How I am Clearing Debt and Still Travelling
June 13, 2019, I was awarded full custody of my daughters after a long legal battle. There was domestic violence involved, it got messy and even though I was able to afford most of it, in the end, I was left with a debt of $23,403.
6 days after court, I had a work trip scheduled my kids were supposed to come on but because the court paperwork wasn’t finalised, they couldn’t. This meant I was travelling for a month without them, needed to find last-minute help to look after them and the debt weighed on my mind. Here is how I cleared $3,558.36 in that month leaving $19,844.64 to repay.
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Where Did I Go?
I have fallen in love with the South Pacific and fortunately for me, I have had 3 work trips in 6 months to the Solomon Islands. This time I went to Munda to learn to dive with Dive Munda! Then I flew across to Honiara and did a Solomon Island Discovery Cruise again (my favourite trip and I will do it again in February). After that trip, I spent a few days in Honiara then off to Jodie’s Retreat in Savusavu Fiji, where I did more diving with the dive centre in Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Resort.
While it was amazing, it also meant most of the time I was out of reception, which limits my other income-earning activities. When I arrived in Munda, my laptop decided to start playing up, stop connecting to the internet and it would go black. Being a Mac, there was no Apple store or repairer I could take it to until I got back. This also limited what I could do.
5 Things I did to pay off Debt While Travelling
This month, I couldn’t buy things to resell as I have previously (and made over $10,000 a month doing it before). Since I had sold off everything we owned and moved out of the house, I couldn’t rent my space on Airbnb. When I had a house or unit I have made up to $1,300 in 5 days doing that. Combine that with living remotely and a broken computer, my options were limited.
I did read You Are A Badass At Making Money while travelling too.
1. Reduced Accommodation Costs
My rent used to be $2,000 a month. This month, I did end up needing to pay for a few nights accommodation. However, those 3 nights were for work and still $1,385 cheaper than my usual rent. Since I was travelling for work, my accommodation was provided for the companies I was working with most of the time. Aside from a night in Brisbane, 2 nights in Honiara and 1 night in Nadi, I was fine. My daughters spent the month with my parents as I travelled.
2. Different food costs
I anticipated my food expenses would be a lot lower than they were. With a little more research and commitment, I could have reduced this. Instead, I blew my food budget well and truly because we ate out a lot while travelling. I learnt from it though and have managed to work out some basic meals for my daughters and I to prevent this in the future.
3. Free Childcare
Because my daughters were unable to come with me at the last minute, I needed someone to look after my kids so I could work. Cue a call to my parents because Mum has just retired. Thankfully, they were happy to help and since my kids don’t see them as much since we moved to Melbourne 3.5 years ago, it worked for everyone. While I was gone, they were spoilt (snowfields, beach day, so many clothes etc).
I am extremely fortunate to have supportive parents, I know this! Without my family, including my brothers and sisters, there is no way I would be where I am today or do what I do.
4. Freelance Writing
It’s one of the things I do in my business and I love it. I couldn’t do as much this month but I was able to chase a few invoices and do a few pitches before my computer died, then follow up things on my phone. I also took notes from my trip and have pitched a variety of articles so will be making more money from it later.
5. Online Surveys
Where I was, I couldn’t do them or even log onto the sites to check how much I had. However, in Australia there are quite a few options, my best ones being Octopus Group, Swagbucks and Prize Rebel. The month I was away I made some money with referrals and cashed it out when I got back.
Tiny Habit Changes And Future Plans
Our habits can make or break us. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak can sink a great ship”. It goes for habits too. What we do and how we spend our money adds up, no matter how small we think it is. This month I learnt a lot, made some changes and continued with a few other good habits.
1. Increase Regular Payments
Most debt will have regular payments set up for you but rarely will those payments enable you to pay it off quickly. I have my regular payments set up and continued with them but as time goes on, they are increased. Also, when unexpected money comes in, it is split between debt and savings.
2. Maximise Lump Sums
This time of year most of us get lump sum payments in the form of a tax return or Family Tax Benefit or similar. I get a payment for my daughter because she has autism. This lump sum was split to debt and some to savings.
While I do have debt and want it gone asap, I also want to replenish my savings to an amount I am comfortable with. Most people got for $1,000 to $2,000 as per Dave Ramsey – The Total Money Makeover and Scott Pape aka The Barefoot Investor. I prefer a little more.
3. Delayed gratification
Do I want this random item now or do I want to be debt free again? Debt free! Most of the time, when it was a choice between buying something or not, I chose not to. I hate being in debt and want it gone asap. This month was harder since I couldn’t earn an income properly or do much to increase my income. So I had to cut back where possible.