November Expense Totals 2014

november totals

What interests me more than this November’s totals is our entire total for expenses in 2014 so far.

So far in 2014 (with 1 month left to go) we have spent $20,285.41.  Now, many of you may know that our goal for a whole year’s expenses is $20,000, so we’re going to come in just above that, but I have to say, I am pretty darn pleased with the kind of budget we’ve been able to maintain.

I mean think about this.  There are many vagabondish parts of this lifestyle, but we have not been hopping from hostel to hostel or couch to couch and we have not been limiting ourselves to countries with extremely low costs like Thailand and Cambodia.  Instead we have been treating ourselves to comfortable work spaces often in luxury hotels and flying wherever our curiosity takes us.

When someone says, “Wow, you travel year-round?  How do you do that?”  I don’t want my answer to be “I train-hop and live on my friends’ couches and I have a blog teaching you how to do the same.”

Because the thing is, we want our strategies to be, for the most part, repeatable for others interested in nomadic life.  Surely if we implemented hostels, couchsurfing and hitch-hiking more often, we would hit that $20,000 annual expense goal with relative ease.  But we don’t just want to show people that they can make travel affordable on the condition that they go to S.E. Asia and become full-time backpackers.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really great and worth-while things about that style of travel. Sometimes I even miss the more backpacker ways of doing things.  But we want to raise the challenge a notch higher and suggest that you can even travel affordably without making those strategies your backbone.  That with miles and points as the backbone of your travel strategy, you can make travel even more sustainable long-term, both for your budget and your energy levels.

I know we’ve exceeded 20,000 with a month still left in 2014, but even coming as close to that goal as we have makes me really proud of the lifestyle that we’re, in a way, pioneering.  Yes there are others living out of hotels.  And yes there are others living on a shoe-string budget as they travel.  But are there others attempting to do both at once?

We have learned so much by doing this and especially by documenting it.  And, the longer we do this, the more we refine our strategies.  We’ve come really close to our $20,000 goal this year (I predict we’ll come out at around $21,500) and I think we’ll do even better this next year.

Check out our stats page for more specific documentation.

Now, on to November stats, spanning 6 countries: Mexico, U.S, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and Belgium.

November Total$2,431.54
Tourist Attraction Total$0
Food & Beverage Total$662.95
Land Transit Total$330.88
Air Transit Total$483.1819,437 SouthWest points
Accommodation total$833.506,000 SPG
44,000 Club Carlson
50,000 IHG

On a side note, we really need to buckle down and bring our food budget lower.  Don’t worry, we’re already on it.  We ate supermarket food today in Amsterdam and I imagine that will be the case for days to come.

Photo of the month:

foggy view in Bled

13 Comments on “November Expense Totals 2014

  1. Just wanted to comment to say: before I started reading your blog (and Drew’s), I would have said $20K to travel a year nomadically would be easy…but after seeing the enormous number of countries (and expensive cities and hotels) you’ve been able to travel to this year (and past years) for even close to $20K, I am SUPER impressed! And definitely a believer – I have already put just a few of your combined tips/tricks into my own nomadic travels, and it’s paid huge in the form of accumulating points balances and ongoing cash savings. I’m not full-time yet, but am around 80% travel now mostly for work during the week and the occasional weekend away, slowly increasing that percentage until hopefully early 2016 I’ll be 100%. Please keep these kinds of posts coming – I don’t necessarily study your financial details in extreme depth, but I love thinking about the high-level concepts and applying to my own travel nomad situation. Thanks again!

    • Thanks so much for this comment David! Neat to hear your thoughts on the concepts and also on the $20K/year budget. I do think you’re right that traveling nomadically for a year on $20K is easy if those are the only parameters of the goal. Couchsurfing is free after all and is an awesome experience. But after awhile it can feel unsustainable to be like a perpetual/serial guest. For truly sustainable nomadic travel, I think you have to feel a bit more like you’re providing for yourself and creating a lifestyle you could relax in, work in, etc. Fancy hotels are perfect for that 😀

      Very exciting that you will soon be able to travel 100% of the time! Congrats!

      • Agree 100%. Couchsurfing and/or hanging out at the parents house all the time is certainly possible, but definitely not sustainable (for most independent people like me, anyway). Likewise, staying at the Ritz or the IC (or whatever luxury hotel the 1% prefer these days) every single night is not sustainable financially or points-wise, either, again for most people. However, a healthy sprinkling of the occasional free stays with friends/relatives, along with “luxury” hotel stays as you appear to have succeeded in arranging over time is not only sustainable, but actually makes the nomadic lifestyle varied and interesting IMO. Love all the wonderful “how to do this” as well as the “how we did this in real life” posts – great stuff!

        • Thanks again for your comments! Definitely agree. And glad you’re liking the posts too!

  2. I think your food budget is pretty low already, but if you can get it lower, that’s great! I appreciate the detail accounts, because it makes it easier to understand Drew’s posts on hotel points. Thanks!

    • 😀 Glad the posts are helping!
      Food is probably the easiest budget-category to take control of. So as soon as I feel like we need to reign in our budget a bit, we go on the eating-cheap diet.

  3. I really enjoy following your blog as well as Drew’s. In many ways, you guys remind me of how I used to travel before kids. Except, looking back, I feel like I could have done more, based on your adventures! 🙂 You are absolutely right, doing what you do and maintaining such low budget is a challenge. Well done!

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying the journey and relating to it as well! 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment Leana!

  4. It would be awesome to see how you use the credit cards, especially for us newbies who don’t have points but are aiming to live off them one day :-). For example, which cards are you using for which of the expenses detailed? That would be very, very helpful.

    • Ya, maybe I need to include that in the monthly reports because we usually focus on one card at a time- whichever we need to reach a spend on. For instance this month we’ve been using the Hilton card because we need to finish our spend on it and it has a chip (which Europe requires.)

      • Awesome, thanks! Yeah I just saw in another stats post that someone also asked about earning – sorry for the duplicate!

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