If there’s one question I get asked more than most, it’s “how do you afford to travel so much?” There are a few answers to this, but the main one is that I travel for work as a photographer, so I get paid to do that and all of my tickets and hotels are paid for too. How I made this my full time job is a whole other post, but for now I want to talk about our savings and money related priorities.
Both Adam and I have decent paying jobs, he’s not a banker and I’m not a lawer so they’re not super well paying jobs – and while we would always wish for more money, we’re comfortable. He’s a planner and I’m a photographer, and we both love travel. We’ve travelled separately, we’ve travelled together (the best kind of travel), and it’s something both of us have created a lot of space for in our lives.
We’re our better selves when we’re on the road. We feel more free and it shows, we have our best conversations, we laugh harder, we sleep better, we are braver with our lives and our future plans. Travel is essential to us as a couple, without it we would get so stuck in the everyday and we would struggle to see our future with any perspective. Travel gives us that very necessary perspective.
But we have to work and save for it. Adam doesn’t often drop loads of cash on a night in the pub, I very rarely go shopping, and we often challenge ourselves to see how many days we can go without spending money. We cook at home more often than going out and we are very clear on our priorities.
Adam gets to spend his money on kayaking, I get to spend money on my photography. We both trust ourselves to be careful with our spending and we don’t judge each other when one of us comes home with a few purchases (side bar: I do judge Adam when he comes home with ugly sports clothes…)
We keep a spreadsheet of our expenses and we both pay money into a joint account for these joint expenses. I’ve been lucky enough to have been allowed to poke through the expenses of a few close friends, and one difference that I notice is how much disposable income they have compared to how much I have – I would say I have about half. That’s because each month I put a quarter of my pay check into savings and that all goes towards our travel/future fund.
But while all of this paints a pretty good picture of saving, responsible, forward planning adults, I just have to point out that we save a lot of our money for travel – and that’s mostly it. We aren’t saving for a house, but we are saving for a future and we are investing in our dreams and our life and ourselves. We don’t have kids yet, we can afford to be a bit selfish, and we are enjoying that while we can – because it won’t last forever.
There are some days where I panic about not being able to buy a house. And there are other days where I get really down on myself for having old clothes and not being stylish. But I look at my pictures from all the adventures we’ve had together and I remind myself that I’m making a choice, and I can change my mind about my priorities whenever I like.
And on a final note, my absolute favourite part about saving money is diving into a Quiet Winter – I’ll explain that in another post too but it’s a good one. You’re really going to love it.