Financial Freedom With Minimalism: Identify What Matters & Create A Budget | Nate | Skillshare

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Financial Freedom With Minimalism: Identify What Matters & Create A Budget

teacher avatar Nate, Element Van Life

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Class Orientation

    • 3. What Is Minimalism?

    • 4. Minimalism As A Mindset

    • 5. Financial Minimalism

    • 6. Physical Minimalism

    • 7. Becoming A Nomad

    • 8. Earning Income On The Road

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

This class is about finding financial freedom through minimalism! I've been a nomad traveling around North America for the past 6+ years. In that time I've learned a lot about minimalism and have used it to create the life I actually want to live.

Throughout this course we'll discuss both financial and physical minimalism. We'll review the effect that our possessions and financial obligations have on our lives. We'll also do a couple of simple projects designed to help you create your own systems for living with less. 

Additionally, we'll go over the final steps for becoming a nomad, earning income on the road, and maximizing financial freedom.

This class will be a fit for you if you're interested in learning how to live with less. For me, less stuff = less stress. Minimalism is a key stepping stone towards creating a life where we have more control over our time. I've been able to create a life of financial freedom through minimalism and I truly believe we can all learn something by living with less!

Meet Your Teacher

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Element Van Life


Hey everyone! I'm Nate. I've been a full time nomad traveling around North America in various self-built camper conversions since early 2016.

I've documented this experience on my YouTube channel Element Van Life. I'm a firm believer in minimalism and truly feel that we can all learn something from this lifestyle. By learning to live with less I've been able to create a life of financial freedom with more control over my time.

In my years living rent-free as a nomad, I've gained so many skills and experienced so much. I'm very grateful that I moved into my Honda Element all those years ago. Without minimalism I would not be the person I am today!

