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Frequently Used Excuses #1: I Have No Money

One of my favourite soapbox topics is the idea that you don’t need money to live adventurously. As such, it was nice to receive an article from Lee Hughes on that very theme. Lee runs the Ephemeral Project, a website which aims to get people taking control of their lives and enjoying it. Here is an example of the sort of thing you can find there:

“If only I had the money”

One of the most common excuses.

The fact is that money should never stop you, whether it be having more adventures, doing something different or making your dreams come true. It costs less than you think if you are willing to make changes and be creative.

There’s an app for that

If you have never tracked what you spend your money on I strongly suggested you do this straight away. All you need is a pen and paper and carry it around with you everywhere. Of course, now you can get apps like this one that will track it for you. This allows you to track where your money goes, all those little things throughout the day, coffee, sandwich etc all add up and once you have a weekly figure of how much you spend on what  I bet you’ll be surprised to find just how much of your money goes where. Once you have total figures you can start making changes that will allow you to save extra money for whatever you want to do.

Selling your junk/stuff

Look around your homeand ask yourself what you do actually need? Do you need your TV? Hell no. How much are you willing to let go of to achieve your dream? For me it was selling every single thing I own. In April i’m planning on cycling to New Zealand, walking the length of New Zealand and then paddling the largest river in Canada the River Mackenzie. What use is my stuff thousands of miles away? No use to me whatsoever. I could have applied for sponsorship and I did apply but I soon realised that the time money and energy put into sponsorship request wasn’t worth the hassle. I picked up a few sponsors but in the greater scheme of things I would have just spent that time coming up with something creative or working in my job for more time.

Friends and family

Ask around, it’s amazing what friends and family will take off your hands. I offloaded all my high value items that I didn’t want/didn’t fit into my future lifestyle and managed to raise quite a lot of money, something I wouldn’t have got by holding onto something that I didn’t need.

Companies/services I used to raise extra cash

Fatbrain – I used Fatbrain to sell all my books. While they didn’t except all my books due to low popularity they accepted about 50% of them (48 books). This company is helpful for a very quick rid of your books. If you want value for money for your books and have the time I would suggest using Amazon or eBay to sell them off. I had no time and simply wanted rid of them. One word of warning if you use this service, once they have your books and review them they changed the value of the quoted price upon inspection. This caused me to lose about £7, something I wasn’t expecting, but I got rid of 48 books in 2 hours with free P&P.

Mazuma Mobile – The older your phone the less it’s worth. I sent off a few phones for only £2, but £2 is £2 and it all adds up in the end. I had no problems with this company I sent my phones off and in a couple of days I got my check. Easy money for something I don’t even use.

Fone Bank - Also a phone company. I used this one because they gave me a higher quote on an old iPhone I had lying around. Do some price comparison and find the best offers for your phone. Again, no problems with this company, I got my check within a few days.

Music Magpie - I copied all my DVDs onto my external hardrive and sent them off to Music Magpie. You won’t get much money for them, they are a quick rid company like Fat Brain. I was quoted anything from 30p to £3 for a DVD. You might have better luck selling them individually though if you have the time. Although the way technology is with torrents and streaming etc I doubt you’ll get much for used DVDs.

eBay - Doesn’t really need any explanation. Still a great service to selling your junk and also picking up a bargain.

Of course, not everyone will want to sell everything they own, this was a personal choice of mine as i’m attracted to the idea of minimalism.  I have no reason to own anything that I don’t really need. I also realised that my dream was more important than possessions. Whatever your goal/dream/desire you have to make it happen. Using the excuse of not having enough money becomes diluted when you realise that people/companies will happily pay for stuff you don’t want anymore. I managed to raise about 1.4k selling everything I own, round the world trip anyone?

Get your idea backed

The internet is amazing. It has allowed individuals to be heard by a global audience. If you have a creative idea you can get the backing of people who like that idea and who are willing to support it.

IndieGoGo – The basic idea is that you come up with a project and offer certain things to people in exchange for backing. If people like this idea and what you have to offer then they will back you and donate your suggested amount in return for whatever you have to offer. The more you offer and the more interesting the project is the more likely you will reach your target for your project. Be aware that IndieGoGo takes a 4% cut from the total money raised.

Kickstarter – Basically the same as IndieGoGo. Kickstarter has a 5% fee for total money raised. If you don’t reach your total then no cut is taken.

Be logical with your plans

Back in the safety of a couple years till my departure date my original plan was to cycle to New Zealand, walk length of New Zealand, cycle up the Americas into Alaska, climb Mount McKinley and then paddle the River Mackenzie. On closer inspection though the cost of climbing Mount McKinley was around the price of my whole trip of cycling and walking the length of New Zealand. Did I really need to spend this amount of money on climbing Mount McKinley? No. It was added stress to my dream. As time progressed and I had more of an idea of how much money I would have (not a lot) I started planning routes. Again, I dreamed of visiting the most amount of countries I could but I had to take a step back and view it from a logical perspective. Can I really justify spending about $100 on a Turkmenistan visa which i’ll only allowed 5-7 days in the country ? I decided no and changed my route to save my money. I’m I at a loss? I think not, my route has now changed so that I can ride up the KKH and save my visa money. I still get an amazing ride and save myself money. Dreams should be flexible so you have no excuse not to achieve them.

