How to afford a sabbatical: Ways to take a family sabbatical without going in debt or losing your house!
Lots of companies are beginning to offer paid sabbatical for employees who attain a certain number of years of service.1 But if your company doesn’t offer paid sabbatical, you might be wondering how you could afford it. Consider these practical ways to save money and afford your family sabbatical.
Are you considering a family sabbatical? Maybe the thought never crossed your mind and you are wondering what it is.
What is a family sabbatical?
Generally a sabbatical is an intentional break in your career used for personal and professional development. Sabbaticals are usually a break from your day-to-day career, but you return to your regular job after it sabbatical concludes.
Contrastingly, a career break might also be a break in daily routine, but it more generally describes a break from your career for personal, health, family, or other reasons. For many, a career break is a transition from one job before taking on another job or career.
Career breaks could refer to mothers who stay home until their children go to school full-time, someone who wants to go back to school before starting a new career, or even people who simply want to take the time to travel.
Similarly, you might have heard of an adult gap year. Like that year you backpacked around Europe in college, an adult gap year generally gives you both a career break and an opportunity to learn or try something else. This might be different than a career break
Why might you consider taking a sabbatical?
Maybe you are sick of quarantining and working like a dog. Perhaps your family needs to withdraw from the everyday. Or, maybe you are among the millions who are considering leaving the workforce in search of more balance.
In any event, a family sabbatical might be your answer –a chance to disconnect from your harried routine and a chance to reconnect to your priorities.
However, a sabbatical is not just a prolonged vacation. Generally, when we talk about sabbaticals, we are talking about a time to concentrate on personal and professional growth.
What would you do on sabbatical?
Write a book, travel the world, learn a new language, take a college course.
Sabbatical is a chance for self-improvement. Even if your only goal is to educate your children on a trip around the world, you are taking a purposeful break from the office while improving your skills.
How long might a sabbatical last?
The sky and your finances are the limit for the time frame of a sabbatical. Some people take a 2 week break by themselves while others commit to a full year around the world.
Professional sabbaticals might be limited to 6 weeks or the summer break term for academic sabbaticals.
(To read about 12 families who all have varying stories about their sabbaticals, check this article out from adventureandsunshine.com. I honestly don’t know how many times I have read it, but I love the different stories!)
Our family sabbatical is 10 weeks.
Ways to Afford a Family Sabbatical
However, you might be one of the 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.2 And if your company or employer doesn’t offer paid sabbatical, you might be thinking that a sabbatical is too extravagant for your finances.
After all, how would you spend 4, 6, 8, or 52 weeks out of work and still have a roof over your head? Well, consider some of these ways that you can still afford a sabbatical.
Ways to Afford a Family Sabbatical
1. Remote Work
If a global pandemic has taught us anything it’s that much of our work can be done remotely. From doctors and lawyers to accountants and executive assistants, companies around the world have learned to adapt to remote work.
Could you set up a remote workstation without missing a beat from your daily job? Or, could your job responsibilities shift for a short time so that you could do those responsibilities remotely?
So much of our work can now be done from anywhere in the world with electricity and a good internet connection. Simultaneous video chats, cloud-based data storage, and document processing can take you a long way.
So, maybe you don’t have to give up your paycheck while on sabbatical…or at least not all of it.
Sources of remote work
However, not all work can be done remotely. If you still need to earn an income while on sabbatical, consider taking on a remote job.
A simple online search reveals a glut of online, remote jobs. Companies are discovering that not only could they continue to operate remotely, but they can also cut costs and hire more qualified workers from all over the nation/world.
Consider converting your position to remote for a short time, or consider picking up some online remote work while taking a sabbatical.
2. Don’t vacation while on sabbatical
Hear me. “Don’t vacation” does not mean “don’t travel.”
Definitely travel, but don’t treat it like a glamorous vacation.
When I think about vacation I think about eating out, sleeping in, and shopping at the cutest local boutiques.
However, consider renting an AirBnB, VRBO, or other short-term rental with a kitchen and laundry instead of traveling the world in expensive hotels and 5-star dining.
You might find that many short-term rentals are far less expensive than your own house payments and expenses. And, many rentals offer substantial discounts if you stay for a month or more.
Stay in one place for an extended period of time, learn to cook local meals, and take advantage of free entertainment like long walks, free museums, and public parks.
On our family sabbatical we are spending an entire month in each location. While we certainly have some splurges along the way, most of our sabbatical is planned around cooking in our rental, doing our own laundry, and immersing ourselves in local culture.
3. Kick out debt
You won’t have to spend much time on this site to know that our family believes in financial freedom, budgets, and kicking out debt.
It wasn’t easy, but our family lives free of consumer debt.
The amazing thing is that once we kicked out student debt, car payments, credit cards, home improvements and all sorts of other needless payments, we were saving thousands of dollars each month.
It didn’t take long for those thousands to grow into enough to take a family sabbatical.
If you start a budget and a gazelle-intense plan to get out of debt, most people can get out of debt completely in just a few years.
Consider kicking debt out of your life as a means to afford that family sabbatical.
4. Rent your home
The housing market has been crazy lately! More people want to buy than can find a place to purchase. Further, the rental market has become highly inflated.
Perhaps you live in an area where rentals are hard to come by.
Consider renting your home while you take a sabbatical. If you are planning on taking a year or more, maybe you even want to consider selling.
However, even if you are only leaving for a month or two, you might be able to more than cover your home and travel expenses with a good short-term rental contract.
Of course, this likely requires that you box up a good chunk of your personal belongings, but if you already live in a desirable community, this might be a small investment into an otherwise lucrative opportunity that grants you the financial freedom to take a family sabbatical.
Affording a Family Sabbatical
A family sabbatical likely sounds like a pipe dream to some. However, with some planning and financial management, it might not be so far fetched.
There are so many important reasons to consider taking a family sabbatical. Further, a family sabbatical might be an important time for you to actually advance your career.
Finances are a major consideration in whether to take a family sabbatical. But, consider these potential financial solutions for taking your family sabbatical.
Do you have other ideas or suggestions? How did you afford your family sabbatical?