!).

Final tally: $50 per day. 

 

Taiwan

Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps took a sweet 27-day trip to Taiwan for $22 per day.

Steph and Tony from 20 Years Hence headed off to Taiwan as well, and spent $26 per day over about two weeks.

Yeison and Samantha from the blog My Tan Feet took some great photos, and spent $75 per day over a month.

Final tally: $41 per day.

 

South Korea

Yeison and Samantha jetted off to South Korea too, and shelled out $91 per day over a couple of weeks.

Yoshke from The Poor Traveler (that’s the best name I’ve seen in a while!) created a sample itinerary that would cost $49 per day.

Jayson from The Travel Debugger took tons of great photos during his one-week trip here, and spent $50 per day in the process.

Final tally: $63 per day.

 

Hong Kong

Travel With Liya spent $50 per day over 4 days on a Hong Kong visit.

Steph and Tony from 20 Years Hence also checked out Hong Kong and spent about $65 per day.

Nomadic Matt recommends saving up about $51-$64 per day for this trip.

Final tally: $57 per day.

 

Japan

Becki from Borders Of Adventure spent $98 per day while here, and has some great cost breakdowns for all Japan expenses to check out.

Lotte from Phenomenal Globe spent $122 per day over a month-long visit.

Katie and Ben from Two Wandering Soles took a short one-week trip to Japan and spent $101 per day.

Final tally: $107 per day. Ouch.

 

India

Derek from Wandering Earl (another great blog name!) recommends budgeting between $16-$27 per day while here.

Kristen and Siya from Hopscotch the Globe spent about $18 per day on a one-month Indian adventure.

Rachel from Hippie In Heels spent $20 per day and has a ton of budget tips for you!

Final tally: $20 per day. Hot damn!

 

The Philippines

Natalie and Robson from Love & Road spent $37 per day per person while on a 3-week trip to the Philippines (and they have some awesome picture to boot!).

Cez and Agnes from eTramping visited this country for the ultra-low price of $14.92 per person but they sure scrimped a lot (including sleeping on bus station benches!).

Kristin from Be My Travel Muse upped the game a bit and spent $81 per day on her visit.

Final tally: $44 per day.

 

Sri Lanka

Kristin from By My Travel Muse spent about $52 per day over a three-week visit to this awesome country.

Steph and Tony from 20 Years Hence took a month-long journey to Sri Lanka and spent $30 per day.

Dani from Globetrotter Girls spent between $20-$50 per day over five months here.

Final tally: $39 per day.

Related post: Maximize Your Travel Adventures With A Travel Budget Planner

 

Middle East

Photo courtesy of natashaj98.

Israel

Johnny from One Step 4ward recommends budgeting about $54 per day for a proper sightseeing tour.

Audrey from That Backpacker spent between $75-$150 per day while on an awesome Israeli trip. Check out her cool pictures!

Silvia from Heart My Backpack doesn’t really say how much she spent on her Israeli tour, but she does have some great tips on how to do it for $20 per day or less!

Final tally: $62 per day.

 

Turkey

Jill and Dave from Do What You Want Trips spent $124 per day while on a two-week visit to Turkey.

Erin and Simon from the blog Never Ending Voyage took a one-month trip here and spent $85 per day.

Jimmy of the aptly-named Jimmy Eat World spent $55 per day while in Turkey on a two-week adventure.

Final tally: $88 per day.

 

South Pacific

Photo courtesy of Eulinky.

Australia

Natalie and Robson from Love and Road don’t say how much they spent on this trip, but they do say it’s possible to get by with a shoestring budget of $37-$75 per day.

Chris from Backpacker Banter recommends a budget of at least $81 per day.

Reni and Marcel from Swiss Nomads travelled around Australia for six months on $64 per day.

Final tally: $67 per day.

 

New Zealand

Susan Shain spent three weeks in New Zealand, averaging about $68 per day.

Arienne from See You Soon took an awesome two-week campervan trip to New Zealand for $155 per day.

Nomadic Matt suggests saving up between $50-$62 per day for this destination.

Note: this blog didn’t include daily cost estimates, but you have to check it out anyways: Backpacking New Zealand on a Budget.

Final tally: $93 per day, but again, costs vary widely.

 

South America

Photo courtesy of Pedro Szekely.

Brazil

Nomadic Matt’s budget guide recommends $50-$75 per day on a shoestring budget.

MyFunkyTravel (another great blog name!) also recommends $50-$75 per day for Brazil…I’m sensing a trend here.

The folks over at the Two Monkeys Travel Group have a great picture guide for their two-week trip to Brazil, with an average daily spend of $68.

Final tally: $64 per day.

 

Argentina

Once again, Nomadic Matt to the rescue! He says you should plan on about $50-$60 per day a your trip here.

Dani from Globetrotter Girls has some interesting info about an alternate currency. She spent about $59 per day here overall.

Manouk from Bunch of Backpackers spent $84 per day for a three-week Argentina adventure.

Final tally: $66 per day.

 

Columbia

Right in line with the rest of his recommendations, Nomadic Matt says to budget $50 per day for this country.

Go Backpacking’s guide to Columbia advises setting aside $35-$50 per day.

Lindsay from Frugal Frolicker (not me!) has some awesome photos from her week-long trip where she averaged $97 per day.

Final tally: $63 per day.

 

Peru

Manouk over at Bunch of Backpackers spent two weeks hanging out in Peru and spent $72 per day while doing it.

Nomadic Matt says a budget of $30-$50 should do pretty well as long as you’re traveling on the cheap.

Marta and JD have some awesome photos to show you from their Peru adventure. They spent just $40 per day over the course of two months.

Final tally: $51 per day.

 

Africa

Photo courtesy of South African Tourism.

Tanzania

Helen from Helen In Wonderlust had an awesome trip to Tanzania  and Kenya (with plenty of photos!) for $90 per day.

Johnny from One Step 4ward recommends a bare-bones budget of $20-$30 per day if you skip the expensive safaris.

Budget Your Trip recommends a daily budget of $62 per person.

Final tally: $59 per day, but costs vary widely.

 

Kenya

Mark at Migrationology has a great guide on various in-country costs. He recommends budgeting $20-$50 for a bare-bones trip, up to $100-$200 per day if you opt in for a safari tour.

Budget Your Trip says you can get by with $42 per day but I’m assuming then that you wouldn’t be taking any safari tours either.

I’ll add this one on here again…Helen from Helen In Wonderlust’s trip to Kenya and Tanzania cost her $90 per day.

Final tally: $56 per day, but jumps up quick if you want pricey tours.

