I think I may have previously mentioned that taking a year away from work, to travel round the world as a family, is unlikely to be a cheap option. Even quite small looking daily expenses get to some quite scary figures once you multiply them by 365 – a £2.50 cup of coffee every day comes would come in at £912 over a year.
The same is true at home off course, but you don’t often think about how much you spend each year, and it helps when you get a monthly source of fresh funds into your bank account from work.
As an accountant by day, the possible figures for what we might spend on this trip are rarely far from my mind.
The sensible side of me knows that taking a year off work is a ludicrous thing to do from a financial perspective. It is not the case we are sat on a tonne of savings, unless you count the jam jar of spare change that I slowly accumulate each year.
I sometimes wonder whether my 65 year-old self will look back in astonishment at my lack of foresight in pension provision.
My more adventurous side, however, knows that there is more to life than saving coins in a jam jar. It also hopes that my 65 year-old self won’t be too worried about the relative lack of pension, and will instead be grateful that we chose to take a different fork in the road.
In the meantime, we need to raise every penny we can find to help pay for this trip. We also need to shrink the volume of our possessions to avoid needing to hire a warehouse for storage. Fortunately, these two objectives can be harmoniously achieved by one invention – the car boot sale.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a car boot sale, think eBay, but instead of a computer screen and mouse you have a muddy field and the back of your car.
For some unknown reason, car boot sales always begin at 6am on a Sunday morning. I am not sure why they start so early, but the excitement of setting an alarm on the weekend is enough to get the pulse racing…must be a memory of catching early morning flights, or perhaps it’s the memory of going to work with my Dad when I was small enough not to argue about the use of child labour on building sites.
Talking of child labour, I have managed to convince Kiera that she enjoys waking up early on a Sunday to help daddy set-up shop. The only challenge is to make sure that she doesn’t siphon off too many coins from our sales to top-up her own piggy bank. While we are saving for the trip, Kiera has a more short-termist approach to cash management, mainly involving the purchase of new shoes or soft toys whenever she can.
We have so far managed to clear quite a few old books and kids clothes from the loft, which has saved some space and raised a few quid, albeit still not nearly enough to pay for a cup of coffee each day.
Car boot sales won’t pay for this trip on their own, so I’ve also made the more radical decision to sell my car boot. As a working man I was driving a suitably modern car that fitted in quite nicely in the company car park and had all the available mod-cons. The downside of this is that every time I drove the car recently, all I could think of was the value that I was taking off it with each additional mile.
So the nice car has now been sold and replaced with something cheaper. The new model doesn’t look as nice and sat-nav has been replaced with a map, but it’s good to get back to basics and finally raise enough funds to buy my necessary injection of daily coffee. I might even have enough now to get the kids a babycino and possibly a cup of tea for Anja.
That’s breakfast nearly sorted for a year, so now just need to cover lunch, dinner, somewhere to sleep and a few flights. Unfortunately I don’t have any more cars to sell, so we’re onto the house next.