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It can be challenging to set aside a portion of your hard-earned dollars, but once you’re on the beach watching the setting sun with a cold drink in hand, you’ll appreciate the steps you took to save your money so you could enjoy your holiday completely worry-free. Here are four strategies to help you set aside part of your paycheck for your next excursion:
1. Create A Vacation Budget
When you’ve determined where you want to travel, set aside time to plan where you want to stay and what you want to do while you’re on vacation. As you research, note costs for airfare, accommodations, dining, and entertainment. Once you have an estimated cost, determine when you want to take your trip and then divide the cost of the vacation by the time you have before your departure. If your trip will cost $2,400 and you want to make the trip in three months, you’ll need to save $200 each week. If you make the calculations and feel like you are unable to meet your savings goal, see if you can delay the trip slightly or determine if there are different accommodations or entertainment you can choose which are more budget friendly.
2. Open an Account Just for Your Vacation Savings
Having a dedicated account for your trip that you can watch grow with little deposits here and there will keep you motivated to save. (If you choose a high-yield savings account, you may even be able to grow the balance a bit while you prepare for vacation.) Consider depositing items like work bonuses, tax refunds, and birthday cash in this account to help increase your savings. Once this account is open, do not withdraw funds until it’s time to hit the road, board the plane or set sail.
3. Reduce Non-Essential Monthly Expenses
Small monthly expenses, like Netflix, Birchbox, or unlimited cellular data, add up quickly. While you’re saving for your trip, try eliminating these recurring fees and stashing the associated costs in your account dedicated to vacation savings. Cutting two or three subscription services for a few months could help you save between $200 and $350 dollars! Up for a challenge? You could also cancel or freeze your gym membership to help you create more savings. Instead of taking cycling classes at the boutique spin studio across town, ask a friend to meet up for a walk or jog along the river instead.
4. Swap Out Daily Lattes and Expensive Lunches for Brown-Bagged Meals
Sure, it’s nice to stop for an iced latte on the way to work or step out of the office for a grilled chicken Caesar salad at lunch but imagine how much more you’ll enjoy a special meal with family or friends once you’re vacationing. If you stop for coffee each day and treat yourself to lunch at the deli around the corner a couple times a week, you could save around $225 each month by eliminating these indulgences and revel in ordering dessert and a glass of champagne once you’re on your trip.
While you’ll most likely have to make a few sacrifices to afford a trip to someplace new, it’s always worth forgoing little luxuries like restaurant meals and cable subscriptions to create new memories and have new experiences. If you find yourself considering serious trade-offs just to make the trip happen, such as selling a family heirloom or taking out a large personal loan, you may need to reassess your destination or timing. It will be a lot easier to kick back and relax knowing you earned the trip by making wise financial decisions along the way. Bon voyage!