Monthly Archives: June 2010

pay off your debt to finance your rtw

(Originally posted on my other blog, www.littleadventures.wordpress.com)

Planning for the RTW has already helped my life in so many ways.  The chief one being financially.  It almost seems counter intuitive as it costs a decent chunk of change to travel long term.  But a result of this travel planning is that I have become vigilant about my finances.

In order to prepare for a RTW trip, you pretty much need to have no debt.   At least no credit card debt.  It makes it very hard to travel if you owe money.

I cleared out $25K in 1 year.  Yeah.

I make a very decent salary but I wasn’t going to be able to travel if I still had to pay off my debts at the same time.  Many people make tons more than I do and many have no debt to begin with.  These people are in a much better position than I started it.  But with some hard work and commitment, it is totally doable.

Some things that I did:

I started to walk to work rather than pay for parking, netting me $400/month.  Parking  in Downtown LA is expensive.

I took a side job, earning $2000/year.

I cut out a very expensive hobby.  A large part of this hobby was just me acquiring more and more materials.  I had enough materials but always thought I needed more.

I cut down on shopping significantly, almost to nil.  I’m a better teetotaler when it comes to shopping rather than doing it in moderation.  One of my biggest vices is online shopping.  So I add things to carts now and leave them there for a week.  Usually, I never end up buying them.

I transferred credit card balances.  That made me focus on paying it off within the timeframe, otherwise that low APR goes to 14.9%, 19.9%, 24.99% and that starts from the day you applied for it.

I kept my little $550 apt because the rent was affordable.  I never upgraded.

Same with the car, which was paid off a long time ago.  Yeah, it’s not cool but it gets me where I want to go and now I don’t even drive it much because I walk to work.  I’ll be doing something way cooler when I’m on my RTW.

I paid more than $2000/month towards debt.  It was hard.

You may need to make major changes in your lifestyle that I’m you may not be willing to do.  It won’t be easy.  You have to be honest with yourself and really devote MAJOR sacrifices in how you spend your money.

Are paying off debts your number one priority?  It should be.  Traveling can be number two for a short while until you are debt -free or close to it.  If it isn’t your priority, its easy to screw up.  For example, you say you want to pay off debt but you see the newest HDTV or gadget-y smartphone.  If paying off debt isn’t your actual priority, you will likely choose to buy the HDTV or gadget-y smartphone over paying off debt, rationalizing all different kinds of scenarios.  You do this much more easily than you would if you could remember that paying of debts is priority number one.

If traveling and  paying off debts are some things you REALLY want to do, you need to take control of it.  Refinance.  Stop talking about it and do it.  Do NOT hire a cleaning person.  Do it yourself or let it go for a while longer.  Or make it a very rare occurence to hire them.  Cut out or have fewer dinners with friends.  Cut out drinks from the bar.  Or cut out one drink from the bar.  Transfer balances on to a lower card asap and stop using credit.  Make sure that the transfer fee is reasonable and maybe even has a cap (like $75).  Generally these days they charge 3% fee to transfer and there is no cap ( I don’t really think this is a good deal unless you know 100% that you will pay off the cc before the APR kicks in).  It used to be different and there is a chance that you can still find something like that.  Be more strict on parking rules.  Don’t lose $300 a year to parking tickets and moving violations.  Consider how much you are spending on a car that might not be what works best for your lifestyle, even if you can afford it.  Maintenance and gas costs are significant.  Try not to drive for two days in a row.  Then try a week.  Combine your meetings so that a bunch of people you need to meet with could be done at one time and you can stop doing them one on one.  Meet with people for a coffee or something cheaper (or even free) rather than food and/or drinks.  Just stop suggesting all together that you and so-and-so need to get together.  You probably get invited to enough events as it is that you don’t have to suggest it yourself.  Talk to people via phone or email, which already has the cost budgeted in since you pay monthly plans, rather than an in-person meeting if that in-person meeting is going to cost you.

You don’t have to cut out everything but if something is important to you then you need to cut something out elsewhere.  If a standing date is important to you, then cut out meals out when you are on your own.

The point is every bit helps.