 

South Africa

Kristin from Be My Travel Muse had an awesome trip to South Africa for $56 per day.

The blog Goats On The Road has a great guide to visiting this country, and estimates it’ll cost you $59 per day.

Yaya and Lloyd from Hand Luggage Only did a one-week trip here for $73 per day.

Final tally: $63 per day.

 

Morocco

You can expect to spend about $40-$60 per day in Morocco, according to Nomadic Matt.

Ross and Alyse from Free Your Mind Travel had an awesome three-week trip here for $30 per day.

Erica, a soap opera script supervisor from the blog As Her World Turns (what an appropriate name, haha!) spent $57 per day on a two-week Moroccan adventure.

Final tally: $56 per day.

 

Egypt

The folks at the Living The Dream blog spent $50 per day on a week-long trip just recently.

Mark from Migrationology spent a super-low $24 per day on his trip here several years ago.

John and Heather from Roaming Around The World had an awesome two-week adventure and packed this post full of tips, pictures, and cost breakdowns. They spent $57 per day on their trip.

Final tally: $44 per day.

Related post: How To Save For Travel Regardless Of How Much You Make

 

North America/Caribbean

Photo courtesy of James Wheeler.

Canada

A daily budget of $52-$60 per day should last as long as you’re going the frugal route, according to Nomadic Matt.

Hannah from That Adventurer spent just $45 per day on a one-month tour of Canada, with most of that going to transportation!

MyFunkyTravel recommends a budget of $60-$75 per day for a Canadian backpacking adventure.

Final tally: $56 per day.

 

Mexico

Matthew from Expert Vagabond has a ton of pictures and info about his travels to Mexico, where he suggest setting aside $30-$40 per day.

Jeremy and Winnie from Go Curry Cracker (a personal finance blog – w00t!) spent $84 per day over nearly six months of travel in this country.

Manouk from Bunch of Backpackers suggest budgeting $34 per day for a cheapo trip.

Final tally: $51 per day.

 

Jamaica

Nomadic Matt suggests budgeting a hefty $50-$80 per day for even a tight backpacking budget for this country.

Ben over at Road Affair spent $52 per day on a two-week trip to this country (and he has a ton of awesome pictures to prove it!).

Alesha and Jarryd at NOMADasaurus have some great budget backpacking tips they learned on their trip to Jamaica. They suggest a budget of $50-$60 per day.

Final tally: $57 per day.

 

Belize

Lauren from Never Ending Footsteps spent $53 per day in Belize…but she didn’t really like it that much.

Dan from Break Free spent a whopping $320 per day with his wife on a week-long vacation. Whew! It looks like Belize is mostly catering to all-inclusive (read: expensive) tourists, and the other two trips in this country were only done with extreme care.

Charlie from Charlie On Travel spent $35 per day with her husband by being super-savvy about where she spent her money.

Final tally: $44 per day on a super-tight budget, or several hundred per day.

 

Costa Rica

Matthew from Expert Vagabond spent a month-long vacation in Costa Rica for $32 per day.

Yeison and Samantha from My Tan Feet recommend budgeting $75-$100 per day if you want to go on tours, but $30-$50 per day will get you by if you’re doing it on the uber-cheap.

Nomadic Matt went to Costa Rica for 20 days and spent an average of $47 per day.

Final tally: $55 per day, or more if you want to do tours and stuff.

 

Guatemala

Matthew from Expert Vagabond spent $26 per day on a two-month trip around Guatemala.

The dude from Snarky Nomad spent $31 per day on a one-month trip here.

Manouk from Bunch of Backpackers lists $46 per day as a realistic budget.

Final tally: $34 per day. Super cheap!

 

Panama

Nomadic Matt set off here with a budget of $35 per day, but actually spent $66 per day over the course of a month.

Charlie On Travel spent $31 per day while traveling for a week around the tiny Panamanian island of Bocas del Toro.

Randi and Michael from Just A Pack also spent around $40 per day while at Bocas del Toro.

Final tally: $46 per day.

 

Cuba

Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage spent two weeks visiting this country, spending $47 per day.

Nick and Dairece from Goats On The Road spent $35 per day each over the course of a three-week visit to Cuba.

Gemma and Craig from Two Scots Abroad spent $47 per day each over a three-month trip.

Final tally: $43 per day.

 

Europe

Photo courtesy of Christopher Fraser.

The United Kingdom

Kash at Budget Traveler put together a super-comprehensive guide to the England full of pictures and costs. He recommends setting aside $42-$67 per day for a cheap budget trip.

If Scotland’s more to your liking, Nomadic Matt recommends a bare-bones budget of $68 per day.

MyFunkyTravel recommends a budget of $60-$80 per day depending on your preferences.

Final tally: $65 per day.

 

Iceland

Kristin from Be My Travel Muse did a 10-day DIY camper van trip around Iceland, spending $93 per day.

Roma and Russell from Roaming Required suggest a budget of $97-$129 per day each after their week-long Icelandic road trip.

If you plan on staying in Reykjavik only, expect to spend about $80 per day, according to James and Susan from The Savvy Backpacker.

Note: Brendan from Brendan’s Adventures doesn’t say how much his trip cost, but he is a photographer and holy cow I could spend the rest of the day looking at these photos from his Iceland trip.

Final tally: $95 per day.

 

Norway

Nomadic Matt suggests a daily budget of $70 per day for Norway, assuming you’re doing it on the super cheap.

According to Dan and Casey from A Cruising Couple, you can do Norway for as little as $50 per day with their tips.

Lucy from On The Luce took a five-day trip to the fjords and spent about $153 per day, but has awesome pictures!

Final tally: $91 per day.

 

Finland

Johnny from One Step 4ward has some great tips on how to get by on $70 per day while traveling here.

Nomadic Matt recommends a trip budget of $65-$85 per day.

Petra from Restless Girl spent $86 per day on a 7-day Lapland adventure.

Final tally: $77 per day.

 

Sweden

Nomadic Matt visited Sweden for about three weeks, and spent $111 per day while there.

Allison from Eternal Arrival went on a short three-day jaunt to Sweden, spending $105 per day.

James and Susan from The Savvy Backpacker recommend a budget of $90 per day.

Final tally: $102 per day. Ouch!

 

France

Stephen from A Backpacker’s Tale spent a month in France, averaging about $89 per  day.

Nomadic Matt suggests saving up $46-$76 per day while traveling here.

Randi and Michael from Just A Pack say you’ll need about $57-$83 per day while staying in Paris.

Final tally: $73 per day.

 

Italy

Stephen from A Backpacker’s Tale spent $77 per day on a month-long tour of Italy.

