Each month we reflect on our financial lives because it helps us be more intentional with our financial well-being. We hope that by opening up the conversation, we can break down the social stigma around talking about money. Check out the rest of the series here.
My #modernnomad trip is over! It’s sad, but I’m happy to not be moving to a new place every couple of days. My financial mindset has changed a lot from my travels, and I was curious to see if I met any of my financial goals before I started my trip?
Here is the financial post I wrote back in August 2018 around the time I started my road trip.
August 2018: I hope to spend about the same or less traveling across the country than it was living in Boston.
I compared two 9-month periods: first is the trip (August 1, 2018-May 1, 2019) and the second being right before I left (November 1, 2017-July 31, 2018). Drum roll, please…
I spent about $3,000 LESS traveling across the country for 9 months than living in Boston.
Next, if you’re wondering about category breakdown, I’m not giving it to you. Mainly because it s messy. If I haven’t mentioned before, I use Quicken to track my expenses. There’s an option in Quicken to link it to your online accounts, but I don’t trust computers completely. Every week, I sit down and go through most if not all my accounts: checking, credit cards, investments, and savings. You can categorize each line item, and for the most part I use ones they already have, but I need to really create my own because I don’t always put the same expenses in the same category. It’s a bit messy, and I just don’t want to deal with it yet.
August 2018: Save $10K by the end of June 2019.
I’m a little short but I still have 2 months. Right before my trip, I automated all contributions to savings and IRA accounts. My monthly contributions to savings accounts were definitely on the more conservative side because I wasn’t sure what my spending habits would be like on the road, and the most important rule I follow is pay each credit card bill in full each month.
Now that I’ve taken a glimpse at how I did over the last 9 months, I am a lot more confident that I could contribute more while still able to pay my credit card bills in full. So I just upped my contribution amounts last week.
How has my financial mindset changed throughout my travels?
Some of these will sound familiar because I have been working on them even before I started the road trip, and talked about them in previous blog posts.
Stress of having stuff
This has increased even more so throughout this road trip. I started out the trip with two huge boxes filled with beauty products. It was so heavy that the boxes broke, so I moved everything into a huge duffle bag. I was constantly rifling through the bag, saying, “Ok I’m going to finish that cleanser in a couple of days from now so I can use this cleanser. Don’t buy another cleanser cause I still have some! Also, almost finished with the lotion, let’s tackle this huge bottle first. Or should I use the smaller bottle so I can get rid of stuff?” Such unnecessary stress.
My makeup collection has dwindled down a lot more because of stress. I’d look at all the palettes I had and wonder when I would ever finish using them up. Also, the ratio of me wearing makeup and not wearing makeup was like 4:3 days. Did I really need all this makeup? The answer is no.
Don’t get me wrong: I still have stuff. I still bought stuff too. But I’m much less of a hoarder than I used to be.
I was never a shopaholic, but I loved shopping sales (especially on beauty products). My thought process was “I’m spending $45 and not $60 – what a steal!” or “Who knows when the next time this store will have a sale as good as this again?!” The answer is: someday. Stores are always upping their sale game!
Now I look at what I want to buy and ask myself a few questions. Do I have something else like it already? If so, do I really need this item? How much can I get out of this item? Related to sales, I should have been thinking, “I still have other products I need to use, and although I’m not spending $60, I am still spending money.” Honestly, a lot of these stores that we are shopping at, do not care whether we purchase something because there are a bunch of other people lining up to buy their product.
I donated a lot of stuff at the beginning of my travels. There were clothes and shoes that I bought for the once in a blue moon I wanted to dress up and look sexy. Not feel sexy, but look sexy. Through my travels, I started to feel confident in myself because I AM a badass. This affected the way I shopped because if I don’t feel like Bam! Comfortable and hot! I don’t buy it.
Exploring and Doing Things
When I first started, I wanted to do everything. Not only did that exhaust me, but also did a number on my wallet. On top of that, I didn’t enjoy some of the things I did, which I should have known better because I wasn’t excited about them! It was more of a “why not”.
It felt really crappy spending money on something that did not bring me any value. I started listening to myself on whether I was excited about paying money to do something. Otherwise, I would catch up on sleep, work on the blog, read or just wander around for free. I became much happier, and my wallet was happier too!
To say this trip did wonders for me mentally and financially is an understatement. Right now I am back in California, living with my parents. If you asked me a year ago, I’d be like, “OH NEVER! I am independent and will always be and you will never find me living from home again!” But I really enjoy it right now. It feels so good to relax and know that my parents will watch out for me. Plus, free lodging so I can save even more now. Maybe my mind will change in a couple days though, we’ll see…
What is your current financial mindset? I’d love to know!
Check out other posts in our Money on Our Mind series!