We all want to travel around the world, visit amazing places and have unforgettable experiences. A 2-week vacation twice a year seems like a good enough way to escape the daily grind and enjoy life. However, most of these have been in the realm of daydreaming. Vacations are supposed to be fun, yet we’re often so stressed out about having to pay for the whole trip that we miss the sole purpose of it – to enjoy ourselves. Planning the holiday, choosing a destination, mapping out all the things you want to see and try should all be fun. Yet this process may feel more like a math class if you are constantly calculating what you can and cannot do. It is quite frustrating, isn’t it?
The following 10 simple ideas may help you save money, avoid all the travel stress and be able to relax on your next holiday.
1. Open a dedicated savings account
It’s hard not to spend money. If you have it, you will most likely spend it. That is an unfortunate side effect of our materialistic nature. However, if you make some of your money unavailable for spending, it will simply will be that – unavailable.
Find out if your bank can set up a separate savings account under your main account so you can organize your funds with ease. Setting up a separate savings account specifically for your summer vacation will help you keep track of your money better and focus on making that account grow. Review the account regularly to keep yourself motivated and on track with your savings plan.
2. Make weekly contributions
Even if you prefer a monthly timeline to organize your income and expenses, you should consider making weekly contributions to your vacation funds. Make it a habit to deposit money into your savings account every week instead of every month. That can help you focus on saving money for a specific goal in your life. Whether this happens in the form of simply transferring funds between accounts on a weekly basis or writing yourself a check and going to the bank to make the deposit, mark your calendar so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to build up that savings account.
3. Determine how much your vacation will cost now
To help yourself save the proper amount of money, determine your summer vacation costs now. This way, you will be able to focus on a target and won’t be short on funds when you need them. You can also avoid saving more than necessary and depriving yourself of the little pleasures in daily life.
Remember to include costs such as accommodation, food, parking and souvenirs. Then take your total cost and divide it by the number of weeks to your vacation to determine how much you need to save every week.
4. Make your own food
Dining out regularly can put a dent in your budget. You can reduce food costs by making most of your meals at home. According to a 2012 research, seven in 10 Americans said that they saved money by cooking meals at home instead of heading to their favorite restaurant. Scaling back on dining out, even if it’s just for just a few months, could help you save a significant amount of money that you can direct towards your travel funds.
5. Get a part time job
You may need to work a little harder now, but think about all the fun you’ll be having on your stress-free vacation.
Look for ways to earn extra money outside your regular job. There are lots of odd jobs you can do on the side which will bring you closer to financing your dream holiday.
During the winter holidays, many retailers may need seasonal workers to cope with the extra work. During spring and summer, look for farms or swimming pools that may need extra workers or lifeguards. During fall, try offering leaves raking services or picking apples in an orchard. Working on these side jobs may mean sacrificing your weekends for a while, but it’s one of the best ways to save money for your holiday.
6. Use last year’s bonus
Unless this money is needed to pay off debts, put your annual bonus into your summer holiday. It can save you the stress of having to scramble to get money together for your trip at the last minute. The amount of money you receive as a bonus or a pay raise can help determine the kind of vacation you can afford.
7. Sell stuff which you no longer need
Do some spring cleaning to gather a few things which you no longer need and sell them. The money made can go into your vacation funds. There are many different platforms to sell things or sell them to your friends. Just make sure to deposit all proceeds from the sale into your travel savings account.
8. Use your tax returns
It is best to aim not to have a big tax return. However, if you do have a nice return, save the money for your next vacation.
After receiving a tax return, see how you can adjust your withholdings to ensure that you are not lending money to the government interest-free. Instead, set aside money to invest and earn interest. You will then have more money for a truly enjoyable holiday.
9. Save your small change
Although you might not be able to save much for your entire vacation this way, keeping the small change is a good way to save money for some parts of it, like gas and meals. Whenever you have some change, put it in a savings jar. Don’t just put in coins. If you have a couple of dollars, put them in the jar too.
10. Motivate yourself
Sometimes, all we need is a little motivation. Place pictures of your desired vacation destination in strategic locations such as on your computer screen, bathroom mirror, car and wallet. If there is a type of music or a specific song that reminds you of your vacation destination, play it whenever you have the chance. All of these things will keep you motivated in saving for your vacation.
These are some good tips on how to save money for your vacation. Don’t forget to combine a few of these strategies to maximize your vacation funds.