MY three month RTW planning update

Three months ago I announced that I am no longer in the RTW dreaming stage but now in the planning stage. The first initial steps were pretty easy.  Now comes the fun part, planning and saving money.

and it is not easy.  Well it is easy to save money if you try, the hard part is the boredom, because yes everyone when you decide to start saving for something like this, you become boring.  Seriously.  I have already wrote about curing boredom once and will continue to do this, because believe me this is the hardest thing I have encountered. I can’t tell you how many times I have contemplated taking my credit card out and charging a quick getaway.

I have already confessed that I am in serious debt, I have started taking the steps to pay down my debt quickly and I am happy with the progress I have made thus far, I plan on sharing a 6 month update of how I am reducing my debt with spread sheets soon. I will include all my numbers, what I paid and what I did.  Since I announced my plans, I have reduced my debt by over 7k.  Seven thousand dollars of debt gone.   I really can’t wait until the debt is gone and I can start saving my salary for my trip.  If I keep this up my debt will be gone by April.  It has been very hard, but it has been worth it.

I also opened an online savings account with Ally, I am currently direct depositing what I can save for the RTW trip into this account.  I also started my “Emergency Fund” savings through my current bank in a savings account I already had opened.

Why did I do this?

I opened my RTW travel fund through Ally because the bank is online and not easily accessible to me, the money goes directly from my pay check into that account, I  do not miss the money so therefore I can save the money while I am in my planning preparation stage.  Three months from now, I will be able to save more money which means I will deposit more directly into that account.  Also what I love most about Ally is the bank offers a .99 APY which means I earn interest while I am trying to save.  Granted right now it is not a lot of interest but when I get to the point that I am saving 1000s I will see a difference in the interest earned, every penny is going to to count.

I am using a money market account with my current bank because I wanted to start an emergency fund.  I am not planning on going on this trip for some time, and well let’s be honest crap happens in life and I really want to make sure I have “go to” money saved instead of having to pull from my travel fund.   I spoke about this before and that my goal this summer was to save $1000 and I am happy to report that I did. My next savings goal is $2500, which I am hoping to hit by the end of the year, this will be enough to cover a month of expenses if stuff really goes south.

I am also going on a cruise with JMM so I am saving money for that.  It is really weird saving this money vs just putting it on my credit card and worrying about it later mentality.   I know in the end it will be better knowing that I didn’t get in debt for vacation.

Debt.  This is such a nasty word but it is a reality for millions, especially millions of 30 somethings like me.  This is the number one reason I am not leaving now.  Once my debt is gone I can honestly say that I am not sure how much longer I will stick around. I will be able to save 1500 + a month once my debt is gone. That is HUGE and I will be able to obtain my target goal that much faster, right now I am setting my target at 25k. Which is higher than most RTW budgets, but I am planning on splurging some on my trip. I may even aim higher once I really get to the point I am saving because I can then stretch it longer while on the road, but I need to hit my first goal which is 10k.  I still do not have a goal departure date.

What am I doing?  I am planning on sharing a full post with you in the next few months on how I am tackling my mountain of debt.   The short story is I am tackling the smallest debt (snowball effect) with one paycheck and I am tackling my “highest interest” card with the other pay check.   I am currently on a cash budget and living modestly.   It is working, frustrating at times, but it is working. I hate saying no to my friends on nights out, and I just turned down a girls weekend to the Caribbean but I know the end justifies this. This is a dream and dreams do not always come easy. 

I have already wiped a few cards from debt spread sheet and I am really starting to see a dent in my high interest credit card. (Ironically I am starting to sleep better at night. Funny what having emergency savings & less debt does for sleep.)

All this while saving money.  If my calculations are correct and everything goes according to plan, I will be debt free in April, but like I always say, crap happens so this is just my current plan.

As far as planning destinations, I am reading guide books, making lists, lists and more lists.  I am purely in the research stage right now.  When you are a girl that wants to go every where, it is really hard to prioritize. Lucky for me I don’t have to make those really hard decisions (yet!!!), as my focus is getting out of debt.  My current list has over 500 things I want to do…. clearly I will narrow it down, but I am having fun making the lists. I have been told that if you make a plan it is going to get thrown out of the window anyway.

I am also buying and flipping on eBay.  I am bored at home at night and I figured I would have a little fun doing this, and so far I am very happy with the outcome.  I am making anywhere from $50-700 a month doing this and it really is helping me add to my travel fund. I am having fun at night & it is even more fun putting the profits into my travel fund. Plus I am starting the slow purge of getting rid of stuff, I really don’t use most of it now & I am really not going to need it on the road.   I am doing this to cure the boredom because believe me I am getting bored. 

If everything goes according to plan I should be able to increase my direct deposit to $500 a month into my travel account starting in January, and that will make a HUGE difference in my savings. In theory, if I save $500 a month starting in 2016 I will have $6000 in savings by the end of the year. This doesn’t include any extra transfers I make. It is hard to not geek out about that, and for the first time in my life, my dream really seems like a reality.

I have also started looking into ways to invest that would allow me to have some returns for when I am on the road, I am not really a business savvy person but I have started playing with some ideas on ways to earn interest while traveling that may allow me to spend longer time on the road.  🙂

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