First, sell your stuff.

Before I launch into this post properly, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who read this post and left such positive, supportive comments. It was just the best feeling and left me feeling really glad that I’d shared so openly. Being honest is a really core value for me, but it’s easy to gloss over the more challenging parts of life. Online, we all want to share what’s great, and that’s not a bad thing. Celebration is important. But what I’ve learnt is that by being open about when things are less than great, not only do you get support – which is a lovely thing in itself – you get a ‘me too‘ response. A feeling of collective exhalation; I’m not the only one who struggles, there are other people like me. And a bit of empathy and kindness goes a very long way. So, thank you.

And, onwards…

One of the things that I’ve always been excited about is travel. Historically, and with a few notable exceptions (shoes, mostly) if I was ever going to use my credit card, it would be to pay for flights and adventures. However times have changed and the credit card is in the financial deep-freeze. It’s time for a re-think.

With my new grown-up financial plan in place – and ticking away nicely this month –  I’ve been thinking about how to continue meeting my financial goals whilst still travelling and having adventures.

I’ve come to a few conclusions:

Do it for free or super-cheaply.

Keep things really simple. Camp. Stay with friends. Take my own food on trips away. Cycle, walk, share transport. Find hostels, student accommodation or AirBNB places that are really cheap. Try Couchsurfing. And if I’m really lucky, have opportunities to experience things for free, either perhaps through a blogging opportunity (wishful thinking) or winning a competition. It’s not so far-fetched; I won two tickets and camping passes to The Good Life Experience this year.

Stay local.

One of the biggest costs of travel is getting there, so exploring places on my doorstep is a great way to have adventures and get to know my home county better. Not all adventures have to be long distance or for big chunks of time. I’ve talked before about the microadventure and now’s a perfect time to consider taking some more … assuming the weather doesn’t get horrific soon, anyway. (This year is flying by, isn’t it?) So expect to see more Yorkshire travel posts coming up.

Sell my stuff.

This was my first plan. At the start of this year, before everything changed, I committed to a short trip to Amsterdam and I haven’t want to back out and let my friend down. Plus – I want to go to Amsterdam! But how to do it without upsetting my financial plan?

I was reminded of one of my all time favourite TED talks, by Adam Baker in which he encourages us to sell our stuff, pay our debts and follow our dreams. Despite trying to be more minimalist, when I moved, I still had plenty of stuff that I no longer needed. I’ve been selling stuff on Ebay for a while, but this time I went along a more traditional route, the good old-fashioned car boot sale. I loaded up everything; bathroom scales, DVDs, pictures, books, clothes, kitchen stuff, even a pair of Tom Ford for Gucci heels (proof that shoes used to be a spending weakness, right there!) into the back of my little Micra, and with the help of my boyfriend, sold the lot.  It made enough money to pay for my flights to Amsterdam. Not bad for a morning’s work.

A few of you will be thinking that a better thing to do with the money would be to add it to my credit card payments instead of jetting off abroad. And that’s a fair argument. But, here’s the absolute truth. Spending every last penny I have on repaying debt, sticking to an incredibly tiny budget that allowed no room for living, would fail. It would fail because the sheer rigidity would, at some point or other, force me to crack. I just don’t want to leave myself open to self-sabotage like that. This way enables me to have both. Plus, waiting until I’ve paid my debts off to travel means waiting a really long time.  Too long – life is short and I’m not prepared to assume that I’ll have the finances or indeed the good health to wait to see more of the world when I retire.

Selling a few things to pay for a flight isn’t quite in the same league as Adam Baker. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Watch Adam Baker’s TED talk here.

12 Responses to First, sell your stuff.

  1. Stephani says:

    I agree – life without a little bit of living would make for a very dull time. Have a great time in Amsterdam x
    Stephani recently posted…The beach at Titchwell, another of Norfolk’s great beaches!My Profile

  2. Sam says:

    I get torn on the pay down debt/save vs spend debate. Life is short and I too love to travel but also know my years could be well beyond my earning power so want a decent retirement plan with no debt. Then there is the unknown which hits either argument. You’re plan seems to balance practicality and circumstance. I look forward to reading about your microtrips.
    Sam recently posted…T-Shirt HumorMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! I completely understand – I struggle with that too. It’s helped a bit by having a pension plan in place, which I’ve paid into for the last 15 years. But it probably won’t be enough. I just hope that I manage to pay more into in later on. And if not, that at least I’ve got memories of experiences to look back on. And I’ll probably be working long past the ages that my parents have been able to retire, in truth!

  3. After living a life largely off-line for the last month, I am late the party. Firstly, well done for putting it out there, it’s always tough pressing publishing on posts that are so personal. Invariably, the benefits outweigh the fears and people are so supportive. I’m really pleased for you that you received such a positive and supportive response. I don’t believe there is any average adult life anymore. Clearly, you have decided to do what makes you happier and what is best and if you have parents who welcome you home – then that seems like a great place to be. I love travel, it is the stuff of memories, I love this post for it’s optimism and ideas. Wishing you luck. Life is for living. We all own too much stuff, stuff that sits in corners. Turning it into an amazing experience, a forever memory seems a much better thing to do.
    helloitsgemma recently posted…Intentions SeptemberMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello – and thank you for such a lovely comment. I definitely had my eyes squeezed closed as I pressed publish on that post, for definite! Ive lost track of my monthly intention setting, which is a shame – life has rather got in the way – but Autumn is a good time to get back on track, so I’ll be re-grouping a bit this month. I’ve almost run out of stuff to sell now though, so there might need to be another plan! But first – Amsterdam. Can’t wait! xx

  4. Well done for selling some of your stuff! Using the money to pay for flights is a perfect example of how to ‘collect moments not things’.

    And I agree that it is not realistic to use every available penny to pay down your debt – you need to allow for some fun in your life too!
    Ruthy @ Minibreak Mummy recently posted…Collect moments not thingsMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you Ruthy! I think I started this process when I sold an Hermes scarf to pay for a letter press course a couple of years ago – I’m without any more designer clothing to get rid of now! And very excited about Amsterdam. 🙂

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you Ruthy! I’m hoping that I’m getting the balance right – or at least, better! And I’m really excited about funding a trip away by getting rid of my old things.

  5. Annie says:

    You are inspiring me Elizabeth, I am such a hoarder and tend to accumulate ‘stuff’ and little debts along the way. Like you I have so many plans and dreams but they need funding – maybe it’s time I look to what I have and don’t need to help make those dreams a reality x
    Annie recently posted…Photos from the streets of Manhattan, New York CityMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you Annie! It feels good to fund one of your dreams by selling things you no longer need or want. Give it a shot and make one of those dreams a reality xx

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: