I can’t bring myself to spend money on anything but travel!
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten really good at traveling cheaply around the U.S. For local destinations, I buy up Megabus tickets for less than $10 each, and when I have to fly, I study flight prices and pounce when there’s a sale. Because I’m a full-time freelance writer with a somewhat flexible schedule, I can travel anytime, so I nab those cheap mid-week flights without having to miss much work time.
With this new success at traveling cheaply has come a new problem: I don’t want to spend money on anything except travel.
I’m aware this is a silly, first-world complaint that really shouldn’t be a complaint at all. Don’t you realize how lucky you are that you get to travel?, people might ask. (Actually, no – being able to travel isn’t luck at all, as Gary Arndt explains nicely.)
This insane condition has an official name, which I just made up. I’m Quirky Travel Guy, and I’m a victim of tightwadtravelitis. Please help!
Why I can’t spend money on anything but travel
When you’re finding flights from Chicago to San Diego for $60 each way (including taxes!) and to Miami for $72 each way, that makes it really hard to spend money on anything else.
In my head, the logic goes like this: How can I shell out $30 for a nice local restaurant meal when that’s half a plane ticket to California? How can I justify spending $70 on a pair of shoes when that’s the same price as a trip to South Florida?
And forget about big-ticket purchases. I haven’t had a vehicle since my van was blown up in 2010, but I find it hard to save up a few thousand for a new ride when that money could instead take me to Australia or Africa for the first time.
I use this reasoning all the time, and therefore, I don’t spend money on much of anything anymore. You might think this is a good thing. Hey, you’re saving up money and sticking to a budget! But it’s actually becoming a problem.
As nice as it is to be able to save money for travel, the fact is I’ve always been good at sticking to budgets. I’m now going too far in the opposite direction – becoming so frugal that I’m passing up chances to grab a drink with friends or take in a movie because that $15 could be the entire cost of a roundtrip Megabus ride to St. Louis!
Being aware of the problem is the first step. Now I will seek to remind myself that, although I want to build up some savings so I can take memorable trips (and perhaps buy a new van!), I also have to live in the moment and take advantage of opportunities for life experiences that come along in the meantime.
Has anyone else ever been stricken by this tragic affliction? Have any tips to overcome it?