Hardly any of us look back on our lives and wish we owned more things. Instead, our regrets are usually related to how we’ve spent our time. Were we there for quiet moments with our family, or to comfort friends in crisis? Did we make the effort to celebrate all of life’s triumphs, and travel to the far-flung corners of the earth? In the end, it is our experiences that are most important to us: they breathe life into our memories and shape our identities. So much of this depends on our ability to travel—to see friends and family, to declare our independence, and to quest into the unknown. But travel is expensive. Shedding the layers of unnecessary baggage—both literal and metaphorical—is key to living a minimalist lifestyle that will allow you the freedom to travel near and far, unencumbered. Here is a budget travel guide to help you travel more.
A Budget Travel Guide: Ways to Purge Your Belongings to Travel More
Living a minimalist lifestyle is less about owning fewer things, and more about owning only what you need. Take inventory of what you have, and consider tossing, donating, or selling anything you don’t use on a regular basis. Eliminate duplicates, like measuring cups or extra mugs. Examine your wardrobe; let go of anything you don’t wear often, or at all. Keep staple outfits that you can mix and match easily. When your clothing is too worn or stained and you have to get something new, make sure you also get rid of something old.
Follow this budget travel guide and ditch your TV; you won’t have to pay for cable, and you can watch almost anything online. Swap out DVDs and CDs for streaming services or digitized entertainment. You’ll save money that you can use for live shows, you’ll cut down on plastic consumption, and you’ll save yourself some storage space. By the same token, dispose or donate any old or outdated electronics. Use furniture that doubles as storage, such as captains beds and ottomans with compartments. Consider downsizing to a mini-fridge to save on space, food waste, and electricity. Whatever large or valuable items you decide to part with, sell online for some extra travel funds!
The Challenge of Sentiment
Letting go is often emotional, but it doesn’t always need to be painful. There is often immense catharsis in letting go of objects, especially those that hold more than just monetary value. When you take inventory before a purge, you should also take emotional inventory. Decide what you can part with now, and what you still need to hang on to. Over time, the meaning behind sentimental objects can fade; just because you aren’t ready now, doesn’t mean you won’t be ready later.
If you’re unsure about something, toss it in a box and don’t look at it for 30 days. If you don’t need it within that time, or don’t remember what was in the box, donate it. Instead of things, surround yourself with memories. There are tons of different ways to display pictures in your home, and those will often fill your space with stories and memories more than any physical object.
Downsize the Size of Your House
We tend to fill whatever space we have, so consider this budget travel guide and move into a smaller place! The practicality of this move will depend on the size of your family, and what makes everyone most comfortable. If it’s just you, consider renting a single room in a large house, or a micro-studio. Studio apartments, one bedroom, or even tiny houses are other excellent options.
Smaller homes are not only more utilitarian, but they are also more energy efficient. There is less space to heat and fewer outlets to use, lowering your carbon footprint while significantly cutting the cost of monthly bills. Not only will you save some extra cash, but you’ll feel better about your impact on the environment in a smaller, less cluttered home.
Prioritize Your Cash
Budgeting is hard, and cutting yourself off from the little things you enjoy on a daily basis can often be counterproductive. Instead, be smart with your money, and only spend what you have. This means paying in cash rather than charging a card unless you’re booking hotels or plane tickets (which will earn you travel points!). Look at your new minimalist lifestyle as an investment for future adventures. Invest in quality, not quantity.
Having one pair of shoes that will last and can be repaired is more cost effective than buying several pairs of cheaper shoes over time. Make your own coffee, eat at home, and meal plan. Schedule your meals so that you are utilizing ingredients effectively, using everything you buy and wasting as little as possible. Only use reusable food storage containers, and stay away from plastic wraps and bags. Saving money at home and follow this budget travel guide will allow you to spend your money on experiences so that you can live a life unburdened.