You can do Italy on $60-$80 per day, according to Nomadic Matt.

James and Susan from The Savvy Backpacker recommend a budget of $54-$87 per day while in Venice, and I suppose the other big cities would probably be similar.

Final tally: $72 per day.

 

Germany

Nomadic Matt recommends a daily budget of $42-$62 per day for a trip to Germany.

Dave and Vicky from A Couple Travelers spent $62 per day on their German vacation…and they have some pretty awesome photos to prove it!

Stephen from A Backpacker’s Tale recommends a budget of $52-$73 per day for this country.

Final tally: $59 per day.

 

Spain

Natalie and Robson from Love And Road spent $43 per day on a month-long tour of Spain.

DJ from Dream Euro Trip spent $27 per day on a week-long trip here.

Nomadic Matt suggests a slightly higher budget, at $52-$62 per day.

Final tally: $42 per day.

 

Ireland

Lotte from Phenomenal Globe went all-out in on a five-day anniversary celebration vacation for $123 per day.

Audrey from That Backpacker spent $31 per day while splitting costs with a bunch of friends on a one-week road trip around Ireland.

Nomadic Matt says a budget of $42-$63 per day should do most people traveling on the cheap just fine.

Final tally: $69 per day.

 

The Netherlands

DJ from Dream Euro Trip spent $43 per day on a one-week trip here.

Susan and James from The Savvy Backpacker recommend a budget of $83 per day if you’ll be heading to Amsterdam.

Ali and Andy from Ali’s Adventures (say that ten times fast) spent $105 per day on their week-long trip to the Netherlands.

Final tally: $77 per day.

 

Switzerland

The folks over at Ridinkulous spent a whopping $136 per night on their week-long trip to Switzerland.

Nomadic Matt spent $82 per day on his week-long tour of this country. That’s way more than he usually spends. 🙂

Marta from In A Faraway Land spent just $32 per day on a week-long trip of Switzerland. Well done!

Final tally: $83 per day.

 

Austria

Sonia and Ankur spent a total of $135 per day each on a ten-day Austrian tour.

Susan and James recommend a daily budget of $54 while visiting the capital city of Vienna.

Jazzy from Road Affair has an awesome guide full of tons of photos. She recommends a daily budget of $44-$65 per day.

Final tally: $87 per day.

 

Greece

Jodie from That Little Backpacker spent $74 per person on a week-long vacation to Greece.

If you’ll be checking out Athens, Susan and James from The Savvy Backpacker recommend a budget of $61 per day.

Nomadic Matt says you can get by here on a budget as low as $42-$63 per day.

Final tally: $62 per day.

 

Poland

Charlie On Travel spent an amazing $12 per day while visiting Poland for three weeks (although she does admit she got free good/lodging for five days).

Nomadic Matt also agrees that Poland is cheaphe recommends a budget of around $30-$45 per day.

Susan and James from The Savvy Backpacker recommend setting aside $32 per day while in the capital city of Krakow.

Final tally: $27 per day. Sweeeeeeet!

 

Wrapping Up

Hopefully I’ve shown you that travel doesn’t have to be something that costs tens of thousands of dollars. If you pick your destination and mode of travel wisely, you can afford to travel too!

Related: How To Travel The World On $50 A Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter (affiliate link—and yes, this is Nomadic Matt’s book!).

 

What countries have you been to, and how much did your trip cost? Leave a comment below!

 

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Maximize Your Travel Adventures With A Travel Budget Planner https://www.notoriousdebt.com/travel-budget-planner/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/travel-budget-planner/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:00:52 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1301 Inside: Keeping up a budget while traveling doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are the best travel budget planners so you can have enough $ for your next travels too!   If you would have asked me about a […]

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Inside: Keeping up a budget while traveling doesn’t have to be a drag. Here are the best travel budget planners so you can have enough $ for your next travels too!

 

You don't have to be rich to travel. In fact, if you use a travel budget planner, you can travel almost anywhere regardless of how much you have saved. It's all in how you plan and execute your trip. I'll show you how in this post!If you would have asked me about a “travel budget” a few years ago, I probably would have stared at you like you’d just grown a third eyeball.

That was before I started using a budget in my everyday life, though. Now that I’ve seen the power of having a budget (principally in not being broke as f%*k all the time), I’ve actually been able to save up some money so that I can afford to travel.

This fall I’ll be taking my first-ever international trip (not counting Canada) abroad, to Peru. The only reason I’m able to take this trip is because I use a budget every day.

Peru is generally considered to be a pretty cheap place to travel, but even so, I’m not about to let my trip get the best of my budget. I worked hard for that money, thanks, and I’m not about to let it all fly out the window with a glorious cry of YOLO!

Nope. Instead, I’ve got plans to reign in my impulses and spending. In this post, I’ll show you what I’m doing to plan out my trip budget and how I’ll stick to it once I’m in-country.

 

Travel budget planners help you plan trips to cool places like Machu Picchu.

Behold! The power of budgeting! Without my home budget I would never have been able to afford this trip. With my travel budget I’ll make sure I can jet off to another cool place sometime soon.

 

Plan Your Travel Budget

One. Million. Dollars. Mua ha ha!

Remember that line from Dr. Evil in Austin Powers?

Of course I’d like to spend a million dollars on travel, but sadly, I picked a poor version of a sugar daddy. Shoulda gone for Bill Gates (sorry Zach!).

Instead, I’ve got to plan out my budget for what I can spend ahead of time to reign in my spending. Otherwise, the next thing you know, I’ll be buying Learjets, Maseratis, and lots and lots of sushi.

For more deets on how to plan your travel budget, download my free travel budget planner:

 

It roughly follows the deets in my last post about how to save for travel.

 

Should You Track Your Expenses While Travelling?

YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES.

It can be tempting to just throw caution to the wind while travelling. After all, you’re out having fun, trying to enjoy yourself—how can you do that if you’re fretting over pennies and nickels? Budgets can be tricky enough to keep up with in real life. Now, add 10X more fun things to spend your money on.

Here’s the kicker, though: if you spend all of your money now (or even go into debt and have to pay it off later), that’s less money for you to travel in the future. And you do want to take more than one trip in your life, right?

Related: How To Travel The World On $50 A Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter (affiliate link)

 

Find A Good Travel Budget Tracking System

Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be painful. There are a lot of ways you can track your budget, just like with your normal home budget.

It’s easiest to decide beforehand how you want to track your budget—do you want to have a set spending limit per day, or by category (lodging, meals, tours, etc…)? This can help you pick out an effective travel budgeting system.

