Young Money: Travel, nonprofits in the mailbag
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • February 13, 2013 @ 11:41am
Reader: Caitlin, I love to travel, explore new places and experience new things. Unfortunately, that’s difficult on a young professional’s budget. Do you have any tips on how to make my dollars stretch so I can do something I really love?
Caitlin: Reader, I feel your pain. My husband and I love to travel, and keeping up with our habit has been difficult at times. In fact, the only item on our “bucket” list is to visit all 50 states and all regions of the world. Our goal is to visit at least one new state each year, and while we’ve been able to accomplish it so far, it hasn’t always been easy. We make saving for travel a priority in our budget every month. This means that sometimes we don’t go out to dinner on a Friday night, or catch the latest movie at the theater but that’s okay with us. We know that scrimping in the short term will allow us to truly experience a new city the way we want to.
If saving just isn’t in the cards for you, another way to get your travel fix is through quick weekend getaways. I never travel more than six hours in a car, but you’d be amazed at what you can find just a few short hours away. From metropolises like New York City and Toronto to fellow Rust Belt towns Cleveland and Pittsburgh, there is so much to explore right in our own back yards. For me, a scenery change can make two days feel like a week and be just what I need to get my travel fix without going overboard. Whether you’re looking to go across the state or across the country, if travel is an important part of your life, find a way to make it a priority.
Reader: Caitlin - I’m always looking to advance my career, and I’ve gotten a lot of advice from company leaders to get involved in local charities or other not-for-profits. There are definitely causes I’m interested in but don’t feel like I have the time to sacrifice to really make a difference. How can I get involved but still live the life of a 20-something while I still can?
Caitlin: Reader – When my boss was beginning her career, everyone gave her the same advice: join the hospital board and rotary and a million other things that take up your time and may or may not be what you’re passionate about. Today, that advice just doesn’t fit anymore. With so many things (work, family, friends, etc.) demanding so much of our time, we’re allowed to be picky about the organizations we chose to dedicate our very valuable time to. It doesn’t do you, or the not-for-profit you’re working with, any good to get involved in something you’re not fully interested in and dedicated to. While I agree that it’s important to get involved in the community, it doesn’t have to be a dreaded task.
Our generation is full of passion for causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Start by asking yourself what’s yours? Do you love animals? Or maybe helping immigrants new to the community makes you feel as though you’ve made a difference. Whatever it is, find that one thing which makes you forget to eat dinner because you’re so excited to be involved and do it! The organization will be thrilled to have an enthusiastic supporter, and you’ll feel good about giving up your free time to something that truly matters to you.
(Header photo courtesy of Flickr / Arian Zwegers)