Vacationing on a budget; the best of both worlds!

 

Summer is coming (finally!) or at least summer-like weather, and it’s the time we start thinking about taking a few days, a week or if you’re lucky, a few weeks off to go away and enjoy some time alone or with your family and or friends. We want to splurge and live carefree yet vacations can be expensive. Can you have the best of both worlds, enjoying a few days away at your favorite vacation spot, without blowing the budget?

Yes you can, and the earlier you begin planning, the better. If you signed up for our budgeting webinar, you’re half way there! If you haven’t , it’s not too late to check it out or follow these seven tips to a carefree, guilt-free summer vacation:

  1. Budget your dream vacation: Take some time to look through some of your favorite hotels, resorts and beach spots and start pricing the cost of your trip. Make a budget which will include travel (gas/tolls or airfare/train/bus), food (see #7 below) and lodging.
  2. Decide on your vacation date(s): This step is important because it determines how much time you have to save for the vacation you want. The great thing about time is it’s flexible, so you can move the date if you need more time!
  3. Open a vacation savings account: If your bank doesn’t have a vacation savers account, open up an online savings account. It doesn’t matter where, just so it’s either at a bank or credit union far from you or online where you’re able to have it automatically transferred from your personal checking account. Make sure it’s not connected to a debit card so that you cannot make any impulsive decisions to tap into that money for anything slight of a medical emergency!
  4. Have a family meeting: Financial freedom is a family affair so get the family together and make the committment to plan and save for the vacation if you plan to go with family. Share the ideas and budget for the trip and get everyone involved in decisions about where to go and how they can help keep down spending until the vacation date. Empower the children by giving them the role of keeping lights off when not needed and saving some of their allowance to spend on vacation or earning a few dollars helping a neighbor rake the lawn.
  5. Place a photo of your destination in a central place for inspiration: Sometimes you need help to keep your committment to save. I know for myself it helps to have the picture of my goal in my face when those shoe or clothing store sales fill my mail box and I get the urge to buy a new pair of shoes that I really don’t need. It is a good reminder for me to stay the course!
  6. Keep an eye out for sales: If you know you or the family will need beach gear, keep an eye out for sales on the items you need. The one trick I share in my online workshop is to create a separate email address to be used solely for signing up on retail websites to get the specials, coupons and discount codes. When I’m ready to shop online or in stores, I just do a search for the store’s name and pull up their latest coupon and shop!
  7. Splurge on the memories, not the meals: You don’t have to splurge on every experience just because you’re on vacation. The best part about involving the family is finding out what experience is most important for everyone involved. The best memories made on vacations are usually those related to quality time, and you should consider that when you are budgeting. Whether it’s Disney or the local beach, we save by going to the nearest market, buying easy breakfast and lunch ingredients the children can make for themselves and one or two family dinners we can have together. We splurge on the kites we buy for the beach, the waffle cones and that one incredible restaurant, theme park or overpriced adventure that we all wanted to enjoy just for fun or to celebrate a special occassion.

So get started dreaming about your ultimate vacation and make it happen. You have time and now you have a plan. Let us know if this was helpful and share those amazing vacation photos too!

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Give the gift of education

One of the best gifts a parent or family member can give a child is the gift of education. Having a wealth mindset is asking your family to forgo the toys and wrap up a contribution to your child’s 529 Plan. It’s also a tax deduction so everyone wins! You have until December 31st to open an account if you haven’t already.

Many happy returns!

Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins today!

https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2018-open-enrollment-is-here/

Visit the ACA website to search for options, prices and register before December 15th! You may have an extended enrollment period in states affected by the hurricanes:

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Sleep Better at Night

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How to Balance Your Checkbook 101

I will be the first to admit it. I used my bank as an expensive line of credit. I would walk into a store knowing that I probably didn’t have enough in my bank account to purchase the item I wanted, but I purchased it anyway. I felt ashamed yet I knew that my bank would pay the retailer and I would get charged a fee later for insufficient funds. I told myself that the item was worth the additional fee I would pay. Then there were other times when I really thought I had enough money in my bank account and was shocked when I received a notice of insufficient funds in the mail from my bank and was charged the NSF fee for the three or four days I wasn’t aware of my actual cash balance.

I learned the hard way that knowledge is power and that if I took at least 30 minutes each month (or 10-15 minutes a week) to reconcile my checkbook to the bank statement or online banking detail, I could have saved over $500 in bank fees! In addition to bank fees I’ve sometimes found bank errors where the bank either didn’t credit me for the correct amount of my deposit or a merchant charged me twice through a debit purchase. I would not have recovered the money from these erroneous charges to my account if I hadn’t taken the time to reconcile my checkbook.

Now I make it a point to never walk into a store until I’ve reconciled my bank account and am confident I know how much money I have available to spend. If it’s something I want and don’t necessarily need, I will take a picture of it or write it down and add it to my “rewards” list. If it’s something I need, I will research on the internet to find a way to get it at a discount or a price I can afford. I may also consider checking with my bank to see if I can obtain a personal line of credit. I use my “rewards list” when I have the funds, as a way of rewarding myself for managing my money wisely or reaching another important professional or personal goal.

Stop guessing and stressing about the money in your bank account and invest time in yourself and your peace of mind and take these six simple steps to reconciling your checkbook. The Foundation for Financial Literacy has provided a valuable step by step illustration and worksheet that can be used for yourself as well as your teenager or college student.

Take a few minutes to move towards personal financial freedom. You may find a fortune in savings!

 

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Press your way towards Financial Freedom !

Stay tuned for your first ticket to Financial Freedom! We will post the summary of our first Facebook live today at 11:30am EST within 24-48 hours, so please come back and get your ticket! In the meantime, don’t wait in line, “like” The Restoration Station Facebook Page and subscribe to this newsletter for special access to valuable tools. Aren’t you tired of waiting in line? Let us take you one step closer to restoration! See you soon!