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1. Intro: I want to do blank, but I just can't find the time. This is a phrase that we think, say, and hear, all too often. Many of us have goals and ambitions. Things that we want to achieve. Maybe we want to start a business or maybe we want to just spend more time focusing on a passion or a hobby, or maybe we want to travel more, but we simply can't find the time to make these goals happen. Hey everyone, my name is Nate. I have been a full-time nomad, traveling out of various camper conversions for the past six years all across the US. In my previous life, I worked as an elevator maintenance contract salesmen. I was not fully happy in this job. Sometimes working 50 or more hours each week, stuck in a cubicle. I knew that I needed to make some serious changes with my life. Since then, I've been able to create a nomadic life of minimalism on the road. Through minimalism, I've been able to gain more control over my time so that I can focus on the things that I really want to focus on. In this class, we're going to learn how to find financial freedom through minimalism. We'll start by first assessing our individual values and needs because it is different for everybody. Then from there, we'll go into two different types of minimalism. First, we'll start with financial minimalism and learning to assess our month-to-month expenses and look at ways to possibly reduce them. We'll also look into some creative ways for earning extra income. Then from there we'll move into physical minimalism and discuss some ways to possibly move on from some of the things that might be cluttering our lives. These two types of minimalism are critical stepping stones to creating a life of freedom on the road. Now I realize that living on the road might not necessarily be right for everybody. Van life is definitely not the perfect solution for every single person. But that being said, I truly believe that we can all learn something from minimalism. If you're looking to learn some creative ways to live with less, this course will definitely be for you. Let's get started. [MUSIC]. 2. Class Orientation: In this class, we'll be doing a couple of different simple projects that will help guide you towards a life of minimalism. We're also going to discuss a couple of my personal experiences, and then the general concepts behind why I do the things that I do. I'll make some suggestions to you guys in your paths to both financial and physical minimalism. And then we're gonna do a prime budget planner.This is a spreadsheet that I created many years ago. I've been using it as long as I can remember. It's more of expense calculator than it is an actual budget planner. But it's really just designed to help you visualize what you're spending on a month-to-month basis, and then that can allow us to see where we can save in the months moving forward. The first project is going to be to use this budget planner to identify one expense that you can remove as soon as possible. We're also going to move towards physical minimalism after that, and we'll discuss your five favorite objects; the things that you simply cannot live without. We're going to list them out, and throughout this entire process, these two projects and everything else that we do here, you guys are welcome to share everything that you've learned in the community section below as much as you're comfortable sharing. Throughout this class, I'm not simply just going to tell you to get rid of everything that you own. This process it is a time-consuming process. It took me years to get to the point that I am at currently, and I understand that it cannot happen overnight. I am going to try to share my personal experiences with minimalism over the past so many years here, and then we can try to develop individual systems for all of you to help you reduce your month-to-month expenses and the things that you own. That is really what this all boils down to. It's just creating individual systems to help you live with less. For me, minimalism has been a key to my personal fulfillment, and I truly believe that it can make a difference for everybody. If you're ready to take the first steps, Let's jump right into it. 3. What Is Minimalism?: What is minimalism? Minimalism as a concept really isn't that complicated. I define it as the deliberate attempt to live with less. The keyword there is definitely deliberate. For some of us, minimalism is going to look different than it is for other people. Somebody might be comfortable just living with a backpack filled of their possessions, while someone else might want to live in a van, like me here, and have everything that they own comfortably inside the van. Some other people might want to live in an apartment and just have it laid out with everything they own in a very comfortable, simplistic manner. Minimalism looks different for everybody, and the reality is that it's not easy. It takes concentrated, ongoing effort to maintain minimalism. It's like maintaining a car or something like that. You really have to think about it. It's so easy these days to pick up the hottest subscription to the new streaming service or whatever it is. Or maybe just to go online and just buy something. It's so easy to do that and without systems in place to help keep yourself in check and to help maintain this lifestyle. It can get out of hand pretty quickly. As things start to pile up and clutter our lives, they can hinder us from achieving our goals and they can make a nomadic lifestyle basically impossible. The key to minimalism is in interpreting the value of the things that we are buying and the money that we're spending, doing it accurately so that it fits your individual needs, but doesn't go beyond those needs. In the next