As our Poker Pilgrimage draws closer we’re finding that the mere plan to leave our home in four years is saving money today. We save money in a variety of ways that are all related to this long-term goal. When we devised our country-wide travel plan, we considered how much money we would need to save for it. We thought of the costs of travel and of working less than full-time. And of course, for us, the costs of playing poker.
What we didn’t realize was that we would save money in the years leading up to our journey. Just knowing that we’re planning to leave our home has saved us from buying things that we would otherwise “need”. Along the same lines, we’re no longer planning home improvement projects (remodeling, redecorating, gardening), as we know that we’re a few short years from handing our home over to another family who will have their own tastes and interests. It has also inspired us to sell some of our things rather than paying to store them while we travel. As we near our departure date, we’ll ultimately be selling, donating, and recycling most of our stuff, including our house.
Save Money with a Shopping Ban
Because our trip is creeping ever closer, we’ve imposed a shopping ban for many household goods. The other day I noticed that the vacuum was starting to show its age and briefly considered buying a new one. Immediately I realized that we’re out of here in four years. Our current vacuum will be just fine. No need to buy a new vacuum only to spend the money to store it while we’re gone. And goodness knows what the state of vacuum technology will be in five years when we return. By then they may have perfected the robot vacuum. And wouldn’t I feel silly to be stuck with a 2018 vacuum when I could have Rosie the Robot cleaning all my rugs while I sleep.
Categories Impacted by Our Shopping Ban
Of course, the vacuum isn’t the only thing we’ve avoided buying by reminding ourselves of our plan to hit the road. We recently discussed replacing our couch (nope), buying a real night table for the guest room (uh uh), and getting a few plates to replace chipped ones (no way!). In every case, we decided that we would make do with what we had for a few more years.
We’re finding that we save money through our unofficial shopping ban in the following categories:
- Games (we have so many games!)
- Decorative items (rugs, pictures, tchotchkes)
- Appliances (large and small)
- Books (thank goodness for the library)
Still, we’re not draconian about our shopping ban. Just this week we bought a new gas grill. We grill at least two or three times per week (right through the nasty New England winter), and our current grill is deteriorating rapidly. You basically risk your life lighting it (I have singed arm hairs more than once). When we investigated replacing the deteriorating parts, we discovered that a new grill could be had for the same price. So we held our breath and ordered a new grill. We figure we’ll pass it on to a friend or family member in need when we leave.
Save Money and Time with a Moratorium on Home Improvements
In a few short years we’ll be turning our home over to another family. They may not favor the cherry wood kitchen of my dreams. They may not want to keep up with a backyard vegetable garden. And they almost certainly won’t appreciate a purple master bedroom. Planning to leave home is causing us to save money on numerous projects that we might tackle if this were to be our “forever home.”
It’s not only money we are saving either. All of the time which might otherwise be spent on home improvement projects is freed up for money-making endeavors. Those hours spent keeping up with a vegetable garden can now go into side-hustling. Or even to planning our trip!Just knowing that we are planning to leave our home has saved us from buying things that we would otherwise 'need'.Click To Tweet
We are looking to get as close to Stuff Zero as we can when we leave for our trip. Toward that end, we have already begun to sell things. A number of board games have already gone out the door. The fabulous DeCluttr app has helped me sell a number of old books, CDs, and DVDs. We’ve also put my son’s old twin bed up for sale on a neighborhood bulletin board. Other furniture will follow the bed’s exodus, sooner rather than later. In a future post we’ll detail the ways we’ve found to exchange unwanted belongings for cash. For now, here are a few places to consider if you wish to similarly lighten your load:
- Neighborhood boards (ours is found in Yahoo groups)
- Yard sales
- Flea markets or swap meets
- Local consignment stores
- Facebook marketplace
Sell Your Car
We have always maintained two cars. With four kids between us, there have been many times when kid A has to be at soccer practice while kid B needs to be 30 minutes away in a freezing cold ice rink (not that I’m bitter). So two cars have really been a necessity. However, once we hit the road, that second car will be completely superfluous. We look forward to selling the second car and eliminating the taxes and insurance at the same time!
Sell Your Home
Of course, the ultimate money maker at the end of the rainbow will be selling our home. Not everyone planning to take a long journey will decide to sell their house. But we’re not sure where we want to live when we return. So during the trip, we look forward to the simplicity of mortgage-free living. If you decide to keep your home while on the road, think about renting it out during your absence. In many parts of the country, you can command rent which will significantly defray the costs of home ownership. That’s a win too.
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