YOLO gets a bad rap in the personal finance community. Probably because it sounds stupid as hell. And is often short sighted; bordering on irresponsible.
But if you don’t carpe your diem, it might pass you by.
Let’s face it. Life changes fast. And opportunities have short expiration dates. Friends move away. Start big jobs. People get married, have kids, have more kids, holy crap they have 5 kids! (Maybe that’s just us)
How do we balance taking advantage of these YOLO experiences and achieving financial freedom?
- YOLO experiences aren’t things. You can buy things at any time. You can buy that huge TV now or in 20 years. It really doesn’t matter. You won’t even want those new shoes in 10 years. That really fast car, you can buy that at 60. Sure driving it the first time will be like a fun experience. The first time. 54 car payments later it will feel like a burden while everyone else has the cash to chase down their new YOLO experiences. Don’t waste your YOLO experience money on stuff.
- YOLO experiences happen once. Pulling through the Starbucks drive through 3 times a week isn’t a YOLO experience. Neither is going to the bar with your friends for the weekend. Or dropping $20 to see a movie. I’m sure it’s fun. But if you waste all your money on mundane experiences you won’t have any left for true YOLO experiences. The kind you tell stories about 20 years later. No one cares what movie you went to see 20 year ago, not even you.
- You need to be ready to seize them. Often there is a small window to take advantage of these amazing experiences that fall in your lap. Be prepared! Make sure you are out of debt. Have a stash of cash ready and waiting. You don’t want to spoil an amazing experience by worrying how to pay for it. Plan that YOLO experiances will come. Then be ready to pounce.
My best friend and I spent a month traveling from coast to coast 10 years ago this month. Sleeping on couches or in a tent. Eating instant oatmeal. Waking up in our tent surrounded by of a herd of bison. Ate the stinkiest cheese of my life at Pikes Place in Seattle. Soaked in hot springs. Visiting beautiful places and wonderful people.
It was one of the best trips of my life, and it can never happen again. Even if we wanted to replicate it. Life changes. For one thing, I am no longer willing to sleep on the frozen ground. She runs a non-profit organization now. I have 5 little kids. But I am so thankful we YOLO’d the hell out of that trip with a whopping $1456. (The pictures just confirm I’ve always been a budget geek! I tracked every single expense from the trip, AND saved those pieces of paper for 10 years! It’s my favorite souvenir from our trip.)
More adventures are around the corner, new adventures. But there are no do overs. Do what you need to do, save some cash, and make it happen while you have the chance.
What do you all think? Any amazing trips or experiences that you wouldn’t trade, even for a full refund with interest? In two weeks we are heading out on a 6 week road trip with our entire herd! More about that trip in the weeks to come. =)