$30,000 Each Month


$30,000 Each Month is my Awesome Life Number.  There, I’ve said it.  Earlier this month, I enrolled in a program that promises to help me create an awesome life.  Don’t get me wrong.  Looking back, I’ve had a pretty awesome life.  Some may say that at age 72, I should be looking back at that life.  Resting on my laurels, so to speak.  But I say “No!”  In fact, “Hell, no!”  I could conceivably live another thirty years.  I don’t want to spend whatever time I have left sitting in my easy chair.  And if I have another thirty years, then I want to fill that time with as many awesome life events as I can.

By Way of Background

I started blogging way back in 2006.  December 29th, 2006 to be specific.  I had a blog titled “If There Were Witchcraft,” taking the title from a song we used to sing around the campfire when I was a kid.  If you’d care to see how this all started, you can check out my introductory essay here.  That post is short, rather to the point, and has only one photograph.  Sort of like this post, only shorter.  That blog morphed into a running commentary on my life, filled with photographs I have taken over the years.  My posts were very sporadic.  Over fourteen years, I wrote 220 blog posts, with the final one dated December 23rd, 2020.  The last three posts were all word search puzzles I had created using a program I bought on line.  You can see the last post here, and print out the puzzle and play along, if you wish.  Even though I haven’t added anything to that blog in almost a year, readers visited it 256 times in the last week.  I guess it’s true that nothing is every completely lost on the internet.  

I started this blog on October 1st, 2017, and for the first two years, I wrote sporadically about the thirty-nine counties in Washington State.  A sort of prologue to my planned coffee table book Evergreen:  A Photographic Portrait of Washington’s Thirty-Nine Counties.  That first post featured the last county created in Washington, the state’s north-east corner, Pend Oreille County.  To date, I’ve written up twenty-six of those counties, but I shifted the blog’s focus to include reading I’ve done, meals I’ve cooked, and most notably photographs I’ve taken–especially photographs of classic cars.  In short, a portrait of my life.

Which Brings Us to This Post

This post is different from almost every post I’ve written over the past fifteen years.  For one, it’s shorter.  Longer than that first post back in 2006, but shorter than almost all the others I’ve written.  It also has only one photograph.  Over the years, the main reason I’ve posted was to share my photography.  Not today.  This post actually serves as a homework assignment where I talk about my dream life and what it would look like if it came into being.

My Dream Life

Back in 2006, I wrote about how my ideal life would involve a beautiful home, and a winding road.  At the time, I thought six months at home and six months of travel would be ideal.  That was then.  Today, I have my beautiful dream home.  I still want to travel, but I love being at home and now wish to travel only four months of the year.  The point being that I still want to travel.  I can’t say that too many times.

Budapest and Prague are on my bucket list.  So is a cruise to Alaska.  I want to drag my cousin Ron out from West Virginia, then drive with him from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John’s, Newfoundland.  We would pass through every one of Canada’s ten provinces.  Then we’d head down the east coast finishing off my bucket list challenge of visiting every one of the fifty states.  I’ve been to forty-five, and the ones missing are Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and South Carolina.  

I think four months of travel each year would be ideal.  Two months spent traveling in the U.S., two months out of the country.  But I don’t want to spend eight weeks on the road.  Let’s take those four months and use them for four separate trips.  Perhaps spend January in Ecuador, July in Alaska, October on the east coast basking in the fall colors.  And, why not, April in Paris.

Eight Months at Home

And what would I do for the other eight months?  I’d still travel–but this time day trips.  I’d like to have a small RV (Kevin wants a big one, but his dreams differ from my own.)  I want a trailer or a small motor home I could use to spend a few days, midweek, at one of the beautiful lakes in our area.  I’d have a kayak along–or two if I could find someone who wanted to go along.  Of course I’d have my camera in hand.  I would love to be able to just take off and spend a week or so in Seattle, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco.  I’d go back to Victoria sometime other than March, and Edmonton sometime other than February.  But these would just be short trips–ones where I could eat in great restaurants, visit museums and art galleries.  And of course, bookstores–my favorite toy shops.

And the cost for all this?

My Awesome Life Number

That brings us to the $30,000 each month.  What‽ I hear you say.  $30,000 a month comes out to $360,000 annually.  Your taxes will skyrocket.  Well, yes.  And here’s the thing.  I don’t really need that much to live an awesome life.  But hear me out, that’s only a starting point.  How about $100,000 a month?  Or even more?  Why not.  But how did I come up with $30,000?  Right now, Kevin and I are living on considerably less than that.  But we’re not spending April in Paris, are we.  I took our average monthly expenses and added a couple thou to that.  Still not $30,000.  No, but one of the figures I came across recently was the notion that you should look at five times your monthly expenses.  Five times $6,000 (which could include April in Paris, or January in Ecuador) is $30,000.  Take that figure, and set aside 40% ($12,000) to pay taxes.  Remember they’re gonna go up.  Set aside another 40% ($12,000) to build your business.  Live on the remaining 20%.  Amazingly, that comes out to $6,000.

And while I’m building my business, while living my awesome life, I’m also going to be taking care of my physical health, my personal relationships, and, my (new) professional career.  Remember the $12,000 spent building my business?  Currently, I spend roughly $30 a month advertising the mugs I sell on Etsy.  Imagine what I could do if I increased that advertising budget.  But my dream business will be more than just designing and selling mugs on Etsy.  It will be more than selling my photography on Red Bubble.  I don’t know yet just what it will be, but I know it will be awesome!

To close, here’s a photo I took of myself and my goal board.  I recommend doing something similar yourself.  Look at your physical challenges, your personal life and your professional life and come up with one thing you can do to make each of those better.  Write them down and keep them in front of you every day.  That’s what I did here.


My Awesome Life Challenge whiteboard.  A photo of me, in my dream home, with three things I can do daily to create my awesome life.
#Awesome Life Challenge