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  • Writer's pictureBird

How To Pull An $11K Rabbit Out of a Hat

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

I know its taboo to talk about personal finances, but I’ve never been shy about discussing the money moves I’ve made. I feel like if my experiences can be used help someone else make a better move, then why would I keep that to myself? Isn’t it a good practice to share info in order to help others avoid making unnecessary mistakes and/or take helpful shortcuts? I think so.

So with that said, let me tell you what I’ve done in order to pay for 3 months in Italy + 1 month in Ireland without dipping into my family’s savings, spending money up front, or going into actual debt.

First, some context:

The total cost to fly to Italy with Lion and the 3 kids and rent homes for the first 4 months of our trip is right around $11,000. I didn’t want to pay that amount up front for a couple of reasons:

  1. Spending thousand of dollars today for something that is still 6 months off seems unnecessary and…not smart

  2. I like to keep my money in hand for as long as possible so that I can use it the way I want to/need to

  3. I don’t like to spend money directly from my bank accounts because I don’t get any perks when I do it that way. And I like perks. A lot.

At my core, I’m a planner and I wanted/needed to secure our flights and lodging early. Waiting until the last minute for things makes me super anxious, so I knew I had to book stuff NOW (and good thing I did, because affordable homes in Ireland for next summer are selling out stupid fast). But booking now doesn’t necessarily have to mean paying now. Let me explain.

I used my handy dandy Hyatt credit card to pay for everything. I love using this card because I get points that add up to free nights in category 1-4 Hyatt hotels around the world.

Note: I do NOT like staying in hotels, but sometimes they make the most sense. Whenever I need to stay in hotel, I only ever stay at the Hyatt.

Anyway, after I booked everything on this card, I then transferred the total balance to another one of my credit cards that offered a “no interest for 18 months” promo. With that balance transfer clearing the balance on my Hyatt card, I now have enough points to cover our 3 day stay in Dublin and a weekend stay in London at no cost to me. So without using any of my own dollars, I was able to “pay” for flights from FL to Napoli, Napoli to Dublin, and Dublin to Kerry for all of us. I was also able to rent a beachfront home in Calabria (Italy) and city center home in Dingle (Ireland). The hotels stays were an added bonus.

Now that I finessed all that, I have 18 months to pay the bill. But again, waiting until things are due makes me anxious. So I want to have it all paid off before we even leave (4/2023). What does that mean? Well, there are 7 months from now until we leave. So I take the $11k bill, divide that by 7 and get ~$1,570. If I want to start my trip with no debt, I have to pay $1,570 on my credit card each month from now until April.

How do I come up with that money? The million dollar question.

We could take it from savings, but we don’t want to do that, remember? We want to stack the savings for any rainy days that we run into from now until we get back in Spring 2024. (Inevitably, there will be rainy days)

Renting out our home while we’re away will bring in extra income, but that doesn’t start until we leave. So that ain't it.

The only other option is to earn it. Work for it.

Lion and I sat down one night and said to each other…”We need more money every month. I trust that it’ll come.”

And it has come.

I am a firm believer in God and using your connection to God in order to manifest what you want out of life. I spent some time visualizing an ideal way to earn supplemental income. I thought about it every day for about a week. And then one morning, something (God) told me to update my resume and check Indeed. I did and I applied to 3 jobs. Two hours later I got a call and was offered a job that was EXACTLY what I wanted. It’s a part time gig (4 hours/4 days a week) that doesn’t interfere with my main gig, its 15 minutes from home and I can bring both Zion & Amore with me. Score.

Additionally, Lion also landed a couple new clients that will bring in regular cashflow through the winter. So between his extras and my extras, we got ourselves 1/3 of a year-long trip abroad.

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