Another day, another dollar, another sad face when I look at how much this trip is going to cost. In yesterday’s post I laid out the budget I have for a 4+ month trip to Roatan to do my dive courses (and hopefully stay on to instruct, but that’s a bridge I’m not ready to cross yet). The cost was twice as much as I had anticipated and I need to get it down, and fast.
Wondering why I don’t just stick around here a few extra months and save some more money?
1. It’s March now. I wanted to go at the end of June. Semi-realistically, I’m now looking at August. I can’t push this back much farther – rainy season starts in October/November which means it’s going to be shitty, and less tourists = less diving. It also should equal cheaper accommodation, but I’m more concerned about the other stuff right now. I don’t want to show up in the middle of slow season, which means I might as well just wait until rainy season is over next February…which is almost a year, and I just can’t wait that long.
2. Every day I am one day closer to getting fired because I am not digging being at my job at all right now and I spent 70% of my day watching diving videos on YouTube. Honestly, I’m ready to get out of here.
What is my plan??
GET THE COSTS DOWN
First, get everything down in that budget from yesterday as much as I can. I have already made improvements in 3 areas:
Women’s BCD – I found a used one on Craigslist in brand-new condition for $150 which was $200 less than I budgeted for it, and it’s like $700 new. Score! Total is now $9,650.
MSP Premium – I found a loophole that allows you to submit last year’s tax return and if your income last year was under a certain limit, you get assistance with your premiums for the next 12 months. Luckily (??) I was super ghetto last year and only worked 5 months, so I qualify for 60% off my premiums. Starting next month I will only pay $25/month instead of $65. That shaves another $160 off my budget. Total is now $9,490.
Storage – I have a friend who will very likely be buying a new house with her boyfriend before I leave on this trip. They will be a little house-poor for the first bit and won’t have extra money to furnish all the lovely extra room they’re going to have after moving from their 1 bedroom apartment. So I have graciously offered to let them use my furniture while I’m gone to give them some breathing room to save $$ for their own furniture. And clearly by that I mean she graciously offered. Which means I can get a MUCH smaller storage locker, hopefully in the $50 range. That’s $200 off my budget. If I can find somewhere free to keep my other stuff, it would be $400 off, but that’s still in the works. Total is now $9,290.
Not bad for one day right? Already took $560 off. There are probably a couple more areas I can save on (thinking I can get a deal on the fins/mask/snorkel and dive computer…) and some that I don’t plan on scrimping on (the $600/month food/drink/entertainment budget is firm).
GET THE INCOME UP
So I knocked $560 off the budget and it’s now $9,290. Great? That’s still nine thousand frickin dollars. That’s a ton of money.
How can I get a lot of money in a short amount of time?
1. STRIPPING. If I could, I would people. I wasn’t born with the right assets. Too bad. Would have made this all a lot easier.
2. SELL SELL SELL. I am selling everything I can. You might not have the same things as me to sell but look around your house and I bet you can find some stuff. Craigslist is going to be your new best friend, okay?
So far I have sold:
– my car ($4,000)
– dog crate ($70) [don’t worry, I don’t have a homeless dog now, it was from another time, another place]
– my djembe ($250)
…that’s $4,320!! Yes, I’m lucky I had a car that I don’t need and could sell (thanks, dad!). You might not. Get creative! I currently have for sale: tickets to Sasquatch (hopefully will bring in another $500-600…which should offset my broken heart about not going), some expensive clothes and a handbag (maybe $80-100?), a dresser (closer to departure when I no longer need it.. maybe $50?), kitchen table and chairs (ditto… maybe $150-200?) and a portable dishwasher (ditto again…maybe around $200). If I am lucky that should all get me another $950-1100!! But for right now the budget is sitting at $4,970. See? Cut that shit in half in just a few days.
3. WORK IT GIRL. Yeah, obviously. I have to work. I have to save the money I make. I figure starting in April I can realistically save about $800/month if I really penny-pinch and stop partying on the weekends and buying snacks every damn day at work. The rest has to go to rent/bills/food/etc. If I can do that to the middle of August, that is $3600. That would cut it down to $1370….which is what I need to make up from somewhere else.
4. CUT COSTS MORE. Things to look into: can I wrangle my work into paying for my First Aid/CPR course somehow? That would be another $130 off. Can I get some kind of cheap $10/month insurance at the storage locker, have my furniture covered under my friend’s home insurance while it’s at her house, and cancel my home insurance? That would be another $120 off. Can I get some kind of better deal on a flight by flying out of Seattle? Can I get a better deal on a mask/fins/snorkel? Can I get a better deal on diving/trip insurance from somewhere other than DAN insurance? Can I sublet my apartment furnished for the next few months and live somewhere cheaper? I pay $1100 rent by myself and this is a HUGE cost for me every month. Am I going to win the BCSPCA Lottery and laugh about how much I worried about money for this trip?
5. MAKE SOME SCRILLA. Here’s the fun part… I need to make more money somewhere. Duhhhhh. My options right now are: get a part-time job for evenings/weekends OR quit my job and go work on the oil rigs up north for a few months in a camp job where accommodations and food is provided (maybe make less but have no expenses). So far option one has been coming up with a lot of dead ends. There just aren’t a lot of part-time jobs out there right now and the ones I’ve applied for haven’t worked out (serving jobs = not qualified enough, promo girl jobs = not pretty enough, retail jobs = not available enough). Option two is looking a lot better right now although it comes with a whole slew of other problems that hurts my brain to think about right now. Fortunately I have an online virtual assisting business that is already up and running (and hoping to be using it to make a little extra here and there when I get to Roatan). Unfortunately, through some random bad timing, all 3 of my most recent clients have sold their business or changed jobs and no longer need my services. I am a bit torn between putting a lot of work in to find new gigs or focusing on getting one of the above options. Hmmmmmmmmm……..
So I’m technically still at $4,970. But I have a plan! And a few half-plans. I need to get going on this…like… yesterday…. so I’m off to trawl the job sites again.
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