Here are some strategies on how to best prepare for an upcoming vacation:
- Create an effective and organized budget: It is important to maintain some type of budget annually in order to keep track of your spending, but it is especially significant in relation to saving money for a big trip. Create an organized monthly budget to follow year-round that will help you better understand the different categories in which you are spending the most of your income. Be sure to put money towards your savings as well as paying off bills every single month. The goal is to maintain healthy consumer behaviors and focus as much of your income as you comfortably can on saving for your future plans (i.e. a fun-filled family vacation).
- Categorize your savings: Whether you have been saving an envelope full of cash or putting all of your extra savings into a Savings Account, it is helpful to categorize your total savings. This means creating sub-categories under your savings account in order to budget and organize your funds with ease. Perhaps you need one category for vacation finances, one for future goals or projects, and one for your emergency funds/rainy day funds. By dividing your savings into specific categories, you will be able to comprehend how much money is in each category and how you can continue to build up the different elements of your savings to meet a certain goal.
- Look for deals when booking your trip: Today, there are so many sites and services that offer great package deals for booking a vacation. Prior to booking your trip, monitor sites like Groupon.com or Expedia.com to find the best deals and savings on flights, hotels, travel packages, and trip activities. Leading up to your trip, you may also find last minute deals on activities to do at your destination, coupons for restaurants, etc. Take advantage of travel sites that offer discount codes when booking for a big – it is a great way to save some extra money that can go towards a different portion of your trip.
- Plan your meals ahead: It is no secret that going away for vacation can inspire a different type of spending behavior. Avoid overspending on aspects such as dining out by planning out a partial meal itinerary ahead of time. This could entail purchasing groceries to cook throughout your trip, planning certain days to dine-out, and including a small contingency fund for extras like snacks throughout the day. By understanding your destination and itinerary, you will be able to budget for your meals in an effective way that won’t lead to overspending.
- Earn extra money leading up to your trip: Prior to vacation, there are many ways to save and earn extra money to add to our vacation budgets. Try spring cleaning and having a garage sale. By discovering unused items in your home, you are able to resell the items at a garage sale or to a pawn shop and earn money towards your trip. Involve the whole family! Encourage your children and spouse to do some spring cleaning and sell unused items in order to put extra money towards your family vacation. Bonus tip – anything that you do not sell at your garage sale can be donated to a local charity and used as a tax write-off for the next upcoming tax season!
- Be mindful of your weekly and monthly spending throughout the year: As previously mentioned, maintaining a monthly budget to keep track of your spending is essential in building up your savings. However, there are other helpful ways to build your savings week-by-week. Consider your discretionary or non-essential spending each week. Are you going out to dinner a lot or going to the movie theater? Are you shopping for clothes or other non-essential items? Are you spending money at your leisure that could be going towards your vacation? All of these questions are important to consider while determining more ways that you can save extra income towards your trip. Even though it is tough to scale back on extra spending throughout the months leading up to your trip, the payoff will be well worth it when you are enjoying your family vacation without any financial stress.
Take advantage of the seasons leading up to summer in order to build your vacation budget and prepare for an exciting adventure. By following these tips, you will be able to keep your finances on track and enjoy a vacation filled with timeless memories. So build up your savings, book that trip, and enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Safe travels!
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