Here are a few types to consider:

 

Envelope Budget

Each day/week/whatever, withdraw a set amount of cash from an ATM and place it in an envelope. You can either divvy it up by time period or by category, whichever way you choose to track your budget by.

If you have money left over when you withdraw more funds, congratulations! Add it to the pile and save up for later or go splurge on something fancy.

This budget style is great for people who want a cheap/free budget system and need some cold, hard limits on their spending. You can get the yummy street tacos, but no Learjets for you.

 

Written Budget

With this budget system, you simply keep track of your spending on paper. I suggest a wee notebook because a) tiny notebooks are the cutest things ever, b) it’s easy to keep in a pocket, and c) you can keep as detailed of records as you want.

Of course, you do have to remember to enter in each of your purchases before you forget the amounts, tally it up, subtract from the spending limits, etc… That can be a drag while you’re on vacation, but if that’s your style, then flaunt that flag like hardcore nerd you are. It’s OK. We’re all nerds around here.

 

Smartphone App Budget

Surprisingly, there are actually a ton of cool smartphone budgeting apps that are specific to travel! Who knew?

Here are a few of the recommended ones:

These can be much easier and more fun to use. Of course, you’ll still have to remember to enter in the deets of each purchase. Apps also will cost you a few bucks; but if that’s what it takes to make you successful in following your budget, it’s well-worth the cost.

Related Post: How To Learn A Language On A Budget

 

Bottom Line

Travel budget planning and tracking doesn’t have to be a drag. If you find a good system that works for you and keep up with it, you’ll be way happier in the end.

You’ll come home to the best financial situation possible, you’ll have more money for future travel, and you’ll still have a great experience to boot.

 

Have you tried using a travel budget planner before, or tracked your spending while traveling? How well did it work? Leave a comment below!

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How To Save For Travel Regardless Of How Much You Make https://www.notoriousdebt.com/save-for-travel-regardless-how-much-you-make/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/save-for-travel-regardless-how-much-you-make/#comments Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:00:23 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1238 Inside: You don’t have to be rich to travel! With these easy planning steps, you can learn how to save for travel too. If I can do it, so can you!   $7,354. That’s how much a dream 9-day spa […]

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Inside: You don’t have to be rich to travel! With these easy planning steps, you can learn how to save for travel too. If I can do it, so can you!

 

What’s the best way to save up for travel? It’s not as hard as you might think—but it’ll take a little bit of legwork to find out the right savings goal for you. Don’t worry; I’ll show you exactly how to do it in this post! $7,354.

That’s how much a dream 9-day spa cruise vacation around Germany and Scandinavia with round-trip airfare costs for me and my husband.

Is the sticker shock hitting you yet? Unless you have a sugar daddy/momma and/or were born with a silver spoon, it probably has.

I certainly don’t have that kind of cash laying around—and if I did, I’ve got a hell of a lot better uses for it.

Nevertheless, I’ll be going on my first international trip ever this fall (Canada doesn’t count). Instead of a Scandinavian adventure, I’ll be jetsetting off to Peru for a two-week backpacking trip.

The best part? I won’t be spending anywhere near $7,354, and I’ll be fully able to save up enough cash so that I can pay for the trip in full before I go.

This hasn’t always been possible, though. I’m still not making the big bucks yet, but now that I’ve learned how to effective plan and save for travel, it’s opening new doors for me. I’ll share some of my tricks with you in this post so that you can afford to save for travel too—regardless of your current income.

(P.S., click below to get a free copy of my Travel Budget Planner that I made to go along with this post!)

 

Make A List Of The Places You’d Like To Go

The world is your oyster. Theoretically, you can go see anyplace you want. Think about what it would be like to go to each place—would you really be excited to go there?

Make a list of all the places you’d like to go now. It’s easy to overlook a lot of places if you’re so focused on one area, though. Ask yourself: if someone texted you right now and asked you if you wanted to go to X, Y, Z country, would you be excited? You might surprise yourself.

In fact, this happened to me:

How to save for travel to Peru...step one: Get a friend to go with you

 

I’d never before in my life considered Peru. But when offered the chance to go, I suddenly realized: Yes, I really would like to go to Peru! I hadn’t even really looked into it before because I’d been so focused on Scandinavia. I guess there are more things than Vikings and awesome metal bands in the world.

Moral of the story? Keep your options open.

Be as specific as possible with the countries you’d like to visit. Costs can vary dramatically from country to country in the same region (and even from city to city, but let’s keep this simple).

Keep some cheaper places in mind, like the following:

  • Almost anyplace in Southeast Asia
  • Parts of South America
  • South Africa
  • Greece
  • Western Europe
  • Guatemala
  • India

For more budget-friendly travel locations, check out Rough Guide’s list, as well as Forbes’ 2017 list.

 

Consider How You’d Be Willing To Travel

Of course I’d like to take a slow lazy trip down the Nile while people fan me and feed me grapes. But let’s be real here. I prefer strawberries. 🙂

How much are you willing to sacrifice just to be able to go travel places? Would you be willing to give up the hoity-toity hotels in favor of hostels, or even couch surfing? Where do you draw the line? Are you willing to float just above it to go see places or do you require fanners and grape-feeders?

Don’t discount something you haven’t tried yet either. I’ve never in my life stayed in a hostel, yet that’s almost exclusively what I’ll be doing in South America. Honestly, I’m looking forward to it—I want to challenge myself and meet new people (a challenge for me in itself), and a hostel will let me do that.

Setting your expectations for travel now will help you in the research process so you can budget accordingly. It’ll also make your trip more fun. Maybe there are some cheaper options that you hadn’t considered before and could be an adventure in their own right!

 

Research Travel Costs For Each Location

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of potential travel visits and how fancy you’d like to go, it’s time to research some prices.

For each potential travel location, make a list of the following:

  • Airfare
  • Train/Taxi Fares
  • Required Immunizations
  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Tours
  • Souvenirs
  • Travel insurance

You can use the wonders of the Google machine to do this research, because I’m not sure I’ve seen a comprehensive list of average costs by country. For some of the more obscure things like tours and lodging, you can look up the prices directly of a few places and take an average. For souvenirs, just make a guesstimate.

 

Decide On A Target Travel Savings Goal

Once you have the costs laid out for each of your preferred destinations, tally up all the daily costs to get the average cost per day (meals, lodging, tours, souvenirs).

Ask yourself: how long do you want to travel for? A week? A month? Six months? Multiply the average cost per day by the number of days you’d like to be gone for. Then, add up your fixed costs to get there (passport, immunizations, airfare) to get the total trip cost.

