The other day on the Hundred Goals Facebook Page I asked “What can you buy for two dollars?” It didn’t take long for some really interesting (and admittedly strange) responses to start coming in. Tony from Venezuela says he “can’t buy shit” in his country for two dollars. Isaac can park his car for two hours in the metered parking on campus and two dollars will pay for Sheena’s ATM fees for withdrawing cash from her bank account.
It seems that our feelings for two dollars isn’t much different from two cents…in other words, pretty worthless. On its own, two dollars really isn’t much. Maybe it’d get you a couple of McDonald’s cheeseburgers or a few minutes on a payphone but you probably won’t get very much more than that. You can’t even get a Starbucks coffee for less than two dollars!
If two dollars is such a measly sum, how can anyone possibly travel the world on that kind of money?
In the book The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Guillebeau points out on page 194 that you can get to almost anywhere in the world for two dollars a day:
I’ve found that even people who say they don’t like travel can usually think of at least one place somewhere in the world they’d like to visit before they die. I believe that if you can save as little as $2 a day, you can get to that place within two years or less. Many places cost less, and if you can save more than $2 a day, you can get there sooner.
Two years, 365 days a year, two dollars a day: $1,460.
Seeing it like that makes it look like a pretty impressive amount of money, doesn’t it? And all you thought two dollars could get you was nothing. But the question now is, can $1,460 really get you anywhere in the world? In my experience, yes. I’ve never paid that much for a plane ticket, so you’ll probably even have money left over to pay for other expenses like a room and the cost of food while you are there. Okay, it’s probably true that getting to Bora Bora might cost a little more, but in all honesty, not that much more. To get there in two years, just save a little more each day or save a little while longer.
Maybe you can’t afford to be a world traveler at this point in your life but that doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. Saving even a small amount of money each day will eventually get you to anywhere you want to be. Egypt, Japan, Italy, Brazil, Alaska, Russia…anywhere you can imagine.
The next time you think two dollars can’t buy you anything, or that the ATM fee isn’t a big deal, think about what you might be missing out on. Change your perspective about those two dollars and give your money its value again. Just imagine yourself wandering around the ancient cities in Greece or riding through the Serengeti on safari and adjust your spending habits accordingly.
Think of your money in terms of how it will bring you closer to accomplishing your goal. Ask yourself, “What can two dollars buy me in France?” The answer might be “Not much!” but wouldn’t you rather spend your two dollars in France than wherever you are now? I don’t know about you, but it always seems just a little better sipping on a soda halfway around the world than it does on the couch in my living room.
Spend wisely my friends!
A great way to look at it! And I’ll have to pick your brain one day to find out how you get good deals for airfare. I’ve never lucked out on that expense.
Great article, will definitely be sharing this with a few of my friends! Most people I know could easily afford to spare $2 a day – if only these people understood the concept of delayed gratification.
i thought that title was deceptive, but i liked the article nonetheless. the trick is in saving that $2 each day or weekly or monthly. if you don’t put it aside, it’ll get eaten up by some cheap cup of coffee or ATM fee!
@Gail: You’re probably right about the title being a little deceptive…but it’s catchy, isn’t it!? LOL! I’m sure it isn’t impossible to travel on $2 a day but I don’t many people would enjoy the sacrifices they’d have to make in order to do it. Maybe that’ll be an article for the future…I’ll see where I can go and for how little.