Editor’s Note: This guest post is from our reader Laura in Britain. She is a great example of someone with a long-term view of lifestyle design and travel. Laura and her family plan to relocate to sunny Portugal in five years and write about the process at Move to Portugal.
When Betsy first asked me to do a guest post for Married with Luggage I spent a week just thinking about where to begin. So much has happened since we decided to change our lives completely that putting it all into one post seemed difficult.
Five years ago I had a large amount of debt and a toxic job that required a 60-hour workweek. Move forward to today and the debt has all been paid off, I’ve quit the job and we have a plan to move abroad to Portugal in 2012. As a family we are earning just under 50% less than last year and we’ve never been happier.
So how did we change things? What did we do to turn our lives around?
Well it all started with paying off my debt, which we achieved by:
- Cutting out nonessentials
- Living frugally
- Keeping a spending diary
- Blogging for accountability
- Selling our stuff, and
- Reading every personal finance book we could get our hands on.
It was a giant learning curve but one we needed to take.
The lessons we learnt in getting debt free have carried us forward to where we are now, with a carefully laid out plan to move abroad and live in the sun.
Our goal to move to Portugal came about in 2007, when fed up with our daily routine we made the decision to move to the sun. Portugal was an automatic choice as we’d been on holiday there several times and loved it. It has 300 days of sunshine a year (very appealing when you’re used to the British climate), the people are lovely and it has lots of golf courses, a basic requirement for my husband.
Our plan, which we have written down and placed above the computer, as well as visualised on an inspiration board, is built around our priorities: travel and moving abroad. Placing it in such a prominent place in our house keeps us so focused.
I can’t emphasis enough how much it helps to write down your goals.
We try to do something everyday to move us nearer to 2012, whether it’s taking a Portuguese lesson (hubby plans on working in Portugal and I would like to run a simple B&B) or saving money by packing our lunch (the frugal habits have stayed with us).
We know that by continuing to live simply and building on our savings we will get there.
Editor’s Note: To find out more about Laura and her family’s long-term plans (they are booked out to 2020!), check out her blog and specifically these posts about the plan, fixing up their house to sell. She writes about debt-free living at No More Spending.