lesson, we will assess minimalism as a mindset and interpret our values as individuals. If you're ready to move on, I'll see you all in the next one. 4. Minimalism As A Mindset: Minimalism As A Mindset. This is probably the most important part of this class. Really, it all comes down to your own individual assessment. What you as an individual value and the things that you want to have with you while you are doing whatever you're doing in your life, what is truly important for you to own and what can you possibly live without? Minimalism is a foreign concept. A lot of people don't really know much about it and I do find that a lot of the time folks are very confused and perplexed by my conscious decision to live with less and to live minimally way like this. Adjusting your mindset to incorporate these concepts of minimalism is a little bit of a challenge and I definitely understand that. Like I've already said so far in this course, it is something that is going to be different for all of us. For me personally, less stuff equals less stress. That is my mindset. That is my personal way of approaching my life on a day-to-day basis. I've realized throughout this journey that trying to fit everything that I own in a small space, being able to just pick up and go wherever and not have to worry about leaving things behind or having a bunch of stuff all over the place, that is something that makes my life better. It makes me happier overall, it makes me feel like I have more control over my time. I feel like I can just take off and go wherever I want to go with only a moment's notice and it's truly a liberating feeling that would be impossible to achieve if I wasn't so deliberately a minimalist. For you, it might be a little bit different, you might be a little more lenient with your goals, you want to fit everything maybe just in a smaller apartment to start out and then you go from there. Just remember that minimalism is a lifestyle choice, it is an ongoing process and it takes time. In the next few lessons, we'll take it step-by-step and we'll go into some practical ways to apply both concepts of financial and physical minimalism to your life. First up is financial minimalism. This was a critical stepping stone for me. Basically the starting point, the lightning bolt that sparked it all for me, and it's something that I hold in very high regard. I cannot wait to share it with you all if you are ready to move on to financial minimalism. I'll see you all in the next lesson. 5. Financial Minimalism: Financial minimalism. This is where it all started for me, it really is the sparking point or whatever you want to call it, that pushed me into a life of minimalism. For me, my personal experience, I was working that job that I talked about earlier. I was miserable, I really did not enjoy it, and I knew that really the only way for me to get out to have a life of freedom, or at least more freedom, was to reduce my month-to-month expenses. If I could get them as low as possible, those fixed expenses, especially just get them down as much as I could, I would be able to save more money and then I could use that money to actually build a life that I wanted to have. This all started with my, I guess, obsession with spreadsheets. I'm a spreadsheet dork. I really enjoy them and I started with, I guess I called it a prime budget planner. Not really sure why I called it that, because it's not really a budget planner, it's more of just an expense visualizer, helps you to really look at what you're spending on a month-to-month basis, and then it at least gave me something to see, something to compare what I was making and the money that I was bringing in versus what I was spending. That was the stepping stone for me. That was the key point from there, this budget planner that I have has evolved into something absolutely out of control. But I'll share with you guys what I started with just a simple spreadsheet. You guys are welcome to download it and use it as a template and then fill in your own individual expenses so that you can also visualize what you're spending on a month-to-month basis. Some of you guys might already have something like this, feel pretty use that if you already have a spreadsheet or if you already use a certain app. But for the first project here, I do want you guys just to list out what you're spending on a month-to-month basis and then compare it to any income that you may have, so that you can then pick out some things that you could possibly eliminate from your month-to-month expenses. Maybe you have a subscription to a streaming service that you don't really use much, even if it's something that's small. If you can cancel that subscription, you'll be able to save more money. I break down my expenses into two categories. I have my fluctuating expenses. The things that I spend money on that change month-to-month. Gas is something for me that is never really constant. Sometimes I'm spending more money if I'm traveling more, and sometimes I'm spending a lot less if I'm being relatively stationary for the month. Then I also have fluctuating expenses in food. The things that I buy for groceries and then eating out and everything like that, and then anything else, miscellaneous expenses, random things for the van. Then I have my fixed expenses, the things that stay relatively or exactly the same month after month. Your car insurance payment, if you pay on a monthly basis or your rent, is another one that generally stays pretty constant. Maybe you have a subscription to certain streaming services, gym memberships, car loans, student loans, any other loan payments, these things generally are pretty constant and you can predict them easily month after month. I have those two categories, fluctuating expenses and fixed