Everyone dreams of going on a vacation. But the expenses are too steep. You have to think about transportation, food, lodging and other incidental expenses. In some cases, you may even need to splurge on some necessary wardrobe. If you don’t have enough money but you go on a vacation anyway, you will only be stressed. Every penny spent would feel like every part of you pinched out of your system. So it’s better to save money months before your dream vacation so all you have to do when time comes is to reserve once relaxing activity after another.
Here are some tested ways to save money:
Create a separate account
The best way to save money is to force yourself to save money. Open a separate savings account and setup automatic payments to that account straight from your salary. Because it’s automatic, you can just forget about it until it’s about time to use it for the vacation. It would be even better if you open a short-term time deposit account. This way, it would be more expensive to withdraw the money before maturity.
A piggy bank also works. You may get the ceramic one so that you don’t have a choice but to wait until the right time to break it and get your savings for that dream vacation.
Start budgeting on food
Food is one of the most important expenses during the vacation. And since a vacation is supposed to be an enjoyable time, it’s not nice to scrimp on food during a wonderful time. So scrimp on food now and enjoy great food on your vacation. But that doesn’t mean you should starve yourself or sacrifice your daily sustenance. You just need to be smarter when it comes to buying food. One example is to buy stuff in bulk. Buying in bulk is always cheaper. Another thrifty practice is to start backyard gardening so that a lot of the ingredients you need in a meal will be free.
Then of course there are food items that you don’t necessarily need: chips, chocolates and ice cream. Not only are these junk food, these also take a big cut from the budget. Also, don’t forget to use coupons when grocery shopping. These small pieces of papers can mean tens of dollars worth of savings.
Get a side job
If you really want something, you have to work for it. So if you want that dream vacation and you are just earning enough for your monthly expenses, then perhaps it’s about time to get another job to cover the vacation. Whatever you earn from the side job, you can deposit it in the vacation account.
Sometimes, you don’t even need a side job, you just utilize your resources for extra income. You can apply for an Uber license so you can use your car when you’re not busy. You may also enlist your house under Airbnb.
Sell your stuff
Check the back of your closet. For sure, there are a few pairs of jeans and some other clothing pieces that you placed there in hopes of getting into them again sometime in the future—if you lose weight. Stop holding on to things that offer no guarantees. Just be practical. Gather these clothes and put them in a box and sell them. For sure, clothes are not the only items in the house that you have not been using but are still in perfectly fine condition. Drop those in the box as well and sell them. Use this as an opportunity to clean up as well. Organize the garage—throw unusable items and sell others. Keep the bare essentials at home. Do the same to the attic and basement and all the other rooms in the house.
Deposit tax refunds
It is the season of tax returns. If you are expecting a tax refund, don’t expect it. Tax refund is not a regular income so you should not think of it as such. So if you do get a tax refund, deposit it to your special account solely for vacation expenses. According to Go Banking Rates website, the average American spends at least $900 a year on vacation. A tax refund can already go a long way in a family vacation.
Cut out entertainment spending
A vacation is more than just an entertainment—it is a memory. So cut out short-term entertainment spending in order to be able to spend on a long-term form of entertainment—something that will last a lifetime. According to Go Banking Rates, every American spends at least $5,000 on entertainment. If this sounds too much, ask yourself: how many times do you watch a movie in the cinema in a month? How many times do you go to a theater show in 30 days? How often do you eat in a restaurant in a week?
Again, saving doesn’t mean wiping out entertainment completely out of your life. Monopoly, Jenga, Pictionary and other board games that are just lying in your house are great sources of entertainment. If you have a ball, you and your family or friends can enjoy a great game of dodge ball.
Try to make your vacation pay for itself
Going on a vacation entails expenses, but it can also be an opportunity to earn money. This is not always a guarantee but it may work. If you are good at writing or taking photos, you can earn money by blogging about your vacation. You have to be well informed about how to earn money from blogging or posting on social media though. So do your due diligence before embarking on this kind of work in order to save money for the vacation.
These tested ways to save money sure sound like sacrifices—and they are. But it will be worth it. Vacations can revitalize your life and your spirit. You need it at least once every year. But just like everything in life, nothing is for free. So you have to prepare for it.