Now, pick one of your destinations. You can choose the cheapest one on your list if you’re strapped for cash, and because you already identified it as an awesome place you’d like to visit, it’s not like you’re making do with less than you would have otherwise preferred. Or, if you’ve got the ability, choose one of the more expensive ones on the list. The world is ripe for the picking, my friends!

To be on the safe side, add an extra 10% to this final estimate (simply multiply your savings target by 1.10 to easily add this amount on). Who ever came in under budget when travelling anyways? You’re far more likely to go over. If you want to be uber-safe, you can also choose a 20% buffer.

What number did you get? Congratulations—this is now your savings goal. Now we just need to save up that amount of cash.

 

Start A New, Separate Savings Account

Go to your bank and start up a separate savings account. You can do this at most banks under your current account—you just create another bucket.

If you can, it’s a good idea to name your new savings account. Mine is named “Badass Family Reunion/Peru Trip” for a combined savings bucket for my summer trip savings. Don’t worry; you can always change it again if you have a new savings goal in the future.

Naming your account makes it easier to do two things: remember which savings account is for what (rather than remembering random strings of numbers—this isn’t a memory test and I would lose it anyways), and for making it seem more real.

Rather than contributing to a seeming black hole, you’re contributing to “Badass Peru Trip” or whatever your account is called. It breaks down that psychological barrier to saving.

 

Contribute To Your Savings Account Regularly

If you can swing it in your budget, set your new savings account up to autodraft a set amount each month.

If you actually have a date in mind for when you’d like to go, I highly recommend setting up an autodraft. Divide your target travel savings goal by the number of months between now and when you’ll need the cash, and autodraft that amount each month into your savings account.

Even if you don’t have a set time period in mind for when you want to travel, it’s a good idea to set up an autodraft so you can at least ensure you are making some progress towards your travel savings goal. Of course, feel free to contribute more, which is where the next section comes in…

 

Work Yo’ Ass Off!

If you really want to do this, you can make it happen that much faster by working harder to save up some extra dough. You don’t need to become a slave to the grindstone to do this (although that is an option), but you can do things here and there to save up more money faster.

First, you can earn more money. You can start a small side hustle by doing things like mowing lawns, baking treats, writing articles, driving for Uber or Lyft, or any number of things. You can do paid surveys in your spare time, or even get a second part-time job.

You can also cut back your current expenses. Everything in your budget deserves a hard look. Ask yourself: would you be willing to sacrifice each item in order to reach your travel savings goal that much faster?

Nix the things you’d be willing to do without and keep the stuff you can’t do without. A girl does need shred metal guitar lessons, after all.

Finally, read some success stories to motivate you. It is possible to work hard and save up a ton of money for an awesome travel adventure, no matter where you’re starting from. This dude worked a $9/hour job and saved up $14,000 for a trip in six months, and this chick saved up $18,000 as a 22-year-old, for example.

No matter where you’re starting from (or even how long it takes you), if you save up for your travel goals smartly, you’ll be able to go.

Now, off with thee! Fly! 🙂

 

How do you save for travel? Leave a comment below!

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Get Financially Fit With The Financial Gym https://www.notoriousdebt.com/financially-fit-financial-gym/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/financially-fit-financial-gym/#comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:00:57 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1226 Inside: Learning to manage your money is hard. With The Financial Gym, you don’t have to go it alone—even if you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck now.   Everyone wants to be as thin as a Victoria Secret model in a bikini […]

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Inside: Learning to manage your money is hard. With The Financial Gym, you don’t have to go it alone—even if you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck now.

 

If you'd rather get teeth pulled then learn how to manage your money, you NEED to check out The Financial Gym. In this interview Shannon, the founder/lead financial trainer, shows you how they work with you one-on-one to whip your finances into shape.Everyone wants to be as thin as a Victoria Secret model in a bikini or as ripped as Gerard Butler in a speedo from the movie 300.

Working out can be tough, though—that’s probably why two out of every three adult Americans is actually overweight or obese.

Your finances aren’t much different. We all want as much money as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, yet most of us are still living paycheck-to-paycheck.

 

A Financial Gym For Your Money?

Both of these challenges require a lot of work to overcome, but you can get there if you want it bad enough. A few rogue weirdos like me can learn to work out and manage money by ourselves and actually keep up with it, but not everyone works that way.

I’m fully learning this myself—after trying to teach myself the guitar for years, I’m only making progress now that I’m paying for lessons each week (bonus: I just learned to shred like Van Halen. My name’s VanSomeren. That’s right.).

So, what do you do if you need help? Most financial advisors won’t work with you unless you make a metric @$%^ ton of money every year (yes, that’s the scientific term), or they’ll charge you way more fees than you’re able to pay, especially if you are still living paycheck-to-paycheck.

That’s why I decided to sit down with Shannon McLay.

Shannon was a financial planner from a big firm that catered to high-falutin’ clients, but she wanted to help out people who really needed her help more. So, she left to create her own business—The Financial Gym—to help out the rest of us normal folks. She’s a woman with a mission to help you get better at managing your money, so of course I had to learn more.

Related book: Train Your Way To Financial Fitness by Shannon McLay (affiliate link)

 

What kind of person can you help? Can you even help people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck?

What I love about my company and why I started it is to provide financial planning to anyone. With plans starting at $85 a month, it’s as affordable as two nights out or a few lattes.

Many of our clients have started with us living paycheck-to-paycheck and the reason why was that they were not optimizing their life and getting the coaching they needed to break free from that. Our clients not only have healthy emergency funds and savings but they are not living paycheck-to-paycheck as the investment in their financial health is paying off. ​

 

Who would not be ready to sign up for The Financial Gym?

Honestly, we’ve had clients start with us with $200 in the bank and $200,000 in the bank, so anyone could sign up.

But, I would only suggest signing up if you are truly ready to commit your time and energy to getting financially fit. Just like getting physically fit, it’s going to take work, but the great thing for our clients is that you will not have to do it alone. ​You will have a financial trainer available to you every step of the way.

 

What does a typical one-on-one coaching training program look like?

Every coaching relationship starts with an initial in-depth meeting that we lovingly call the “financially naked session” and this is where our clients get financially naked with us and share all of their financial details including bank account balances, student loan debt, credit card debt, monthly expenses, etc.

We follow up that meeting with a financial plan meeting where you get a roadmap for where you want to go the next year and beyond. After that you can have as many informal check-ins as you need, but we meet formally every three months to discuss the financial results from the previous quarter, what worked, what didn’t and set the plan for the upcoming three months. ​

 

What kind of follow-up do you have with your clients after the first meeting? Routine meetings, encouragement, etc…?

