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What a Road Trip Can Teach You About Money

March 15th, 2008 at 08:36 am

I've been on a lot of road trips lately, and there are a lot of financial lessons in a good, long road trip.

First of all, it is LONG. You're not going to get there instantly, no matter what you do. Speeding is only a temporary fix. (And could result in a ticket!) Building wealth is also a long journey with no quick fix. You're in there for the long haul, and trying to shorten the trip is likely to be dangerous.

On a road trip, there are many temptations along the way. Oooh, let's stop for a latte -- oh, look, Prime Outlets! So many opportunities to spend, and lengthen your journey. On a road trip, as in life, you have to practice restraint if you are going to meet your goal.

A good road tripper packs carefully. Good packing will ensure an easier stay at hotels, no last-minute emergency purchases, and will provide sustenance along the way. Likewise, a good financial planner will "pack" his/her life with the right tools; high-yield savings accounts, financial software, retirements funds, professional advice, etc.

There is no replacement for a good map -- or navigation system. If you know where you're going, you'll sure get there sooner! And with a map, you can check your progress along the way, as well as keep yourself from straying off the path. So, in our financial lives, we must have a plan and a roadmap to avoid those detours into oblivion. A worthy goal, written down, and a way to monitor progress.

On the road you MUST spend a little just to keep going. Without those pit stops for gas, you're not getting anywhere. So we must use our resources wisely. Don't use premium gas when regular will do! On the other had, don't scrimp on what you really need -- like an oil change or new tires. Spend wisely to keep your goal attainable.

And remember there may be a few toll roads, or heavy traffic, or construction, or a torrential downpour. Your trip is not guaranteed to proceed smoothly, because life happens. That's how it is financially, too. There will be setbacks. The trick is to handle them and move on.

The key is, MOVE ON! And while you are, enjoy the journey!

2 Responses to “What a Road Trip Can Teach You About Money”

  1. lost in debt Says:

    I like you comparison, my husband is on the road 120 miles a day and he is the "convenience store junkie' and I've been unable to break him so far. If I pack a lunch, snacks, soda and cigarettes - he still stops!

  2. luxlivingfrugalis Says:

    This was really good Carolina Bound!

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