When there is a discrepancy between the cost of what you love to do in life, and what you can actually afford to do, sometimes it can be a tough decision to make. What makes it easier, is the ability to plan ahead and understand what you value in life.
For me, aside from loved ones and family, my passion lies in traveling. I’ve always known that, but unfortunately, what I love to do just happens to be expensive. So up until a few years ago, I just didn’t have the money to go anywhere. I was either getting out of debt, or furiously saving for a down payment.
This is why I am so adamant about not necessarily having to find passion within your job in order to lead a fulfilling life (I just noticed all of the comments on that post disappeared when I left my old commenting system – thanks for nothing, IntenseDebate!). Your job can help fuel your passions that lie outside of the normal 9-5. But that also means knowing what other categories you need to scale back on in order to afford it. I’m a budget traveler. I bought a small home. I keep my grocery budget low. I find frugal ways to have fun. And I increased my income. All in the name of travel and funding my RRSP.
So, with my traveling done for the rest of 2011, I thought it would be interesting to see how much money I’ve actually spent:
2011 travel expenses = $7,080 (approximate)
I was actually a little shocked. That’s a lot of money, and I still struggle with the idea of spending money, instead of saving it. $7,080 represents about 8.85% of my gross annual income for 2011 – based on my projection of making $80,000 this year.
But while I feel like 8.85% is quite high, I think I’m okay with that. Because really, this is the reason why I’ve been working so hard. If I didn’t take on all these extra freelance projects, I would have never been able to afford to go on most of these trips, while still staying on track with my savings goals. So if I’m prepaying my mortgage by 20%, and I’m still saving for my emergency fund and stuffing $800/month into my RRSPs, why shouldn’t I travel? Right? Hmm, well, maybe. I do feel guilty now that I’ve actually add up all the costs.
I included my Montreal trip because I paid for the flight a few weeks ago. The spending portion of the trip will fall under my 2012 travel expenses.
$0 – Toronto
$400 – New Orleans
$2,500 – Toronto/New York City
$0 – Las Vegas
$230 – Seattle
$500 – San Francisco
$300 – Oregon
$400 – Tofino/Vancouver Island
$500 – Seattle (includes the price of 2 concerts)
$825 – Chicago
$625 – Montreal (flight only)
$800 – Victoria (approximate expenses for 6 trips home in 2011)
I’m not sure what 2012 has in store for me. I’d like to travel about the same amount as this year, but I’d also really like to spend a year saving as much money as possible. And I feel like out of all the years to do it, 2012 is probably the best bet. I think my income is going to be comparable to this year (hopefully higher), and then I envision myself taking it down a few notches for 2013. Maybe. On the agenda so far for 2012 is Montreal for sure, as well as Toronto for the Canadian Personal Finance Conference, as well as wherever the Financial Blogger Conference is going to be. Other than that? Who knows. We’ll see what happens.