Since leaving for South America, we’ve received emails and messages wondering what our money situation is like. We’ve gotten tweets suggesting that we “get a job, hippie” and potential handouts; “do you need money to come home…is that why you’re not back yet.” We’ve lol- ed at most of them, but also considered the value of sharing just how we’ve managed to live jobless for four and a half months. It took a bit of work, a wee bit of planning and a dash of attention, but all and all, well worth every ounce of energy spent.
Before we left the States, we figured it was best to have as many dollars as possible, so we saved and saved and took Rockertycoon to the grocery store whenever he needed, knowing he would find it in his heart to feed us at his bar. For additional income, I would pick up random party gigs, clean apartments, and sell clothes at the local consignment shop on top of my usual freelance photo work. Meanwhile, Paul was still busting his hump at the ol’mill trying to get every last ounce of his lovely salary.
Secondly, once we arrived, we quickly realized it only cost about $4 to fill both of us with food and beer while out on the town in Lima, so just imagine how cheap it is to cook in the house….super cheap!! Paul even joined in the cooking fun once Argentina presented their amazing beef.
We designated days for treats. Sundays we could indulge in ice cream and each new city we could splurge on a nice local meal out. Gastronomy is a must in cities…especially for the Wayward Winos.
Throughout all of our days spent in South America, I kept a daily budget of everything we spent, which we eventually turned into a nerdy Excel spreadsheet. Our daily totals, highlighted in red, would freak us out, as our weekly averages and monthly projections were on the rise. We’d in turn eat less the next day, our averages would calm back down and we could rest easy again. It really helped!
We honestly didn’t expect to arrive in South America to travel around until we were penniless; I swear. We initially planned to see a bit of Peru— Machu Picchu, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca- head back to Lima and take one of our English-teaching job offers. Figuring out how to manage our mini-hippie fund paid off and we were enabled to live by the seat of our pants…that are full of holes by now.