It’s the time of year when everyone is thinking of a vacation. A couple of days of rest and relaxation sounds wonderful and would help you and your family to reconnect. There’s only one problem: vacations are expensive. Thankfully, with a few minor adjustments, saving for a modest vacation is within reach. You may not be able to save for a lavish trip to a tropical location, but time away with those you love is a treat even if it’s done on a budget.
One of the most important parts of saving for a vacation is planning ahead to save money. It may be too late to save ahead of time for a vacation this summer, but if you start planning now, by next year you’ll be in a better position. If you approach it by thinking, “I’ll put some money away when I have some extra cash,” it’s likely that you will never save any money. It’s too easy to spend the extra cash elsewhere. Start by setting up a vacation account, preferably at a different bank than your regular accounts, so you won’t see how much you’ve saved each time you check your main account.
Then make a budget listing your income and all of your expenses. If there is any money left over in your current budget, plan to set money aside. You can use an app or a program that automatically rounds your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the money into a savings account, or you can set up transfers to your savings account with your bank.
There are ways to trim extra expenses off almost any budget. Sometimes it means making sacrifices. For instance, if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you could save over $2,000 in a year by quitting at the average price per pack. If you drink water instead of two bottled sodas a day, then you could save about $720 a year!
There are also ways to cut costs in other places by searching out comparable, but cheaper alternatives. For instance, if you spend $50 a month at the gym, but you primarily use the stationary bike, then it might be worth considering getting a bike to ride around town. Even taking into consideration the cost of the bike and basic maintenance supplies, you would still save $400 to $500 a year. Similarly, instead of buying brand-name products at the grocery store, choose generic, which can lead to substantial savings over the course of the year. If you do prefer brand-name products, then using coupons or a rebate program can be a beneficial way to stack up the savings. There are thousands of similar creative approaches to trimming the budget that will save money without feeling like a sacrifice. Of course, as you trim expenses, remember that you are saving for your vacation, so make sure to deposit the savings in your vacation account!
Use Your Skills
Looking for a way to make some extra cash, modern consumers have encouraged the development of what has been dubbed The Gig or Sharing Economy. What this means is that in addition to regular employment, an individual can use their unique skills to do small jobs that add up to decent money over time. Uber and Lyft are well-known examples of this where people use their cars for extra cash, but many other similar avenues exist. For instance, there are many sites that pay people to write short blog articles and Freelancing platforms that allow people to sell skills ranging from translation work to web development to graphic design. If you have a little bit of extra time and a marketable skill, then you can likely find someone who will pay for it. Make sure you have the funds deposited into the account where you are saving for your vacation instead of your general account for maximum benefit.
Saving for your vacation doesn’t have to feel like work. With some planning and creative thinking, it can be and painless. Plan, trim expenses, and use your skills and you will find it easy for you and your family to get some much-needed R&R.
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