​90% of our clients achieve the financial results that they want and all of them would say that it’s due to the accountability and encouragement of their financial fitness trainer. Our trainers not only understand personal finance, but they understand their client’s unique goals and challenges and they approach their client relationships with a compassion and empathy that’s nowhere to be found in another financial services company. ​

 

Do you offer classes online as well?

​We mostly offer classes in person in our New York gym, but we plan to roll out a more robust online class structure by early summer. ​

(Note: you don’t need to be local to NYC to sign up for an individual coaching plan. You can sign up for the coaching plan regardless of where you live. The classes are just extra.)

 

How much do your services cost?

We have monthly plans typically starting at $85 a month, although we have a student plan that starts at $30 a month. If you just want a basic plan or roadmap created, those start for a one-time fee of $250.​

 

Do you offer payment plans for new clients who can’t afford to pay for your services up-front?

​At $85 a month, most of our clients can afford it, especially since we accept credit cards. Most clients easily make more than this after one to two months of working with their financial trainer. ​

(Note: This can seem like a lot if you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck, but remember: you won’t come out $85 in the hole because of this. The reason you’re paying for this is so you’ll have more than $85 available to you each month! If only my guitar lessons worked the same way…)

 

What’s your least-favorite and most favorite parts of being a financial trainer?

​I honestly love everything about being a financial trainer. We truly have the greatest job ever, we have a front row seat to our client’s financial and personal journeys. Some days are hard when your clients have setbacks whether their personal or financial but even when they have setbacks, I’m just thankful that I’m there to help them pick up the pieces and get back on their feet and move forward.

 

There you have it, dudes! If you’re having a hard time setting your finances in order, definitely consider signing up with The Financial Gym. Even the accountability alone is worth it; I doubt your Uncle Bob would cheer you on and guide you like a dedicated financial trainer.

Now, go forth and be the metaphorical Warren Buffet in a speedo that you wish to be!

 

 

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How Much Money Did Lil Dicky Actually Save In “$ave Dat Money”? https://www.notoriousdebt.com/lil-dicky-save-dat-money/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/lil-dicky-save-dat-money/#comments Wed, 05 Apr 2017 11:00:35 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1194 Inside: Ever heard a rap song about saving money? Me either-until I heard this one! But how much did Lil Dicky REALLY save in “$ave Dat Money”? I decided to see…   Have you ever heard a rap song about […]

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Ever heard a rap song about SAVING money? Me either…until I heard this hilarious song! But how much DID he actually save by doing these things over the course of a year? I broke out my calculator to find out, and the answers might surprise you!Inside: Ever heard a rap song about saving money? Me either-until I heard this one! But how much did Lil Dicky REALLY save in “$ave Dat Money”? I decided to see…

 

Have you ever heard a rap song about saving money? No? Then today is your lucky day, my friends. Your life isn’t complete until you hear a rap song about saving money.

Let me introduce you to Lil Dicky.

He doesn’t rap about buying Bentleys and poppin’ caps. In fact, he does the opposite. One of his songs is even bears the name $ave Dat Money.

If you haven’t heard it, stop.

You need this song in your life like yesterday. Check it out (warning: NSFW or people who don’t have a raunchy sense of humor or a fondness for naughty words):


 

Shooting A Rap Video About Saving Money…For Free

I think one of my favorite things about this video is that the dude made it entirely without spending a dime, and even made money in the end.

The clips of him walking through a ritzy neighborhood and knocking on random doors to see if he can use people’s homes to shoot a rap video (without paying for it) are about the funniest thing I’ve seen since Zach tried to sing an accurate rendition of SexyBack.

If you’ve got some time to spare, check it out this hilarious mini-documentary about the making of the video.

Pretty hilarious concept, right? Then I started thinking (or rather, Zach proposed it as a topic)…How much would Lil Dicky actually save by doing all those things for a year?

So, of course I had to get out my Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass to scope it out.

I’ll break down each claim one-by-one. I’ll look for the most recent estimates of actual spending patterns from studies. If a study was more than a few years old, I adjusted the numbers to 2017 dollars using this nifty calculator. Whenever hard data isn’t available, I’ll go for an estimate. And as a last resort, I’ll just tell you why the thing is good to do.

Ladies and gentleman, buckle up. This is gonna be a fun ride.

 

Without further ado, I present: Lil Dicky, $ave Dat Money

Verse 1

Rap game got it all wrong
We ain’t ’bout to go and spend money just to flex on her
We ain’t really got it like ya’ll
I’m the type of motherfucker that’ll check the check
Do the math, I ain’t never gettin’ robbed

Those margaritas not goin’ on my card
I ain’t ’bout to split a damn thing for convenience sake
I’m at the restaurant workin’ that waitress

Overpayment errors in restaurants are not well-documented, sadly. But, do you know what is? Medical billing errors! (Cue sad music)

11% of Medicare dollars are billed in error. Let’s assume the same rate applies to other insurances. The average non-retired adult pays an average of $798.15 per year in out-of-pocket expenses. Multiply them together, and voilà!
Verdict: $87.80

 

You ain’t heard of Lil Dave, or L the Jew biz major
Fuck you know ’bout the world he was raised in?
I’ve been saving money since I was motherfuckin’ 13
I wear the same pair of jeans everyday
Jean size varies according to dudes’ leggage. Let’s assume that one week of jeans equals one load of laundry. My laundromat charges $2.75 per load of laundry. Multiply that by 52 and hey presto!

Verdict: $143

 

 

Free sandwiches, homie, two stamps away
You can get a steak-and-cheese footlong for $8.69 in LA. Why LA? Because that’s where rappers live, right?

Let’s assume he gets two sandwiches per month, or 24 per year. If you get a free sandwich after 10 stamps, that’s two free sandwiches per year.

Verdict: $17.38

 

Book flight December but I leave in May

You can save a sweet wad of cash by not waiting till the last minute to book your flight.

Verdict: $346

 

My drugs are generic but still work the same

Generic drugs cost about 30% less than name-brand drugs. The average annual per capita out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs is $195.55, and $338 for over-the-counter drugs.

Verdict: $160

 

I get logins for Netflix from my cousin Greg (Thanks, Greg!)

The standard Netflix packages run $9.99 per month.

Verdict: $119.88

 

Verse 2

I ain’t parkin’ that unless the meter green homie
Let’s assume that you can save about one hour per month by parking at a green meter and that meters run about $1.82/hour in downtown LA (because that’s where rappers live, right?).

