Tuesday, January 14, 2014

PCT: When You Can't Earn, Save (Part Two)

Yesterday, I wrote about why Zach and I are choosing to live without income for six months. In addition to the bills we’ll still be paying while we travel (phone, health insurance, postage for resupply boxes), we have bought a lot of gear, and still have a lot of gear to buy. (More on this in the scintillating conclusion of the series, coming tomorrow!) Suffice it to say that we are spending a lot of money on this trip, just getting ready for it.

So how do a Walmart employee and a part-time writing tutor fund a six-month trip?

By saving, saving, and saving some more.

Honestly, we don’t save as much money as we could, conceivably. But we still save a lot. Here are 15 miscellaneous ways we are able to squirrel back money for those trips to REI.

1. We live in a low-income neighborhood of our city, so our rent is cheap.

2. Utilities aren’t included in our rent, so we have more control over the water, electricity and gas we use.

3. We keep the house heat at 60 in the winter, 55 when we leave the house for a few hours, and 55 at night when we have the space heater on in our room.

4. We only have one car.

5. I have an Internet-connected home phone ($30 a year) rather than a cell phone.

6. We have almost completely stopped going out to eat.

7. We don’t spend money on entertainment. Basically, we walk and shop at REI. Fortunately, we both love walking and shopping at REI!

8. We buy mostly cheap whole foods and I cook most things from scratch.

9. I (almost) always pack Zachary a lunch for work rather than having him buy one there.

10. We subscribe to Netflix rather than having a TV.

11. Neither of us smokes.

12. We have our drinks at home rather than going out.

13. We don’t have any pets.

14. We almost never buy new clothes.

15. Neither of us has any current hobbies that cost money, except backpacking.

Some of these savings are small and some are large, but they all add up over time. I’m excited to see the way we’ve been able to buy stuff for the trail, even with low income and unexpected expenses over the summer (I get only a couple students in the summer, and we had some pricey car repairs and a huge bill for the removal of Zach’s wisdom teeth). 

The last way we’ve been able to save money is in the buying of the gear itself. We are certainly not going low-budget on this, but we’re not blowing the bank, either. Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about how we’ve acquired our gear for the price we want.


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