Betsy and Warren Talbot sold everything to travel the world, and have been for five years. The following story is an excerpt from their book, “Dream, Save, Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers,” where they explain one of the key strategies used to save for their trip around the globe.
With a $75,000 goal in mind and 25 months to reach it, we knew we had some pretty serious cuts to make in our spending. The more we thought about that number, the “numb”er we felt.
How do you wrap your head around a number that big when you’re thinking about your daily expenses? Is my $20 savings at the grocery store really going to impact a number that big? It doesn’t seem likely. And because of that disconnect it was hard to see how our daily activities impacted our long-term dream. It wasn’t until we made the connection about comparing what we wanted to do on a day in our dream life to what we were currently spending that it finally clicked.
We were walking in our neighborhood when I spotted a gorgeous necklace in a shop window. I’m not much of a fine jewelry kinda gal, but I go weak in the knees at an original creation by an artist I can meet, someone who makes funky art you can wear. This gorgeous piece of personality and bold statement was $100, and I wanted it. As I pressed my face to the glass like a little kid at a toy store, Warren said the words that would lead our saving efforts from that day forward.
“Is that more important to you than a day on the road? Because it costs the same.”
How We Used Our Phrase to Save
What a brilliant concept in such a simple statement. By focusing our saving efforts on a small but easily visualized segment of our overall figure, I could easily admire that necklace from the street and leave it in the store for someone else.
We estimated our dream life would cost $100/day, and instead of saving the full amount – $75,000–we focused on $100 goals. We were finally able to see how our daily saving and spending connected with our overall goal. This concept became known as our Phrase to Save, and we used it every single day until we reached our goal.
“Hey, that’s 1.5 days on the road!” or “We just purchased ourselves a full afternoon on a trip around the world!”
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Each payday we would celebrate our “days on the road” number going into savings instead of comparing how far away we were from the end goal. Imagining our ‘number of days on the road’ made the process more encouraging than it ever would have been just slogging our way to the final number.
Even now, well into our travels, we can’t help but think about how many days of travel we’re giving up to make any purchase outside our daily living expenses. Obviously we do sometimes, but we love it that this mantra still helps us stay on track and remember why we saved all this money in the first place.
Create Your Own Phrase to Save
Remember, the Phrase to Save isn’t there to keep you from spending money; it’s there to remind you why you chose to save in the first place and whether this option in front of you fits in with that dream.