How to save and spend while being location independent
Posted in: Blog
When it comes to living location independently here’s one theme we get asked more about than any other and that’s money. It seems to be everyone’s biggest worry. Taking them leap from the familiar and relatively stable lifestyle of living in one place and having an office job, to living in the unknown, being self employed (usually) and travelling the world! I fully understand why people get so worried about it, but like most things in life, if you plan well and have a few backup plans too then you don’t need to worry. So here’s my short but useful guide to getting over that hurdle and living the location independent life you’ve always dreamed of.
The first step – Savings
Speaking from experience, not just of my own but the many digital nomads we’ve met, the first step is always the biggest and scariest. I’ve yet to meet anyone that didn’t at least save something in the run up to their big leap! This really depends on how much time you have between deciding to take on this new lifestyle and actually doing it. The longer you have the more time you have to save. I highly recommend shopping around for a good savings account that offers you more than your current bank account can give. Every penny helps when travelling so its important to make your money go as far as possible. If you feel you’re already stretched to the max and can’t save you’ll actually be surprised how easy it becomes once you know you’re definitely going to become location independent!
For a start you know longer need to buy material things. You can’t take them on your travels so you’ll find your monthly spend on material items will drop dramatically. The amount of times I’ve walked past a shop and though “I’d love to have that, but I can’t take it travelling so I wont buy it!” This actually applies to a lot of what you currently own too. eBay is your friend here and I highly recommend clearing out every cupboard to find those things you know you don’t really need and definitely can’t take travelling. Why pay to store them when you could sell them to someone who will give them a good home!? All of the money you make here should go in to your savings. I even did this right up to the day I moved out, selling off the old furniture I knew wasn’t worth paying to store.
Saving while you travel
Don’t let the saving stop once you hit the road. Have a strict daily budget and keep to it as much as you can. Any days you’re under that budget, set the money aside and save it up! There will always be times in the future when you need to dip in to savings for that flight, hotel or emergencies. For this reason I recommend finding a really good savings account that you know will work well for you.
The biggest shift for me when location independent is that working and travelling become part of the same lifestyle. All of it needs to be managed well and occasionally taking a few risks to reap the rewards. When I’m at home I never organise my finances that well but when I’m location independent I manage them every day, treating it like an integral part of my business. I’m always planning ahead while on the road, making the money I earn now help to fund my travels of the future. Services like nutmeg.com are great for this where you can monitor your savings and investments while also letting the experts make the investment decisions for you. I much prefer this method of saving especially while travelling as its easier to manage and ultimately more rewarding. After all, the location independent lifestyle is all about taking a few risks and more importantly taking control of your life.
Having a buffer
One important aspect of location independent finances for me is always having a buffer. In the early days this used to be the cost of flights for my wife and I. So that we knew whatever happened, even if we had to return to our home country for a while, we always had the money ready to book flights and leave again. This buffer was something we worked towards both before our travels began and during. Always maintaining it and keeping it instantly available should we need it. This gave us great peace of mind that our new lifestyle was sustainable. Even when money got tight we still kept our buffer and eventually it was put to good use after we returned home to see family and friends. Allowing us to launch back in to location independent lifestyle when we needed it. I can’t tell you how important this buffer was to keeping us stress free. I’d recommend your buffer being at least the price of a return flight to your location.
Organise your finances for a stress free ride!
Being location independent definitely is a ride! There are highs and lows but always amazing memories. The important thing is that your finances shouldn’t control your destiny. Have a clear plan before you leave, stick to your budget, making your savings part of your business, always have a buffer and stay worry free! It’ll make all the difference to your location independent experience.
Got any questions regarding location independent finances? Leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you.