expenses. This spreadsheet here is really just meant to be a rough estimate, it's not designed to go into every little individual thing that you're spending. I don't really nitpick. I don't look at every dollar that I spent every month and list it all out where everything's going. I keep it very vague. I do tend to overestimate on my fluctuating expenses though. Say, I'm looking at I think I might spend $450 on food for the month, maybe I'll bump it up to 500 on the spreadsheet. Just so that at the end of the month, I hopefully will have a little bit of extra money to save. I also tend to include my minimum monthly savings on there as well, just so that I can compare what my total expenses are plus my total desired savings, and then obviously compare that to my projected income for the month. For me, income does change a little bit because I am self-employed. But for most people who just have regular jobs, income is pretty constant, pretty much stays exactly the same. Really this all comes down to creating systems for yourself, individual systems to help encourage you to make good financial decisions. For me, it doesn't necessarily mean just like not eating out. I know that's something that a lot of folks do and maybe that would work for you. Maybe that's a system that would work for you. But for me, like I don't want actually really like to cook that much, I do, but I'm not very good at it and like it also makes a mess of the van. It's pretty tough when I'm inside the little van. What I do is a lot of the time I'll eat out, but I'm very mindful about how I eat out. If I go to a restaurant, I try to get a meal and order, say it's 15, $20, but I try to make it so that that meal lasts me for two separate meals. I'll try to make sure that I always have some leftovers. I might have to figure out a way. Maybe I order like an extra tortilla or something like that to add in while I'm there, and then I can take the extra one with the leftovers and I can have it as a separate whole meal for the next day. That's the system that I have. It might not necessarily work for everybody, but you can create your own individual systems, and really when you look at your expenses, when you're looking at your spreadsheet and you have everything listed out, you can get into each one and maybe you can't completely eliminate it. But say you have something like rent. If you're willing to move into a van, which we will get into in future lessons here. But if you're not willing to do that like sure, like you can eliminate rent, but most people cannot eliminate rent. But maybe you can go from your two-bedroom apartment that you have, maybe you have that extra guest room and you can move to something small and you can push yourself and challenge yourself to move into something a little bit smaller, and then you can save on that rent cost each month. You can bring these fixed expenses down, that is the goal here. It's just to develop your own systems, your own things that work to really go into these individual fixed expenses month to month and figure out how you can reduce them or possibly eliminate them. When I was starting this process, I was able to remove my $350 a month car payment. I had a brand new fancy car I was paying on it. I was able to sell it, get out of that loan, and then I took the extra cash that I got from selling the car and a little bit of extra cash that I had saved and I bought a cheap Honda Element, that's basically where this all started. That's why my YouTube channel's called Element Van Life. But that is what I did at the time. I just bought a cheap used car, and that's a pretty good way to reduce monthly expenses. A lot of us have a car payment that we're making every month. There are countless ways to do this. There are countless systems that you can create and those are just a couple of examples of ones that worked for me. I also had a golf membership that I was paying for every month and I completely was able to eliminate that, and then I had rents which I also reduced I moved to a smaller, cheaper place in the suburbs for a few months, I was able to save money there, and then I completely eliminated that entirely and moved into my car. This does all start with a spreadsheet or similar document where you can visualize what you are truly spending each month and then develop a plan. Now it's your turn. Let's get started. Dive right into it. Look at what you're spending each month. Feel free to share it. If you're comfortable sharing your blow and look into how you can challenge yourself to reduce some of those expenses. There are so many ways to do this. I enjoy developing these systems that helped to keep me from spending too much money, but also from buying too many things and having too many possessions, and we'll get into the physical possessions next. That is the next portion of this course. First, like I said, dive right into this, really list out your expenses, look at what you're spending, compare it to how much money you have coming in, and then try to figure out ways that you can reduce those expenses. Is there a streaming service or something that you can cut today? Can you eliminate one of these expenses right now? Can you eliminate two of them? Really challenge yourself, keep your mind open, and just do the best that you can. That's all that you can do. Like I said, feel free to share your experiences below. I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can. I want to be here for you guys throughout this process. It's a time-consuming process. It definitely is something that takes a lot of thought and a lot of effort, and this is the stepping stone. Financial minimalism is truly the first step. If you're ready to move on to physical minimalism and looking at how the things that we own affect our lives, move on to the next lesson, and I'll see you all there. 