The Dirtbag lifestyle has become a part of the outdoorsman’s lore. The dirtbag is an individual who has forsaken most modern comforts for the opportunity to do some really kick-ass stuff. Whether the dirtbag is a climber, paddler, backpacker, or many different things, they’ve dedicated their life to a pursuit of the “cool impossible”.
Maybe you can’t throw everything to wind, live in a van, and go climb Yosemite Valley all season. That’s reasonable. But equally unreasonable is the same extreme of going all in, which is never taking any adventures.
Your reason may be time, it may be money. Let’s tackle money. Will you do some simple math with me? Thanks.
- How much money do you spend on clothes each year?
- How often do you go out to eat?
- Buy coffee from the shop instead of brewing at home?
Cut it all in half.
My guess is you’ll probably have a few hundred dollars in your pocket at this point, and likely a bit more. Do you have enough money to buy a plane ticket somewhere awesome? Maybe take an epic road trip?
If you care to go even deeper, what about your TV and cable? By cutting cable from our life two years ago, my wife and I saved $960 per year! We try and go on one trip per year that is under $1000, and a few times during that trip (San Diego this year) we’ll chuckle about how much better this is than TV.
Let’s go back to food. If you go out to eat once per week, and spend $25 each time (both pretty conservative estimates), cut away one meal per month. For ease of math, let’s say your net savings for the meal is $20, resulting in a $240 savings for the year. That’s a couple nights in a good hotel, maybe on your cable-free trip!
You can see the trend here. What do you really want to do? Unless you have unlimited funds, we need to have the courage to make some long-term decisions. Saying no to something now is hard because it’s now! Like a child staring at a marshmallow, we find it difficult to wait.
What do you want to remember when the year is over, when five years have passed? Eating Chipotle one more time and being able to dvr The Walking Dead, or traveling to a place you’ve always wanted to visit?
Here are two tricks we’ve found helpful to control spending and focus on long-term goals and trips.
Our friends Heath and Katie gave us this idea, and they got it from somebody else. Withdraw your budgeted amount of money at the beginning of the month, and only spend from that envelope. We found splurge spending went down when you’re looking at actual cash instead of just whippin’ out the card whenever you need it.
Take 10% of your budget and place it in a rations envelope, in case you burn through the money faster than you think. 10% should give you enough to eat rice and beans or PB&J your last week if needed.
Yeah, an oldie but a goodie, as people say. Here’s one little tweak though. Instead of setting aside your coins and petty cash, put in the cash from things you have given up each month or week. So if you ate in one night, put $25 in the jar. If you gave up cable, put $100 (or whatever) in the jar. If you ran the AC or heat less, put the difference in the jar!
Do what truly matters to you. Think about what you want to do with your time and money, and think big. Picture the big picture, and it makes little limitations seem possible. You’re not just saying no to cable, you’re saying yes to the next adventure.
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