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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
~ Financial health is the pathway to wealth~
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