How to Minimize Your Spending While on Sabbatical
What is a sabbatical? Traditionally, it's a year of paid leave taken by a university professor for study or travel, but many people simply consider it a break from work. If you've decided to take time off, paid or otherwise, you'll need to stretch your funds as far as possible. These tips for reducing household expenses, limiting frivolous spending and cutting out unnecessary costs will help your money last longer.
Track Your Spending
If you don't already have a detailed week-by-week budget, start by reviewing your bank and credit card statements from past years to track how much you typically spend on mortgage or rent payments, utilities, groceries, transportation and other necessities. Also take note of money spent on luxuries—everything from vacations and evenings out to clothing and manicures.
Write a Budget
How much does a sabbatical cost? Well, that depends on the length of time you plan to take off, as well as travel payments you'll incur (think flights, shots, passports and visas) and the expense of maintaining your life at home and abroad. When writing up a realistic budget, try to keep in mind any at-home costs that you can't forego, such as a mortgage, insurance or even car payments.
Minimize Household Expenses and Cut Back on Extras
To save money for a sabbatical, it's ideal to reduce extraneous spending—meaning eliminating as much as possible in that "want, not need" category—for several months or even years before your break. If elimination seems impossible, make strategic and sustainable cuts—for example, halving the number of meals you eat in restaurants, painting your nails at home or relying on public transportation instead of paying for gas and parking. If you can train yourself to spend less, you'll be able to save more, and the amount of money you'll need for your sabbatical will be more manageable.
Supplement Your Income
If you plan to travel during your break, sublet your place to bring in extra cash or even consider a home exchange situation. You may also wish to take on the occasional freelance assignment in your field of choice—whether that's writing, website design, coaching or public speaking. You'll be grateful for the extra income, especially if unexpected expenses arise.
Choose an Affordable Destination
Again, if you'll be traveling throughout your sabbatical, be strategic. The cost of living in London, Paris, New York or Sydney is exponentially higher than in Cambodia or Guatemala. Choose a city or country that will allow your savings to stretch as far as possible.
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