Verdict: $21.84

 

Hair cut several months in-between homie

Most dudes get their hair cut once per month or so. If the average haircut costs $28, you can save a nice bit o’ cash by getting your hair cut once per quarter instead of every month.

Verdict: $224

 

Hit the motherfuckin’ lights when I leave homie
You can save about 7.2 cents by turning off the lights during an 8-hour workday. Let’s assume you do this every workday for a year (240 workdays).

Verdict: $17.28

 

Single ply TP ass bleed
Double-ply TP costs $1.75 per roll at my local grocery store and comes with 500 sheets/roll, making it 0.350 cents per sheet. Single-ply TP from the same brand costs $1.02 per roll and comes with 1,000 sheets/roll, making it 0.102 cents/sheet.

If the average American uses 57 sheets of TP per day, we can multiply that out and subtract the differences to come out with the final total.

Verdict: $51.59

 

Air B&B the mother fucker, least I’m never there
Apparently Lil Dicky shares a house with three other dudes rather than living in a fancy mansion (whaaaaaat?). If you rent out a room in LA you can expect to make $232 per week, according to AirBnB. But, I’m sure Lil Dicky needs a place to stay when he isn’t crashing other rapper’s video shoots, so let’s assume he only rents out his room for half the year.

Verdict: $6,032

 

I’m not in Cali, why the fuck my company in Delaware?

I honestly have no number for this one. Apparently Delaware is a huge tax haven, though.

 

Happy hour takin’ out the chicken, I don’t even care
That applies to both dating and wings

This varies according to which restaurants you frequent and how often you opt for the happy hour vs. full-price menu. I have no numbers for this one either, sadly.

 

Peep matinees phone bill got the motherfuckin’ fam on it

There are two claims here: peep matinees (that’s a movie matinee right? I feel so uncultured now) and staying on a family cell phone plan.

Matinees are $2.25 cheaper than full-price tickets at my local movie theater. If the average American goes out to a movie five times per year, that’s $11.25 saved. You can also save up to $300 per year by staying on a family plan as opposed to going it alone.

Verdict: $311.25

 

401k rollin’ over bands on it

I don’t know what “rollin’ over bands on it” means, but I do know what a 401k rollover is. It’s a way to consolidate all of your old 401k plans into one (ideally) low-cost 401k. How much you save depends on what the fees were with your old 401ks, how low the fees are at your new 401k, and how much money you roll over.

 

Coppin’ sweaters in the summer, went and sail on ’em

The fuck you rappers bragging ’bout? You overpaying for it!

I….don’t know. Although rappers generally are overpaying for things, though. 🙂

 

Verse 3

I ain’t never hit a bar with a cover
The average cover charge for an event at a bar is $5. If you go to a bar once per month, say, and avoid ones with cover charges, you can keep a tidy sum in your bank account by the end of the year.

Verdict: $60

Related post: 5 Things I’ve Saved On By Staying A Tomboy…And 5 Things I Haven’t

 

Low thread count, hard with the covers

My local store sells 3,000-thread-count sheets for $52 and 200-thread-count sheets for $25.

Verdict: $27

 

Free trial memberships though
I never join the shiz though
Fuck you think this is though?

This is another one that’s hard to quantify. What trial memberships are you getting? For how long? It all depends, and thus it’s hard to calculate.

 

Frequent flying like a motherfuckin’ finch tho

I myself just booked a flight to Peru with airline points for free. Otherwise, I would have spent several hundred dollars.

Verdict: $774

 

General Tso, half a dozen on the stick
Just so I can whet the appetite of dick
What you talkin’ about?

I don’t know what you’re talking about. General Tso chicken comes on a stick? Again, I’m so uncultured…

 

My AC never doing nothing, blow fans

It costs 39 cents/hour to run a whole-home AC unit, versus 1 cent/hour to run a fan. Let’s assume that Lil Dicky runs his fan instead of the AC unit for 12 hours/day for three months out of the year. He can save a ton of money by avoiding the AC!

Verdict: $431.60

 

Walgreens card shoppin’ all the off brands
Boy go hard when collecting, got Venmo

Again, impossible to calculate. What cards are you buying? How much are your friends borrowing from you?

 

Save every motherfuckin’ roach, tryna smoke
I feel like I should know this since I live in Colorado. Sadly, I don’t.

 

Check the clothes in my drawers, I ain’t playin’ around
It’s LD, lil boy, Mr. Hand-me-down
The average American millennial dude spends $475 per year on clothes. You can’t use all hand-me-downs, though, so let’s assume 30% of his wardrobe is in fact from other people and he didn’t pay for it.

Verdict: $142.50

 

Dirty drawers gettin’ worn, can you blame me now?
You think I got $4.50 up in quarters on me well I fucking don’t!

Ummm….gross. Let’s assume a week’s worth of dirty underpants takes up 1/3 of a load in a washing machine (yes, the machines are tiny at my coin-operated laundromat). That means you’d have one full load every three weeks, or 17 loads of underpants laundry in a year. According to Lil Dicky, it costs $4.50 per load of laundry.

Verdict: $76.50

Related: We’re savings $5 in quarters every week by using this cheap foldable indoor drying rack (affiliate link). That’s $260 in a year!

 

Verse 4

If you at a restaurant and got an iced coffee
And the waiter been refillin’ that without a word of caution
And you get your fuckin’ bill and you can see ’em double chargin’
For the coffee and you told ’em there’s a problem
Sing a long like
Ohh don’t double charge for me for that
Don’t double charge me, we like
Ohh don’t double charge for me for that
Don’t do it to yourself
‘Cause I might just ask what the ice cube’s worth
What the ice cube’s worth
That’s the only differentiate in making this a non free perk
And I might make work more difficult for you than it need be
So think about it, take a minute let it breathe b
Wow.

Did you know the average price of a coffee is $2.70?

Verdict: $2.70

 

But think about it bro, you saw me get the burger with the bacon on the side
After looking at the price of the side, of just bacon and comparing it
To what the difference in a cheeseburger verse the bacon cheeseburger was in making my decision
I would hate to be the waiter, tryin’ to tell me something different
Imma get on Yelp in a minute and review this piece of shit place like only a **** know how
Unless you take the extra coffee off I might get loud
Unless you, oh, it was just an accident?
You didn’t even mean that?
I’m so embarrassed

I couldn’t find any hard numbers on how much a bacon cheeseburger, a regular cheeseburger, and ala carte bacon costs at the average diner.

But to guesstimate, let’s say 20 cents?

Verdict: $0.20

 

How much did Lil Dicky actually save in
$ave Dat Money”?

Let’s cut to the chase. Drumroll, please….

