Planning a thru-hike like the Continental Divide Trail is not easy, usually they recommend at least a year in order to have everything that you need. Of course if you have done backpacking, camping or other outdoor activities, most likely you already have a few items that you’ll need, or maybe borrow from someone that you know.
Well… I do not own anything that will be used on a thru-hike. As you start shopping for a tent, shoes, backpack, ice axe, and etc… you start to realize that it is a huge investment, you also need to consider that while on the trail, unless you are lucky that has a job that will pay you while you are gone, you won’t be making any money.
You need to make sure to buy equipment that will be multi-use, ultralight (my goal for the CDT is a 15-16lbs backpack without food), that can handle any sort of weather (from desert to snow), and reliable. Once you start to looking around for items, you realize that they are not cheap… at all! So here is what I have been preparing to prepare to have at least some money to start investing on my CDT gear by sometime late next year.
I am a typical person, I have huge school loans (don’t go out of state for your bachelors, kids! big mistake!), I fell sick back in March and had to have surgery which increased my debt by $11k thanks to the health care system, and of course I have monthly bills such as my phone, gas, etc… A while ago I read an article online about how to travel the world without much money, and I started thinking about it. So here are my tips on how to make sure I can afford the CDT by 2017.
These are just a few of the initial things that I have been doing to start making extra money. If you have any suggestions or know other ways, please send me a message or comment below! 🙂
1. GET RID OF USELESS BILLS
Next month, once school starts back up again, I will be working full time and going to school full time, which means I’ll be leaving my house at 8am and coming back at midnight from Monday to Friday. I won’t have time for the gym (I also have weights at home), so I cancelled my membership saving me $15/mo, also cancelled my Kindle unlimited $10/mo, luckily I am able to use my mother’s Netflix account which also saves me a few extra dollars a month.
I am lucky to work for a non-profit organization, which leads me to have multiple discounts in a lot of things. I signed up for the cellphone discount which saves me 20%/mo on my phone bill. But there are also discounts for online safe driving courses that you can take and save on car insurance. Some health insurances will also offer a discount if you are a non-smoker. If you do have the time for the gym, some insurances also will help pay for your fitness center.
3. SELL YOUR STUFF
Deciding on the CDT made me realize that I do not need much to survive. I’ve decided to sell everything that I don’t use anymore, such as clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, video games and other miscellaneous items. I have lost a lot of weight and a lot of my clothes did not fit anymore, I also had my wardrobe from when I was on my teens inside a box, that honestly… I don’t even believe I used to wear things like that. So slowly I have been using eBay and apps such as DePop to sell my items online, and eventually do a garage sale.
4. BE CRAFTY
Luckily, I grew up around crafts, my grandmother taught me to crochet, and I can also do bead work, and other smaller crafts. Opening an Etsy store or taking orders towards Christmas time also helps me with some extra cash. Instagram is also another great place to advertise your items. And hey, being crafty can help you relax and have awesome therapeutic advantages!
5. COUPONS AND CASH BACK
I’ve always been a lover of coupons (Sunday’s papers and retailmenot), but lately I’ve found out about cash back opportunities such as Ebates that will give you cash back for your purchases online. There is also an app called Ibotta where they will give you cash back for groceries.. yup! Milk, eggs and all that stuff that you never have coupons for!
6. BUY IN BULK
Sometimes buying in bulk might help you save, I am always going to go through Shampoo, for example, so I rather buy the big bottle instead of the smaller one because it won’t go bad, and it saves me money. Same with foods that can be frozen, I am in a low carb diet so I am always buying ground beef and lot’s of chicken, buying in bulk and separating into smaller portions helps a lot! Make sure the items you are buying in bulk are not going to expire before you are able to use it all, and that can be stored for a long period of time.