Let’s face it, budgeting your finances can be an extremely arduous and downright boring task to do. That is why many of us don’t waste time (especially in our early 20’s) setting budgets for ourselves. I once hated spending time on setting reasonable budgets for myself. I got discouraged at the fact that tracking how much to spend on everything is difficult during the month to month grind.
However, budgeting is a huge part to becoming a true life nomad.
Yep I just said it.
If you want to live the freedom that a life nomading lifestyle offers, you must first have your finances in check. Boring I know, but essential. For me, budgeting has quickly turned into a personal challenge. I have gone from not caring about my monthly spendings to monitoring it with a fine eye.
Now every month, I make it a goal to lower my monthly spending to smaller and smaller amounts so in turn it will eventually allow me to be as free as possible financially from external obligations.
This has dramatically helped me. Now I figure, hey why not share my tips with you!
These are the five tips I would recommend when you begin to budget your life for nomading:
1. Figure out what you REALLY need
My philosophy is to spend money on A. the things that keep you alive and B. stuff that can fit into your car.
If you have a smart car, this analogy need not apply. For the rest of the sane population, adhere to this.
I came to the realization that having the most freedom financially means you must ensure that the things you need are covered like food and rent (if it applies). Everything else needs to fit into your car. If it doesn’t, and if it lacks in priority to other things why do you still own it? Sell it. I bet you won’t miss those material items once they are gone. I say it must fit into your car because if you can consolidate your life’s material good to the essentials you can freely travel without worrying about liquidation of a bunch of stuff.
2. Prioritize your life goals
Too often people think that it takes an ungodly amount of money to survive month to month. But the truth of it is, that’s just plain wrong! You don’t need expensive party-filled weekends or fancy cars. If those are your goals, then great. I venture to guess that if you are reading this, you are looking to accomplish a much different goal. Be sure to prioritize your goals over anything that in the long-run is meaningless for your long-term conviction or vision.
For me, “going out” on weekends is fun. However, when the shit hits the fan I come back down to reality to realize that those dollars spent would be way better served towards the goals I have for spending it on a world quest.
Do your best to stick to a prioritized goal list and let those around you know you don’t dislike them drunk, you just need to save for that nomadic life. 😉
3. Use a budgeting program
I have used a program called Mint™ for about two years now. Mint™ is a free and easy way to view all your finances and set very specific budget goals for every aspect of your spending. They offer a mobile app that is great to work with when you are waiting in-line for Chipotle or doing some other menial task. [Leave in the comments below if you would like to see a tutorial on how to set up Mint to lower your monthly budget]
I have found that this is the single most valuable tool I use on a daily basis. Having a free solution for budgeting that is visually easy to digest makes the whole process actually enjoyable.
4. Throw a few dollars under the mattress
Contrary to most ideals that the life nomading philosophy holds, I highly recommend throwing a dollar here and there into a bank or investment account that isn’t your immediate spending account.
Be that a savings account (boring) or something fun like Acorns (check it out), you choose. If you’re like me, you may not like to sit on money very long. Personally I would rather use it as a means to explore and accomplish my personal goals. While my checking account may look weak to some, it is a humble reminder that I am debt free (article to come on debt) and adventuring in life.
All this being said, setting aside a few bucks a week into an account that isn’t touched unless absolutely needed down the road for the ultimate leap towards nomadic travel or other not so fun emergencies, is a great play for a life nomad.
Don’t be dramatic about this, just put money in there that you really aren’t worried about seeing for a little while.
5. Think ahead
What is it you really want to do? Is it traveling, biking, working from home, beginning a tech start-up perhaps? The single most important step in budgeting your nomadic finances involves taking a minute to think ahead.
As discussed a bit above, you must prioritize your goals. The only way to figure out what those goals must be require you to know, or think you know where you want to see yourself in the future.
I personally have “birds-eye view” type goals. They are very broad goals that still require me to remain goal oriented while also not locking myself into so many pre-determined scenarios. For me, this works well. I know where I want to head, but I am open to the different paths that will help me get there.
For you this may not be as effective. For most it is not. I would highly recommend setting short-term (in the 3 months), mid-term (1-2 years), and longer term (3-5 years) goals. I do this as well, and it proves effective when you have to get stuff done.
Take a breath and let this all soak in…
Now that you had a moment to let these steps soak in, I hope you are as excited as I am to put these into play.
For me, it has dramatically simplified my life. Budgeting is a core component of keeping in-tune with yourself. And being in-tune with everything about yourself is a huge component of being a life nomad.
So now let’s get started, put these steps into action and let me know how you feel in the coming weeks.