Lil Dicky saved at least $9,046.52.

That’s pretty impressive!

Even though this rap song was meant as a jest, it still makes a great point: you can save a ton of money each year just by questioning the little things in your life.

What item surprised you most on this list? What do you think he could add, and how much would that save per year? Leave a comment below!

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Five Reasons Why Blogging Is A Great Side Hustle Idea https://www.notoriousdebt.com/five-reasons-blogging-is-a-great-side-hustle/ https://www.notoriousdebt.com/five-reasons-blogging-is-a-great-side-hustle/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:29:42 +0000 https://www.notoriousdebt.com/?p=1185 Inside: Blogging can be a tough nut to crack. But if you persist, here are some reasons why blogging is a great side hustle, or even a full-time job! Last week I wrote an epic post entitled Five Reasons Why […]

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Inside: Blogging can be a tough nut to crack. But if you persist, here are some reasons why blogging is a great side hustle, or even a full-time job!

I'm not gonna lie; blogging is HARD work. But, if you persist, it has a lot of things going for it and blogging can be a great side hustle. Just make sure you know what you're getting into!Last week I wrote an epic post entitled Five Reasons Why Blogging Is A Terrible Side Hustle Idea. It garnered a lot of attention because I shed some light on some of the lesser-touted aspects of blogging.

I still stick by my guns; I think blogging is probably a terrible side hustle for a lot of people. It isn’t the end-all-be-all side hustle for everyone. It’s no different from other things; not every has the stuff for elite professions like being a doctor, a lawyer, a CEO, or a corn detasseler.

Why is blogging a great side hustle?

However, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t also say that for some people, blogging can be a fantastic side hustle, or even a full-time profession.

There’s a lot to like about it. It’s no wonder why it’s so popular. Hell, I’m doing it.

Reason #1: Startup Costs Are Low

The only requirements to get your blog up and launched is hosting, which you can get for less than $50 per year from a quality provider. Everything else on top of that is extra.

But be warned—the extras can easily add up. If you want to be truly successful, you will need to invest in at least some add-ons, like social media scheduling tools, website services, email providers, faster hosting, etc… The list goes on and on.

Reason #2: You’ll Have The Ultimate Flexible Schedule

You can literally work on your blog whenever you want. Up at 2:00 in the morning and still in your tighty-whities? Go for it. The internet is full of people in tighty-whities.

For me, this worked out great over the summer when I was away on travel for a week at a time. I batch-wrote my articles before I headed out, popped them into WordPress, and scheduled it to come out while I was in the middle of Wyoming and far away from any internet source.

You can also work literally wherever you are. Fun fact: I’ve worked on this blog in coffee shops, laundromats, airports, hotel rooms, in-laws’ homes, in Denver, in Seattle, on lunch breaks at employer’s offices, and with a cat trying to hijack the keyboard at home (she wants you to know: aaaaaaasdfjgshgjjjjjjjjjjjjjk).

The only thing that doesn’t lend itself well to flexibility is responding to people’s comments and social media interactions. But, in general, you can get away with working just about anytime and anywhere as a blogger, as evidenced by the increasing popularity of digital nomads.

Reason # 3: There Are A Lot Of Ways You Can Monetize Your Blog

Blogging made me squeamish at first because it still feels kinda weird for me to make money outside of my normal day job. Luckily for weenies like me, though, there are a lot of ways you can make money with a blog:

  • Create and sell products like ebooks and courses
  • Ad revenue from Google Adsense or another advertising network
  • Ad revenue from privately placed ads (yes, you can rent out your blog as real estate)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sponsored posts

Of course, even if there are a lot of options, you still do have to get out of your shell a bit. People won’t just come to your blog waving money in your face like some exotic Hollywood stripper.

This has been one of my biggest challenges so far—it’s easy to blog, it’s hard to blog and make money. In my first year of blogging I made a measly $14.63. I could have bought soooooo many gumballs though!

Related post: Make More Money: A Fear-Busting Game Plan To Start Side Hustling

Reason #4: Your Earning Potential Is Huge

You can make a shit ton of money by blogging! Don’t believe me? Check out these archives from popular* bloggers below:

*Key word: popular. You’ll generally earn more money as you become more popular—which means that just starting out, you likely will earn little to nothing.

The reason these bloggers make so much money is because they’ve figured out how to decouple the amount of effort they put in for a set monetary rewards. I could write one blog post and recommend a product, and if 1% of people buy it, I might need hundreds of people to visit the blog before I make a few bucks.

A more popular blogger, though, could write the same blog post and get hundreds of thousands of views, and make a ton more money.

Reason #5: It’s A Great Creative Outlet

Blogging is much more than a money-making opportunity. You get the chance to make your voice heard by a large group of people—something few of us get to do.

First, this scared me. I am a wimp when it comes to meeting people in real life. I moved from northern Michigan to Alaska when I was 18 because I thought there were too many people in northern Michigan, for pete’s sake. But, I realized that I have something to say to others—something that may just change their lives—and blogging is a great way for me to do that.

Blogging is a great side hustle - krummholz fir

Being successful at blogging means you’re resilient – like these weirdly shaped trees! “Krummholz” trees grow at or above treeline where they really shouldn’t be, but they persist despite a ton of obstacles. Photo courtesy of Checkermallow.

Plus, it’s a whole different type of creative outlet from anything else I’ve ever tried before. I had to design my blog, write each post, and design the images that go along with it. Then, I had to devise a social media strategy to spread my message. Now, I’m working on a marketing plan to figure out how to make money off this dang thing. So far, I’ve “failed.”

It’s a failure, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to learn and get better at a completely different skill than I’ve ever had (or likely will have) the chance to improve. Biology school sure as hell doesn’t teach you how to market yourself for a profit.

That’s probably one of my favorite things about blogging so far, though. Even if I were to never make another dime, I’d be happy chugging away at this blog week after week because it’s teaching me things I’ve never had the chance to learn before.

It’s changing me. It’s insulating me from failures and making me more bold in everyday life. Calling up an insurance company to argue about coverage? I would’ve shied away from that before, but now, bring it (*thumps chest*)! I just killed my website last week and revived it with help from my hosting company later. Whachyou got, son?

Is blogging really a great side hustle?

Now that I’ve been blogging for a little bit, I can definitively say that yes*, blogging is a great side hustle.

*If you exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Don’t need immediate income
  • Are persistent
  • Are adaptable
  • Are creative
  • Are a good writer (or at least willing to learn and improve)

What do you think? Have you ever had a blog, and has it been “successful” by your standards? Leave a comment below!

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