6. Physical Minimalism: Now let's talk about stuff. Consumerism is ingrained in our culture, it's something that is pretty difficult to get away from. Even I, to this day, I still struggle with the temptation to buy more things, even though I only live in this small van here and don't really have a lot of space, I still have to battle with it to an extent. When I started this journey, my initial goal was to fit everything that I owned inside my Honda Element. I wanted to fit it all comfortably in the camper conversion while I could also still live in there full time. That was the bar that I set for myself. It was a high bar looking back on it and even then I didn't even fully achieve that. I still had a few things that are with friends and scattered all about the country, all over the place. But when I was reducing my month to month expenses, I realized pretty surely thereafter that I also needed to reduce the things that I owned in order to truly be free and to achieve the life that I wanted and to have the time to be able to focus on what I wanted to do. I was going to need to get rid of some of the stuff that I had. At that time I had a lot of stuff. I had five or six guitars. I really only played one of them though. I had a digital piano, I had a PlayStation, an Xbox, a couple of TVs, and then a bunch of cheap furniture all throughout my apartment, things that were falling apart. They weren't really great anyways, and it just took up a lot of space and the biggest thing is that it was just weighing me down. I didn't have the freedom to just pick up and go. I could not escape. They were trapping me in this life that I was not happy. As I've said a couple of times here, I really needed to make some changes, and I did make some changes. I started making some moves, and over time, I began selling some of these possessions. I sold the digital piano, I sold the TV, I sold the PlayStation, the Xbox, pretty much everything. I was able to reduce my collection of five or six guitars down to one. I kept the one that was most important to me, the one that I really played all the time. By the way, this is an example of another system. This is a system of physical minimalism. I had a goal, fit everything comfortably inside my car and overtime I was able to mostly achieve that goal and have everything that I needed. For you that might be too dramatic [LAUGHTER] of a goal. Maybe you just want to reduce what you have so that it's more comfortable and there's less clutter in your apartment or in your house, but you can still create a system in order to achieve that goal. I have a couple of tips, a couple of things that worked well for me in reducing my possessions. The first one. We have a lot of sentimental items. A lot of folks, we get things, they hold a special place in our heart. Maybe they were from a family member and it's just tough to let them go. I definitely can relate to that. I had a lot of things from my childhood that were stored at my parents place and I was able to eventually go through them and reduce and bring them down and get rid of some of the things that I really didn't need. I mean most of that stuff I'm not really using, so it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense to keep much of it. One of the things that I do with those sentimental items, those things that I've been holding onto that are probably just taking up space that really don't have any value other than maybe to look back on occasionally and feel nostalgic, but even then I almost never did that. We all have things like these guys. One of the things that I like to do is I'll take a few pictures of them and then I will either sell them or get rid of them in whatever way that I can. That's something that works pretty well for me. Just having a picture on my phone or whatever it is just so I can look back on it and say, if I'm feel nostalgic or whatever, just to remember that I had that thing in the past. But these sentimental items as they build up, again, it plays back into this concept. They take up a lot of space and they clutter our lives and they make it more difficult for us to achieve the things that we want to achieve, especially if it's like what I'm doing, if you want to achieve the life as a nomad. Another thing that I do if there's something specific that I want to sell, but I'm hesitant because I've had it for awhile and I really like it and I'm a little bit attached to it. I will actually box it up if I'm getting ready to sell it or whatever and I'll put it in my way so that every single day, wherever I go, whatever I do, I have to look at it, and I have to be like man, that thing's really in the way and eventually it works really well. I get to the point where I'm just, I got to get rid of it. Like it's time to finally move on from it and I will move forward with either selling it or donating it or throwing it out. That's something that works well. For me in the way is actually like in the front seat of the van. I had a couple of golf clubs awhile back that I was trying to get rid of and I had them for so long and I really liked them, but it's just I wasn't using them. I didn't need them anymore, so I put them in the front seat. After a few days, it got really annoying to have golf clubs in the front seat. I think I went to a thrift store, I played again sports and I ended up selling it and getting rid of the golf clubs that I had. That's something that works for me personally. It could probably work for a lot of people, if you have an apartment, you have a house, you just put them somewhere where you have to look at it every single day, these boxes of stuff, whatever it is that you're trying to move on from. That is an example of another system that I use. You