Do you have any money-saving suggestions?

nomadic matt’s how to make money with your travel blog

I just bought  Nomadic Matt’s How To Make Money With Your Travel Blog.   After thinking about it for forever, he’s making a sale offer I couldn’t pass up. Until June 27, 2010, it’s only $10.  I’m looking forward to getting it and start improving this site!

In his own words:

I make over $3,000 dollars a month from my travel website. That is enough to keep anybody traveling and being a digital nomad for a long time. Even if you don’t want to be a digital nomad, it’s still a nice side income that can help pay for your trip. This ebook has all of my tips, tricks, secrets, and advice on how to build a successful blog, rank high in Google search results, and make money through advertising.

The ebook is split into 6 sections:

  1. Starting a Blog– Basic but necessary information about picking a niche (what are you an expert in?), choosing what kind of travel blog to have (there is more than one), and the number of websites to run.
  2. Installing Your Blog– All about choosing the right website name, picking a WordPress theme, and installing SEO plugins.
  3. Getting Traffic- How to use sites like Stumble Upon, gain followers, find other bloggers, and use Twitter and Facebook to your advantage to build a community around your blog.
  4. Search Engine Optimization– Detailed information about SEO, how it works, site optimization, link building, and where to find those valuable links to rank high in Google.
  5. Monetizing Your Blog– Covers the main types of advertising, which work best for different sites, how much to charge, and where to find willing advertisers.
  6. Putting it All Together– What to expect from all of this and how to best utilize your time.

The ebook takes you through the whole process of blogging, SEO, and monetizing your website. There is information in the book for beginners as well as those with a little more knowledge.

Right now I’m really just interested in what drives a travel site, not really the financial aspect.  This and the free ebook that comes with this on how to build a travel blog should be quite helpful though.

If you do decide you want to also develop your travel blog, click here to view more details and buy though that link before Monday, September 6, 2010 at 12pm US eastern time.  You’ll help me as an affiliate!  After Monday, September 6th at 12pm US eastern time, Matt will be switching out the links so starting then, and then only, please buy at this link:  http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?af=1239245

the xx headlining the music box

The xx had their first headlining show in L.A. at the Music Box this past Saturday, June 5.

I was there.

It was so lovely.

I’ve said it so many times but they are simply mesmorizing live.  Transfixing. It’s something that I didn’t get until seeing them in the flesh.  Romy Madley Croft’s voice is gorgeous…so much longing, forlorn emotion behind each lyric. I can’t get enough. Oliver Sim picks his bass with this definitive pausing, as if he isn’t sure if he should share the next note with you.  He also has those piercing eyes.  Don’t get into a staring contest with him.  He doesn’t blink or break gaze and I was watching him for a lo000000000000ng time.  They hardly leave their mics and don’t do much on stage so I can see why some might even think them boring but they would be wrong.  Their shows are uniquely intimate like a whispered secret.  Even when there are 20, 000 people there like at Coachella.  It draws you in like seductress sirens from Greek mythology.

Here is some video from some friendly YouTubers/The xx uber-fans (thanks to pureinstinktm, nosaintinla, razorstarzz, and Licona1219 for most of these videos!):

Intro

Crystallised

Islands/Heart Skipped a Beat

Shelter

VCR

Do You Mind?

Basic Space

Night Time

Infinity

Stars

Openers Nosaj Thing and Phantogram were fanatastic too.

I love the way Nosaj Thing spins and dances.  It’s one fluid movement.

Phantogram has a unique energy.  MC’s future wife, Sarah, is a wild woman, bounce dancing while she plays.  I prefer her songs and I also like her hair.

For photos from the show, check this:

http://www.laweekly.com/slideshow/the-xx-the-music-box-30053389/

For a review on the show, check this:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2010/06/live-the-xx-the-music-box-fonda.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+PopHiss+(Pop+%26+Hiss+Music+Blog)

Setlist: The xx at the Music Box, Los Angeles, June 5, 2010
Main set: Intro / Crystalised / Islands / Heart Skipped a Beat / Shelter / VCR / Do You Mind? / Basic Space / Night Time / Infinity
Encore: Stars