No matter what time of year it is, it’s always a good time to dream about a vacation; especially a warm sunny place during the winter or a cool breezy place during the heat of summer. Whether you plan to drive, fly, or just have a staycation, figuring out how to pay for it can be stressful and make it hard to take some much needed time off. By taking some time now to plan ahead, you can start putting some money away, possibly reduce your costs with early booking discounts, and improve your mood by giving you something to look forward to! If you have a few months before your trip, we have some suggestions for getting your savings started and some small things you can do every day until then to reach your goal.
- Set a budget. Do some research to decide where you want to go and how much it will cost. You’ll need to think about lodging (hotel, camping, airbnb), travel (driving or flying), food and entertainment.
- Consider using a separate savings account. Putting money in a separate account is a great way to save for a specific goal. It can be motivating to watch it grow and you can easily keep track of your spending while on vacation by spending directly from this account. Also, by keeping this money separate, it will be less tempting to spend it ahead of time than if you kept it in your regular checking account.
- Build up your separate account. Figure out how much you can regularly put towards this goal on a monthly basis and set up automated transfers from checking into this account. There are also money saving apps you can use to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put the difference in a savings account. Want to speed up the process? Reduce your monthly spend by taking your lunch to work more often, spend less on impulse purchases, and feel good that you’re actively putting those dollars towards a real goal – you’ll appreciate it once you’re finally on that vacation.
- Look for extra cash to put towards your goal. Picking up a side hustle walking dogs, babysitting or mowing lawns to make a little cash can boost your vacation account savings. You can also clean out your attic, garage and closets and sell things you just don’t use anymore online, at a consignment store, or yard sale.
- Use loyalty points, memberships and discount sites. To help reduce the cost of your vacation, use any points or discounts you may receive from airlines, hotels, credit cards and rebate sites. It’s easy to forget what you may already have when planning trips so double check your card rewards before booking.
By attaching a specific purpose or goal to your savings, research shows that you are more motivated on a daily basis to contribute to that goal. Spending less and making small sacrifices are much easier when you feel like you’re making progress towards something you really want.