guys can create your own systems as well. There's so many things that you can do. Another example maybe I have a lot of kitchen appliances. You got an instant pot and a rice cooker and all these different things that maybe some of them what they do overlaps. You can probably figure out a way to get creative with your cooking, change up how you do it a little bit so that you can reduce from maybe three or four different kitchen appliances to just one. Maybe you have a couple that are just sitting above your cabinet, extra slow cookers or something like that, whatever it may be. You can figure out creative ways if you just alter how you approach whatever you're doing. You change how you're cooking maybe a little bit, you make a few changes here and there. You can absolutely figure out some ways to reduce these possessions and to move on from some of them. Like I said before, I am not immune to the temptations to buy things. I love camera gear, I work in video production, so it definitely happens where I find a new lens or a new piece of camera equipment that I think will improve my videos or whatever and I want to buy it. But I do have a system in place there as well. I basically just try to make sure that it's always replacing another piece of equipment. Whatever it is that I buy, this actually applies to pretty much anything that I buy, but especially with the camera gear, I'm going to sell an old lens before I buy a new lens. I actually have two relatively small backpacks, and that is all that I can use for camera gear. If I start getting things that don't fit in those backpacks, I have to sell some stuff so that everything that I have fits into those backpacks. It's just another example of a system. There are so many systems that you can create that can really help you to just keep your possessions down to a minimum. Now it's your turn. You can create your own systems of physical minimalism. I really encourage you to just to challenge yourself to try to look at what you have and figure out how you can live with a little bit less and just start with the big stuff. Start with the bigger things, reduce a few of those, and then work your way towards the smaller stuff. Eventually over time as you continue to sell these things or as you continue to donate them or move on from them, you're going to have a lot less and then it'll be a lot easier for you to make big changes with your life. Now, I want you to do the second project here for this class. That is just to look at what you own, and list the five most important things to you, the things that you cannot live without. Just pretend you're going to hit the road and travel in your car or your van for even just a few months, what would you bring with you? What would be the most important things for you to have? Then it'll be easier to see some of the things that are not on that list that didn't make the cut for the five most important things in your life, and you can start working out a plan for how to eliminate some of those things, especially, the stuff at the bottom of the list, the stuff that you aren't even really thinking about that you didn't even really consider. If you want, you can take a photo of those five most important possessions. If you have them [inaudible] and feel free to share it in the community section here. I'm going to try to give some feedback and get back with you guys as well. I want to help you all through this process. It took me many years to get to this point, and even in the years leading up to when I moved into my Element. I mean it took years, it was not something that just happened immediately. It was definitely a long-term process, paring down and slowly reducing what I had. I realized that it's going to be the same for all of you. Start by just developing a few goals. List out a few other things that you want to move on from, and then from there you'll be able to build on that and really continue on your journey towards physical minimalism. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about becoming a nomad and then eventually about earning income on the road. If you're ready to move on, I'll see you in the next one. 7. Becoming A Nomad: If you've gotten this far, you have the foundations to move towards a life of minimalism, both physical and financial minimalism. But at this point, we're going to start talking about the next step, the big step here. I know that for some people, this step doesn't necessarily work. It's not something that you might want. It is to eliminate rents entirely and then from there, move into a vehicle or possibly into a camper or whatever it may be. I realized that that step might not be right for everybody. If it's not right for you, feel free to skip to the conclusion here. But if it is right for you in this lesson, we're going to talk about becoming a nomad. Then we're also in the next lesson we're going to talk about a few creative ways to earn income while you're on the road. Let's jump right into it here. Becoming a nomad, rents is the highest expense that we have. For me, that was the last barrier. I was paying $800 a month, actually, probably a little more when you factor in utilities and all that. It can get pretty expensive to pay for all those things, it is not cheap and that was a huge drain on my month-to-month living expenses. I knew that the best way for me to truly achieve the freedom that I wanted, so that I could really focus on the things that I wanted to do, focus on the passions, the hobbies that I had, as well as learning new skills so that I could then generate more income in the future and so that I could also travel and experience the country and move all around. The main thing that was preventing me from doing all that was paying all that money every month. But even considering