In Career, Life, Minimalism, Travel

What made me decide to give up 90% of my things, live in a hotel and travel?

About 6 months into my job right out of college, I decided that I would live in a hotel full-time and travel because I had made a mistake leasing this gorgeous 1200 square foot apartment to begin with.

See, I thought (like many new, naive consultants) that I’d actually be in my apartment. Reality came true when I realized I wouldn’t be living in my apartment as much as I would be visiting it on the weekends when I came back exhausted from traveling.

I was staffed on projects where you leave at 3 a.m. Monday morning, fly back around 11 p.m. Thursday night (sometimes Friday night depending on how picky the client is), and then have to get everything you didn’t get done from Monday to Friday, done on the weekends.

Sunday was the most dreaded day for me because I had to get back on the plane Monday at 3 a.m. so I was in bed by 8 p.m. at the latest.

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My office was literally in the sky at the start of my consulting career

I VISITED MY APARTMENT, I DIDN’T LIVE IN IT

Stupidly, I had an apartment that was perfectly set up and decorated but I never saw it.

Heck, I rarely even used the stove the entire time I was “living” there. It was a relaxing place to be in theory, but it could have been a storage unit with a basic military shower for all I cared on the weekends.

I ate out all the time, I didn’t cook or I ate very minimal meals, and my Saturdays were as hectic as my Monday to Friday routine.

To top it all off, I was stressed out about being $60,000 in debt, and although I started budgeting and tracking my expenses, I was making a dent in my debt but all I could think was: 5 more years of this? KILL ME NOW!


WHY DIDN’T I JUST RELOCATE?

Then like a flash, I thought: Why am I doing this? Why don’t I just relocate to where the client is for the interim, like a modern nomad and live in a hotel!?

The client was already paying for the hotel from Monday to Thursday, I’d just have to cover the Friday and weekend (or maybe the company would cover it for me in lieu of my flying back home), and I would get fed 3 on a per diem (allowed food spending) from Monday to Thursday.

It sounded like a win-win to me.

I was already flying and living out of a suitcase for the majority of the week, so what was another 3 days? I could REALLY cut down on my commuting time.

To top it all off, this was customer service at its best because the client would get a local consultant who was more effective, less tired, and able to stay later!!!

That is when I decided to live full-time in a hotel and have been doing that ever since.

I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE IDEA

Other people have done this but they need really flexible families or wives / husbands that don’t work. Their kids are constantly moving from city-to-city, hotel-to-hotel, and it works for them but I think it’s more of a singleton lifestyle, or at least a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lifestyle.

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GIVING UP 90% OF MY STUFF WAS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

After I realized I didn’t need an apartment or furniture because the hotel would be equipped with everything, I sold every stick of furniture I had, moved what I had left into storage and started on my new modern nomad lifestyle.

I tried it out for a year, and I loved it.

I won’t lie, it did hurt in the beginning to not have ALL my things with me — my clothes, a variety of shoes to pick from, etc, but I just saw the end goal: GETTING OUT OF DEBT, and focused on that.

Now, I am less hesitant to just pack up and leave. It turned me into a veritable minimalist (although I have relaxed from just having one suitcase to having a few), and I can basically pack up and leave to go anywhere in 3 hours.

In 2010 alone, I moved 19 times if you can believe that.

On top of it all, I was making some serious headway in my debt because I had NO NECESSARY EXPENSES!

I didn’t pay:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Internet
  • Cellphone (company provided this one as I was a consultant)
  • Food / Drink
  • Transportation (I was in a hotel that was in walkable distance at all times)

I had nothing to pay, and as a result 90% of my net income went straight into my debt.

Every penny of it.

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I CLEARED $60,000 in 18 MONTHS

I started budgeting and tracking my expenses, and it motivated me so much to continue on this path and lifestyle that I was a speed demon near the end.

The other major push I got before I cleared my debt entirely, was when I quit that consulting job at the company I was with, had $20,000 left in debt to go, and only about $2000 in my bank account.

I became a freelancer, made about $30,000 a month (gross) and wiped out my debt easily, while putting me solidly in the black.

Here’s my progress from when I started to the end of 2013.

As you can see, when I started budgeting there was a little uptick in my net worth climbing (near the start), which helped put the net worth incline on a slightly steeper note.

The real boost came when I quit my job and freelanced, and now I go through a Feast and Famine lifestyle.

But that’s another story for another day.

I NOW PERMANENTLY LIVE WITH THAT MINIMALIST MINDSET

Now that I was out of debt I didn’t technically have to continue living like that, but I did for the next few years.

Also, being a freelancer meant I had a lot of free time, so I decided to take it easy. I took a year off to travel, then worked, took another year off, then worked… etc.

I worked basically half of my career after I quit my job, and have been loving the lifestyle ever since.

I could definitely work more and be richer by now had I decided NOT to take those years off in between working, but I prefer this work-life balance over rushing towards an end goal.

What’s the point of working like a dog until you retire? I’d rather go moderately by working a bit, relaxing a bit, and enjoying every year of my life.

THE STORY TODAY: STILL LIVING IN HOTELS

So yes. Even now that I’m a freelancer with a baby, I am still living in a hotel (more of an apartment hotel).

For me, living in a hotel actually ends up being a cheaper, hassle-free option as a consultant than if I were to keep a full-time apartment and travel from there.

The only time I would consider switching to a permanent abode is when I go to buy a condo, and settle down a bit so that my child is able to start school and not be disrupted during the year.

I also plan on buying a condo for life. I don’t believe in starter homes, and frankly it better be at a good price because not only do I plan on paying for that condo IN CASH, renting is still cheaper than buying.

Of course, I do remember that one time I stayed in Manhattan at a hotel about a block from my work site, was rather expensive at $5000 a month coming out of my pocket, but it wasn’t for a long period of time.

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I lived about a block from Central Park, Manhattan (pictured above)

I live with less and I couldn’t be happier.


The only downside is I wish I could iron all my clothes, hang them up and not have to pack them again, and RE-IRON all of them when I relocate to a new place.

Otherwise, it’s been perfect. I don’t want to accumulate MORE stuff just for the sake of having it (e.g. 9 screwdrivers, 10 flash lights), and I try to keep things down to a reasonable minimum.

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT LIVING IN A HOTEL FULL TIME?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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5 Comments

  1. Sylvie

    So what’s your tally of non-Baby-Bun possessions these days? Just curious. 🙂

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      About the same..

      2 racks
      2 tables
      2 chairs
      1 baby chair
      2 futons (one for Baby Bun)

      Then the rest is clothing and things, but I have been striving to keep my wardrobe pared down.

      Reply
      1. Sylvie

        I meant in terms of make-up, clothes and shoes. Nothing like a last-minute move to make you critically assess your belongings.

        Reply
        1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

          Oh yes, that is true. When you want to move, suddenly everything is unnecessary.

          Reply
  2. Livingalmostlarge

    Until I read your blog and it made total sense to people who consulted. Never thought outside the box but it was very sensible.

    Reply

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