Frugality

Abandon Convenience

Abandon Convenience is what I originally wanted to call this vlog-blog thing we’re doing here. As with most of my ideas, Kelsey played her part of the sieve, laughed, and said try again. It definitely doesn’t have the same ring as Abandon Comfort, nor the dual meaning of pushing your comfort zone while also reducing the amount of comfort we surround ourselves with and ultimately waste money on - but it tells a clearer story. 

Now don't get me wrong, we both enjoy comfort and convenience, but typically only after we feel we've earned it. Like after spending 24 hours on a passage with little to no sleep, then arriving at your protected anchorage and rowing over to the closest restaurant to woof down some grub. Living without constant comfort and convenience truly makes you appreciate these luxuries when you do get the chance to enjoy them. 

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My fellow millennials are the biggest culprits of taking convenience and rebranding it as experience. That local coffee shop you visit twice a week for lunch isn't an experience, it's a convenience and its crushing your ability to live out your dreams simply because its tying spending to happiness. The sad part is this is such a basic concept: Don't buy stuff, embrace frugality and eventually live out your dream, yet virtually no one actually does it. The reasons why are still befuddling to me. I assume most people construct some false narrative in their mind that allows them to write off others living their dreams as trust fund babies or just being luckier than them. Or maybe its because we've all grown accustomed to instant gratification and don't want to put in the hours to lay the foundation for executing our dreams.

It probably has something to do with us humans not being wired to think of things from a “long-term” perspective, hence why so many of us spend money on things that are unrelated to our dreams, while we work jobs we hate, to watch our limited savings and prospect of not having to participate in mandatory work slowly slip away. It’s hard to be rational when everyone around you is smothered in the usual, daily luxuries and conveniences of our modern, rich world. 

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Then, of course, there are the stigmas surrounding it. Being cheap has never been cool nor will it ever be. There are no corporate interests promoting frugality. You can't make money off telling people not to spend it. There's no billboards or 5-second ads harassing you on YouTube telling you to save your money so you can actually follow your dreams. The same could be said for reducing your environmental impact. If there's nothing to sell, there's no awareness. We don't treat frugality and the ability to not buy useless shit as the golden tickets to freedom that they truly are. 

Some say comfort is the biggest killer of dreams, I'd argue convenience is.

Don't Let These 7 Things Steal Your Money Next Trip

It's no secret that traveling these days can be relatively affordable. With the widespread availability of AirbnbCouchsurfing, and lower prices of plane tickets, it's not unheard of spending a few hundred dollars on an extended weekend getaway. We all know the feeling of having our batteries charged after exploring a new location is well worth saving for. However, more often than not we end up spending more than planned while on our trips. Typically this isn't because we bought too many souvenirs (People still do that?!) or from splurging on priority boarding for your plane ticket. It's usually from the little things that tend to add up in the end. And more often than not, these little things yield little happiness or add to the adventure! 

 We're huge fans of  this 64oz bottle & sport cap.

1. Forgetting an (empty) water bottle

Sure, you can't fly with a full water bottle but luckily for you, all airports have water fountains available. Besides, do you really want to be buying bottled water throughout the duration of your trip, when you could be spending that money at the new taco shop with raving reviews? BYOB - Bring your own bottle is what all the cool and environmentally aware kids are doing these days. So, join the club! 

2. Paying for parking

This is assuming you buy a rental car because you'll be exploring the surrounding areas of your destination. Is that parking garage a half-mile closer to your restaurant really worth it? You could've spent that $20 for parking on some kick-ass coffee from the hipstery spot around the block. The best way to understand a city is by foot, bar-none. It took humans hundreds of years to learn how to walk upright, show evolution some gratitude. Ladies, bring a bag big enough to fit some walking shoes if you need to rock some heels for your night out. 

3. Overpaying for a rental car

With the recent expansion of Turo, you can get rental whips for less than 45 bucks a day in almost any city. Sometimes, rental agencies can be even cheaper. Especially with a USAA discount! Now you may be thinking I don't have a USAA membership so I'll skip over this non-applicable section. Well, perks of being a previous employee there I know it's open to everyone, member or not! So be sure to click on this link before booking your rental car to score some sweet discounts. 

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4. Flying on peak travel days

This should come as no ground-breaking Abandon Comfort tip. Flying on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings are more often than not the most expensive. Try to take off an extra day of work to adventure more and you'll probably end up saving money by flying out on early Tuesday morning, as opposed to Sunday night. Also, with the new Hopper app, you can track prices for months in advance and it'll tell you exactly when's the best time to book! Be sure to check out mid-weekday flights to score the most bang for your buck. 

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5. Eating out every single meal

Boooo! Who is this guy who is telling me I can't be a foodie? Knifing through the local restaurants is half the reason I even travel! Well, check out your credit card statement from your last trip. I'm sure you went to some lame chain restaurant or Chipotle. You've eaten there before and it's available at home, why not just pack a lunch one day or cook some breakfast at your Airbnb? Check out the local market to get some fresh bread, meats, and cheese to create yourself something tasty for lunch. Think about it, if you and your adventure buddy don't eat out for a total of 3 meals you will have saved half of your plane ticket price for your next bucket list stop. 