that, it took me years to move into my Honda Element, I bought my Element almost two years before I actually [LAUGHTER] moved into it full time. I guess there were barriers that were preventing me from making that move. The Number 1 thing was I was a little bit concerned about what other people would think of me, I didn't really have a lot of support from folks that I knew. They really thought that was just a crazy decision. Then also it's just a challenge to get rid of everything that I owned and to reduce it so that I can actually fit it in that little tiny SUV comfortably. But if you are considering moving into an RV or just living a life as a nomad, my only suggestion to you is just go for it and to do it. That is my only regret is that I did not do it sooner. I mean, when I hit the road in my Element, there was no feeling that could compare to the freedom that I felt as I was just driving South. It was the winter time I was getting down to Florida, beautiful weather it was awesome. It was a great feeling knowing that my expenses were low, that I could travel, and sure there was some uncertainty, but that uncertainty is what drove me to find creative ways to generate income. I'm going to get into that in the next lesson here. But really, it was a special feeling. Of course, van life is not easy. You have to make sacrifices. There are a lot of challenges that come with living on the road like this. But I do think that it's a 100 percent worth it. By learning to live rent-free, you're essentially trading some level of comfort for greater financial freedom. This is something that has worked really well for me for the past six years and I don't really ever see myself paying rent to live somewhere ever again. I want to live in a tiny alternative, minimalist way for as long as I possibly can. I really do believe that it's an excellent solution for a lot of people. I guess if you made it this far into the class, you probably agree with me at least to an extent here. The lessons that I've learned as they pertain to living with less will stick with me for the rest of my life wherever I end up in. In the next lesson, we are going to talk about some creative ways to earn income on the road, that is where we're going next. At this point maybe you are committed to becoming a nomad. Feel free to share your progress in the community section below. Again, I love to hear from you guys. I want to hear what you're doing to move towards these goals and towards these steps. I can't say enough good things about living rent-free. It made a huge difference in my life, and I truly believe that it can make a difference in yours. If you're ready to start talking about income and some creative ways to earn money on the road, I'll see you all in the next lesson. 8. Earning Income On The Road: You've reduced your expenses, you've gotten through some of your possessions, you've been able to remove rent and commit to a life as a nomad, but now the question comes up, how do you make money while you're on the road? This is probably a question that I have most frequently got over the past six years or so, it is something that a lot of people are very curious about. The reality is there are a lot of ways that you can earn money on the road. In my personal experience, I moved into my Honda Element and I really only had a few thousand dollars in a savings account. I didn't really have any jobs lined up, I didn't really have any definitive source of income at the time, I was working to try to learn to code, I wanted to get into HTML, and just basic web design, and stuff like that, and I was spending a lot of the time that I had, I had a lot of extra time. I hit the road, I just quit my job, I had all the free time in the world, so I used that free time to study coding, and then I ended up eventually within a few months picking up a couple of clients and working on a couple of projects, and that was just a benefit of having some extra time to be able to focus on something that I was interested in. That wasn't really enough to support me full time though, so another thing that I did, I just started picking up seasonal jobs. I went out to San Diego in the summer and I worked as a surf instructor, and then in the fall I came back towards the Midwest, towards North Dakota, and I worked at the sugar beet harvest and they did that, and that's another way that a lot of people support themselves on the road. The benefit of reducing your expenses and eliminating all of these expenses, especially rent, is that you don't really need a whole lot of income from that point in order to support yourself. Like even on a low-paying, maybe even a minimum wage job, you'll probably be able to at least have a little bit of excess money every month and then you can actually save while you're doing that. A lot of folks on the road, what they do is they'll work these seasonal jobs. Some of them can be pretty demanding, the sugar beet harvest, for example, your work in like 12 hour days sometimes for 10 or 12 straight days, but what's great as you make it a lot over time, you're making a lot of money and then you can take all that extra money and you can save it to finance your travels or wherever you go for the next few months. After that, you could also just save it and maybe pick up another job immediately afterward, and then you just keep having that extra money to be able to put towards your future. That is the benefit of reducing all of your expenses, you can gain extra flexibility. All of this is to say that the potential for earning income on the road is pretty endless, there are a lot of options, there are a lot of things that people do. Folks will sometimes work like I've seasonal job at a ski resort, or you could work a summer job at a beach, or you could work