 

Create different avenues of extra income

If your plan is to travel for a length period of time then you should look into creating different avenues of income to help support you while on your journey.

Expedition related: You are doing something unique and it will gather interest from people. After I heard the news that my job was going to cut my hours just 6 weeks before I left I had to create different avenues of income to help support my journey. I created a page called making dreams come true while I have to be realistic about just how much money this page could create (hardly anything) it is still a possible form of income. Someone might really love my project and decide to help support it. Life on the road can be cheap and this extra income could go along way. It’s just another way to support your dream.

Fiverr - I can assume that you will be going to travel to strange and wonderful places, take advantage of this. Websites like Fiverr give you the change to do practically anything for $5. It sounds quite cheap but $5 could get you an extra day on the road. Be creative, use your environment to your advantage.

Outsourcing: Technology has changed the way the world works. Are you apart of that change? Do you have a skill that you could use while filling your dream? Sites like Elance have various forms of work going. If you have a internet connection where you are going there’s no reason you shouldn’t be considering using your skill in order to raise some extra cash.

Are you creative? Always coming up with ideas? Well you could use that to your advantage. Ideas while you sleep allows you to flex those creative neurons and you get paid $25 and are paid for every 4 brainstorms you complete so that’s $100 per payment. It’s not bad for 15 minutes work. Again a flexible way to raise extra cash.

Can you type fast? You can make extra money then. Why not consider transcribing videos/podcasts? Turker Index gives you that chance.

Money should never ever stop you from reaching your goals, you always have choice and more choice than you think. It all boils down to how much you want it. Are you ready to be creative or strip away the crap you don’t need?

To read more articles like this, why not visit Lee Hughes’ website The Ephemeral Project? I wrote a piece for him called Choose Life.

About the Author

Tim Moss has supported over 100 expeditions across all seven continents. He has climbed new mountains, crossed a desert and is currently cycling around the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society London and a Guinness World Record Holder. He aims to encourage more people to live adventurously. Read more...

Comments (7)

  • Tom Allen

    Lots of interesting ideas here. Ideas while you sleep – who’d’a thunk it?

    Broadly, though, I don’t think the excuse-makers are likely to be much helped by fund-raising ideas. The barrier is already in place: fear. The excuses are just there to hide behind. I am at a loss for how the fear that jettisons one’s dreams – after all, what else really stops people acting – can be defused by those who want to motivate. I guess in part it might be through empathy – inclusive, human stories: “I did it, this is how, and here’s how you can too…”

    Reply
  • Tim Moss

    I think it would be unfair to assume that everyone who thinks/says they don’t have enough money for an expedition is actually just scared or hiding behind an excuse.

    Many cases, yes. Other times it may be that they don’t really want to do it. But there are plenty of instances in which people do need money for expeditions (e.g. almost anything polar) or think they do but realise that they don’t. And oftentimes it may not be the actual practical advice that helps but more the empowerment that the ideas give you.

    Reply
  • Andy Welch

    I would agree with Tom. I think the main thing that stops people doing stuff is fear. I think that people are conditioned to want to do their dreams but not want any discomfort. Perhaps also that if they do something and find that they don’t know how to do it perfectly immediately then they are failing in some way or not worthy to do it.
    This is an interesting psychological phenomena because I think that it boosts the celebrity of people who say ‘just do’. Facilitation and education are key as much as anything.
    A little example: there is a training thing that goes on in the park near my old flat where a army guy shouts at a bunch of people telling them to run around, do pressups and various other exercises. Why does this work? because we are conditioned to do what we are told.
    I don’t advocate the opposite of this- e.g. rejection of all authority but it does make you wonder what the fetishism is with being told to exercise by some army dude.
    nevertheless a bunch of good other information here too.

    Reply
  • Mike

    You could also try http://www.back2cash.co.uk who will buy your unwanted Books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and Videon Games

    Reply
  • Cindy Clayton

    Speaking of selling books, CDs, DVDs and console games. I have just used http://www.webuybooks.co.uk and I sold them 6 University textbooks and countless CDs that were taking up too much space in my house!

    I got £36.12 which i thought was fantastic considering that I don’t use them anymore and they were just collecting dust! I even found a voucher code on their Facebook page, giving me an extra 10% on my stuff!

    The website is so easy to use, they also have a phone number and email address to contact if i had any concers, in which i didn’t!

    Absolutley fantastic company, would reccomend to anyone!

    Reply
  • Tash

    Some great ideas.
    One way for readers to maximise their payout is by using a comparison site. There is a website called http://www.back2cash.co.uk that will compare your offers from competing companies and offer you more money. They will buy CDs, DVDs, Books, Games, Mobile Phones and Electronics.

    Reply

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