Life For Sale

A question that Dan and I get when we tell people about our upcoming adventure is “how can you afford it?”.  It’s a fair question, to start with Dan and I are lucky that we are both “savers”, we actually enjoy saving money, so truth be told we’ve been saving for our adventure since before we knew exactly what our adventure was going to be (and believe me there have been some very interesting ideas thrown around).

But once we decided what we wanted to do this time around, we set a budget and have been working towards that goal.  Back in November I started to question how I could help “pad” our travel account a little more, beyond the obvious work extra shifts, this is what I did.

Sell Your Life Online

I spent one Saturday going around our condo and through our storage unit, anything we hadn’t touched in over a year went on Kijiji.  I’ve never bought or sold anything on Kijiji and being a bit of a Luddite I was nervous, but it’s so simple.  I started with our road bikes, they sold in less than 24 hours, and I was hooked.  Dan was starting to hide things around the condo that he was scared I was going to sell, it feels so good to purge.  I even discovered my inner evil self listing old camping equipment at the height of ice storm in Toronto, I know I probably should have donated them, but hey I happily gave people with no electricity lights and ways to cook at half the price they would have paid in store!  Although Kijiji was a little additive it can also be a bit of extra work, if you really want to sell your stuff you need to be constantly reposting it so that it comes up on the first few pages.  Also you can end up dealing with some seriously creepy people, but keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine.

The beloved wii (which hadn't been plugged in in two years) sold quick.

The beloved wii (which hadn’t been plugged in in two years) sold quick.

Somebody drove 2 hours to  pick this original gameboy, some people are crazy.

Somebody drove 2 hours to pick up this original gameboy, some people are crazy.

Clean Out that Jewelry Box

You know those crazy “We want your gold” commercials?  Well I was inspired by a particularly bad one to go and have a look at what exactly I had in my jewelry box.  Funny thing, I actually wear that little jewelry that I don’t have a box, but I collected up what I had and visited a guy called Trevor D (recommend by a friend).  Trevor D specializes in making gold “grills”, his “shop” was on the third floor of a sketchy building and I was worried I wasn’t going to make it out alive, but Trevor D turned out to be a really funny guy, who happily bought all my gold and silver.  He even made a sizeable offer on my wedding band and engagement ring, but even I have a little sentimental attachment to them so I said I’d think about it.

For those who didn't know these are "grills", I didn't know either.

For those who didn’t know these are “grills”, I didn’t know either.

Trade in Loyalty Points

We all have multiple loyalty cards floating around in our wallets and purses but how many of us ever bothering using them?  I certainly don’t.  So I sat down one day and set about figuring how many points we had with each of our cards.  So far at the cost of ZERO to me, I have a new camera and multiple gas station gift cards (The Hulk is not cheap to feed).  We also have points that can be traded in at the register for money off, for example we have nearly $40 in points for a pharmacy so we plan on stocking up with deodorant, toothpaste, etc before we leave and cash those in so that it will cost nothing, same goes for the book store!

Make a Trade

As much as Dan and I like to think we are “savers” we are also “wasters” we often just buy something new and throw out/donate are old stuff.  When Dan started talking about new camera lenses it just sounded expensive to me, so I had Dan go through his camera equipment and decide what he would actually take with him and what was missing from that.  Turned out he had a couple of lenses that he didn’t use all that often, so off to our local camera shop we went and traded in the lenses he didn’t need for a really versatile one that he will need (I learnt the hard way to never let Dan loose in a camera store alone when we were NYC once).

Online Surveys

I only started doing this and it hasn’t really reaped me much money at this point, but I was fascinated to learn that you can make some money or earn points filling in surveys online (at the time of writing I have amassed $1.40).  I kind of wish I had started doing this earlier but I’m going to try to do it as we travel too.  Every little helps!

Spend Your Gift Cards Already

Seems obvious but Dan and I are terrible for tossing gift cards into a drawer and forgetting about them, but since we’ve been really trying to curb our spending we also realised we needed some new gear I went digging.  It really paid off, we managed to shop to our hearts content (from a clearance rack) at a local retailer and walked off with over $800 (regular retail) of stuff for only $55 out of our pockets!

So there you have it, the above is just some of the ways you can help bolster any savings account with out much effort.

What’s your favourite saving trick?

Categories: Overlanding, Planning, TravelTags: , , , ,


  1. Notes from Dan – For anyone concerned about poor Toronto residents during ice storm, I dealt with all sales and made sure that I gave people as many freebies as I could that might be useful and Heather couldn’t find in our basement, but don’t tell Heather.

    Yes I have been known to overspend in the odd camera shop, and yes I did hide a few things from the kajiji monster.

    Heather however rocks she has added considerable cushion to our coiffures.


  2. I save change and use my Kuerig instead of buying coffee…but when we are ready to clear out our house You will be the one I call on H. xo


  3. We did same when Gaz finally decided that he was going to purge himself of all of his old childhood toys, i listed them on ebay – boy did they sell well ! my biggest mistake was thinking they were pretty worthless , expecting around £80 tops , promised Gaz he could have all the funds for his CD collection …. he ended up with well over £500 ! i ended up with all the work of selling , packing etc! moral of story is – doesnt matter if you dont want it someone else will ! xxxxx


  4. Impressive! I think you have explored every avenue. One suggestion for your travels throughout the USA. Check websites for supermarkets in the areas you visit for specials, then check coupon sites. Many chains welcome coupons in addition to their specials — often resulting in costs a fraction of the original price. Others often feature Buy 1 , get one free. Great way to buy things that don’t spoil over a long-period of time, if you have space for storage.
    In Chile and Argentina, I noticed there are major local supermarket chains, some with extremely low prices to attract lower income local buyers. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars on food there. Farmers markets in virtually every small town in Central and South America for cheap, quality fresh foods.
    Keep on saving!


  5. I was wondering what you two crazy kids were up to and why I havent seen any activity on your other blog. I just subscribed to this one so I can follow along! Good luck on your voyage!


    • Hey Emir! Thanks, I do plan on keeping the running blog up however this winter has beat the run out of me! I don’t think stories of me rowing and lifting weights are all that interesting. Hopefully I will have some awesome trails to talk about in the summer. Congrats on Mad Hat 50.


  6. Nice one, thanks for posting this one it reminded me of my unpublished ‘budgeting tips’ posts on our blog that have been sitting there as drafts for months (should turn up on our blog later this week now).

    For the record we are the last people that should be giving out budgeting advice and probably could have done with your tips a year ago! (Although we are currently working our way through the ‘sell your life online’ step 🙂

    Also, spending money on camera lenses doesn’t count as ‘spending’ per se. It’s an investment. Well, that’s what I’ve been telling Ben anyway…

    Not long now!


    • Well Emma, Dan really appreciates your last thought! I don’t think we are the best people to give financial advice either but I’m amazed at the number of questions we get! It’s simple really, if you want to do something, you figure out a way to make it happen!

      It’s really coming fast now!


  7. Nice post! Me and my husband are on a planning process for our halfway around the world trip. Food is our weakness so we’re really trying to do our best to cook more at home and eat out less.


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