1. Create Your Own Bucket List
I know I know...this sounds all like butterflies and unicorns, but I firmly believe that EVERYONE needs a Bucket List. Every. Single. Person. YOU! So, let's get started. If you had 1 million dollars RIGHT NOW, what would you do with it?!?!?!?! For instance, I would complete my home renovations, pay off my mortgage so that I am debt free and I would take my husband and travel the world for 1 year straight (or forever?)! Or another way to think of it is when you look at other people’s social media, what makes you jealous? When you see people taking their children on family vacations, when you see people giving back to their communities, when you see people going to exotic countries, when you see people being a stay at home mom...what do you see that makes you jealous? I know it’s not good to be jealous, but I’ll let you think about it just this once! Now, from those things that you were just dreaming of, create your Bucket List. What are YOUR dreams made of???? You can put down 3 dreams, 13 dreams, 23 dreams or more! It's up to you. Click HERE to see mine.
2. Choose One Dream
Now that you have created your Bucket List, you need to choose the one dream on your list that you want to focus on. This doesn't mean that you aren't going to do the other dreams you want to do on your Bucket List, but you need to start somewhere, right? It can be something on your Bucket List that is a short term goal, like a weekend getaway next month, or even a long term goal, like a trip to Paris next summer. For instance, right now, Nick and I are planning a huge 3 month long road trip for next summer...so this gives us 1 year to plan, budget and save. So, do you have your one dream?
3. Bring Out The Budget
Start researching your one dream. How much will it cost you? Look into everything including travel, hotel, food, entertainment and anything else that you can think of. Pinterest and google will be your BFFs...you can pretty much find everything you need. You can also contact family and friends who either live in that area or have already done this same trip. If you are planning a weekend getaway, it may only take you an hour or so to come up with a budget, but if you are planning a 3 month road trip, it may take you weeks to figure out an estimated cost. Just make sure you come up with some number so that you know how much you need to save.
4. Start Making Sacrifices
Unless you are making a great income or inherited family money or won the lottery, you are most likely going to have to cut costs in other areas to be able to save. When Nick and I were getting ready to get married in 2007, Reeves Cannon counseled us on budgeting and encouraged us to take the Dave Ramsey course and learn his Zero Based Budgeting. I truly believe that this is what set us up to budget and save so that we could travel. For most of our marriage, we have only owned 1 car (Nick now has a company truck through his work), we have not paid for cable, we have watched Netflix instead of paying to go to the movies, drank coffee at home instead of picking up Starbucks each morning, only shopped for clothes when we truly needed something, etc. We have made tons of other little sacrifices in all areas over the years that have added up and helped to to save. Sure, I wanted some new shoes, but I went to the Faroe Islands instead. Yes, I wanted some new make up, but instead, I enjoyed Northern Ireland. Of course, I would love all the Noonday Jewelry, but I'd rather go on my 3 month road trip next summer. Each time I want something now, I have to remind myself that I am saving for something even better later! So, I encourage you to look at where you are spending your money and evaluate what you can sacrifice...you'll be surprised how much money you can save by prioritizing your spending and using the Zero Based Budget!
5. Live Simply
I love the minimalist lifestyle because we only have things that we need. Our house is fully furnished, but we have been patient to get hand-me-downs over the years as other people have gotten rid of their "old" furniture and decor! Ever since we were married, we have never bought any furniture for our home (until last week when we purchased our new king sized mattress)! Does this mean that we do not always have what we want? Yes. But, we always have what we need. Last week was the first time that we ever bought something...we got a king sized mattress and it was worth every penny (its crazy how much your mattress effects your sleep). The nice thing about living like this is that you truly have nothing that you worry about. While we are traveling, I never worry about someone breaking in and stealing anything because I don't have expensive furniture or valuables! It's so freeing to not worry about "things". While talking about the minimalist lifestyle, I have to cover the Capsule Wardrobe, which is by far my favorite aspect! Basically, you have a very small amount of clothes, but what you have you love and looks great on you. It makes getting dressed each day and packing for trips so much easier! Plus, it helps you save money because you are more conscience of your purchases! You should read Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L Scott for tips on living a minimalist lifestyle...Jennifer is, by far, my favorite person to follow on living simply.
6. Stay Inspired
I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I get tired of living simply and I want to go insane at TJMaxx, buy all the clothes I want, all the jewelry I want, all the shoes I want, decorate my home with new items, eat out every day, go to the movies when a new one comes to theaters, get pedicures each month, get massages each week, buy really nice gifts for each birthday and Christmas...I mean, I could totally be a shopaholic. Also, don't forget that I am living in a Fixer Upper and could totally sink like $50,000 into this place easily. But, these things are just things. And what I really want are memories. I have one life and a huge Bucket List and no time to waste. But it doesn't mean that I don't get discouraged. So, to stay on the right track, I have to stay inspired. Pinterest, thank you again...well, kinda...I have to avoid Home Decor and Women's Fashion on Pinterest and head straight to the Travel tab. I spend A LOT of time browsing travel on social media...google, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs...you name it, I've probably read it or seen it. This helps me stay focused on my priority: Traveling! One of my favorite people right now is Brooke from World of Wanderlust. You should follow her!
7. Mark Your Calendar
Make it official. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Shout it from the rooftops. Comment below and share it with us! Mark it down on your Calendar. It's ok if it doesn't actually happen when you originally planned. The important thing is that you begin to DREAM BIG DREAMS, build your Bucket List, budget and save and plan. If you do those things, one day you will be marking that one thing off of your Bucket List.
8. Be Your Own Boss
Consider starting your own business that gives you freedom to work from anywhere in the world. There are many people who are Travel Bloggers, Freelance Writers, etc. and are able to travel the world while working. This also means that you don't have to save as much money for traveling since you will continue to make money while traveling. Nick and I are going on 3 years selling essential oils with Young Living Essential Oils. Because of our jobs with Young Living, if we want to travel, we just go! Most of our work can even be done from just our iPhones! Do you remember last year when Nick and I spent 3 months in Bolivia? It's all because of owning our own business and having the freedom to make our own choices!
9. Do It And Do It And Do It
It really is just a vicious cycle. We look at our Bucket List, decide on the next thing, budget, save and plan, do it, cross it off our list and then start over. We are always dreaming and scheming. It's really not magic. It's just a choice. Choose to live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.