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6. Paying $$$$ prices for an expensive restaurant

Here we go again, condoning me for wanting my belly to be happy! Ask yourself this, do you really need to eat at Morton's or Capital Grille in LA when you've had it in NY before? No, you don't. Once is more than enough at those exorbitantly priced chains. Go check out the local Ramen or Thai place which shows $$ or $ on Yelp. I bet it'd be a far better experience and show you how the real locals do it there.

7. What actionable tips can you share that'll reduce our travel expenses? 

 

How much do you spend?

Well this didn't take long. We've now received a few emails from readers, the majority of which were incredibly supportive and we truly appreciate the good vibes - you all are awesome. But as expected we've had someone wanting all the details of how two 24 year olds afforded a Hallberg-Rassy without taking out a loan or without their parents throwing funds toward the boat. Let's debunk that now - No we do not have any liens on the boat, and our parents haven't helped us with the purchase of the boat, they have however helped both of us with paying for a portion of our undergraduate degrees. Obviously the question that was paired with the original one was the almighty, all-telling, how much do you make?  Herein lies the problem with this question, it makes the assumption if you earn a lot then you should have a higher liquid net worth (cash available). However, this is typically not the case.

I used to play the "whose client had the most credit card debt" game with a co-worker of mine every day at work. Majority of the time the client who won each day was a doctor. One of the highest paying professions carried the highest amounts of debt, not just a mortgage or student loans but credit card debt - the worst of them all. 

Clearly the question we should be asking is how much do you spend? Let's try an example, you have the doctor who makes 120k a year then spends 100k of it on his monthly expenses, mortgage for the 5bd home, car payments for his Mercedes and wife's BMW then his entertainment budget including restaurants, bars and much more. In the end his take home is 20k per year, and honestly I'd say this is much higher than most doctors I spoke with. Then let's use me as an example, this past year I made roughly 58k annualized (only working May-Dec due to Graduation in May) and my average monthly spending including rent, car payment/insurance, groceries and our small entertainment budget was $1500, annualize it and we get 18k a year for all my expenses. Me the 24-year-old kid straight out of college had a take home of 40k, thats double the above average doctor (derived from my anecdotal on-the-job data). If I can achieve this number, anyone can. 

  Your Spending or Your Life

Your Spending or Your Life

So where do we begin? How did we get from taking home and saving 16% of our pay to 68%. Well it truly doesn't have to involve boring excel spreadsheets where you dissect your spending with a scalpel, if you don't want it to. We had no desire to put that much constraint on our life, nor did we want to do anymore spreadsheets than needed outside of the office. All we had to do was start playing the don't spend any money on weekends game, start selling things we didn't use anymore on OfferUp and add an addition source of income to our daily grind salaries. Then in less than a year we bought a blue-water sailboat, paid off all of my debt and paid off 50% of Kelsey's student loans. So here's how we did it, we abandoned comfort through a variety of ways which ultimately lead us to where we are now. 

  • Airbnb'd our guest bedroom (Refer to first blog post for details)
    • How you can do it? = Easy! Rent a two bedroom apartment not managed by a property manager and just a regular old landlord who is just looking for tenants who pay their dues each month. Or you can buy a 3-4 bedroom house with a decent down payment in an up and coming area then rent out each room individually. We will be doing a video on this soon so stay tuned to our YouTube channel.
  • Packed our lunches at work, along with our snacks every single day
    • Kelsey fronted this operation and was a huge reason of why we saved so much. She would find vegetarian dishes (Kelsey's vegetarian and the only time I eat meat is when we eat out which is virtually never) on Pinterest and from the Whole Foods app to make for us to eat on a weekly basis. As for where we purchase our food, we shop at Trader Joes once a week and Whole Foods once a month - so much for us being frugal eh? And the reasoning behind Whole Foods is we are huge proponents of eating organic and love their selection - queue the "Overheard Hipsters at Whole Foods quotes". 
  • Sold a car that carried a huge insurance payment along with high gas costs
    • This is a very important piece if you commute to work. I (Ryan) had a 20-mile drive to work and had to feed my 370z premium gas each time it was hungry. A simple equation can give you an idea of how much you spend on driving. My 370z was $50 to fill up the tank and it got around 350 miles on a full tank. So $50/350miles = .14 per mile. Compare this with my sexy Prius which costs $15 to fill up and has a range of 450miles - $15/450 = .03 per mile. Now I am saving more than 4x as much as I used to on gas and commuting to work. If you're paying for the expensive or gas guzzling car seriously look at selling the car private party or through a fair consignment dealership, then if you can't after a few months sell it to Carmax or Vroom. Another option is to bike to work (this what Kelsey does and has for 2 years now) if possible and if not buy a small, eco-friendly hybrid. 
  • Became an Uber & Lyft driver or if you can't part with the expensive car rent it on Turo!
    • We used all three peer sharing sites listed above. Turo was great when I owned the 370z because I couldn't Uber or Lyft with no back seat. Since owning the Prius I've driven a handful of times only on the times when there is a high surge in pricing, or a promotion going on. This is because I make roughly $25 an hour at work so if anything pays me more an hour I'm going to make time to do it. One week I was engulfed with my regular work schedule plus doing my grad school homework and Lyft sent out a promotion that if you drive 10 times in a week they'll give you a $250 bonus. Awful timing Lyft but this was a promotion I could not afford to miss. I calculated that I would make roughly $300 during about 5 hours of work = $60 an hour. Way more than I make at work! I made it happen, and if I hadn't I might have had to delay the dream further.

If you truly want something, you'll make reasons not excuses.