at a national park, or a campground as a Campos, you could do some farming or commercial fishing even, there are so many things that you can do. It's definitely possible to find something that you enjoy doing, especially when you consider that it's only season, it's only temporary, you do it for a few months, you save a bunch of money and then you can go from there. Maybe you worked that seasonal job for a few weeks, you save a bunch of money enough that could support you to travel on the road for a few months after that, but maybe you just travel for a month and then you get yourself another seasonal jobs and you keep adding to that savings, and then in that month that you take off, you spend all that time trying to learn a new skill, trying to learn something that will help you achieve a more permanent solution for income in the future. That's exactly what I did over that time that I was working those seasonal jobs. In between those seasonal jobs, I was learning about video production and I kept working on this YouTube channel that I had, element van life. I never really knew that it was going to be a full-time thing to support me, but that's what it turned into. I was able to learn a bunch about video production and then apply those skills not only to the YouTube channel but to other jobs, I was picking up clients doing that, and it was all just a process, it's snowballed over time and surely like you have to be dedicated, you have to be focused, you have to look at what you want to do and just try to make those goals happen. Then there were certainly things that I did that I even failed that. Like I don't really do web design anymore, I wanted to do it back then, but I didn't end up really making it happen as a full-time source of income. I realized that I didn't really enjoy it that much and I much preferred making videos, but it is what it is. That was something that I tried, it didn't work out and then I moved on and tried something else and that ended up working out. If you budget well and you are very mindful of your financial obligations, it does make it really easy to support yourself on relatively low income, so that's why these seasonal jobs work for a lot of nomads. If you really have nothing else that you have planned, they work really well for you. The goal here is just to maximize your savings. You get that job, whatever it may be, maybe it's not a seasonal job, maybe it's a full-time job, but you get it and you're living as a nomad, your expenses are so low, you should be able to save a ton of money, and that would allow you to put that money towards your future. That's really all it boils down to. I feel like I might be a little bit of a broken record here, I'm just saying the same things that this point, but it really is just an individual choice. It's an individual decision that allows you to be able to really commit to this lifestyle. It takes maintenance, it definitely takes mindfulness, but I truly believe that you can do it. If you've made it this far in the class, you obviously have a goal to make this work. If you're willing to be creative, if you're willing to be open-minded and think a little bit outside the box, you can 100 percent make it happen. 9. Conclusion: At one time, I was convinced that I needed so many things. I need to have a house, I need to have a bunch of rooms with a bunch of furniture in it, and I need extra plates in case I have guests, I need to take a hot shower every day. There were so many things that I thought I needed. But in reality, since then I've realized that I don't really need any of it. I mean, sure some things definitely make life easier, they make life more comfortable, but at what cost? There is no doubt in my mind that if I had stuck with that corporate job all those years ago, I never would have learned anything that I've learned over the past five years. No video production, no web design or graphic design, no aerial cinematography or astrophotography, no surfing, no music. All of those things that I've been able to focus on would have been replaced by the exhausting job selling elevator maintenance contracts. That would have just been the priority over any of these other things that I was truly interested in. Then add to that the fact that really the income from that job was primarily just going to pay somebody else's mortgage. But because they moved into my vehicle and learn to live on essentially nothing, I was able to gain a lot more control over my time and focus on the things that I wanted to learn. I really believe that these lessons in minimalism can be applied to everyone in some way. I know that for most people, van life is not the solution. I realized that it can really not apply for everybody. But that being said, there's something special about reducing what we have and the things that clutter our lives, as well as bringing down what we're spending so that we can save more money and put that money and put that time towards our futures. Thank you all so much for checking out this course. I really do hope that it was helpful for some of you guys, at least as a starting point for some just general conceptual ideas about how to pursue a life of both physical and financial minimalism, and ultimately how to find financial independence. Good luck to all of you in your paths towards minimalism. Like I've said a couple of times, feel free to share your progress in the community section below. I'm going to try to be active on there and I want to help in any way that I can. If you do want to follow along my journeys and you didn't know about Element Van Life prior to seeing this class, that is the name of my YouTube channel. I do document my experiences as I'm traveling around the country and living a life of minimalism. Thanks again for watching.