How to Finally Save Up for Your Dream Vacation
Are long hours staring at a computer screen making your mind drift off to that unforgettable trip to Hawaii? Well what’s stopping you from going this year? Oh yeah, your savings account—or lack thereof. We know how tough it is to save, period, let alone for that summer sojourn. Traveling is essential to our personal growth, and making time for yourself (away from your cell phone) is always a good thing. So here are a few tips to scrape those savings together and make some magical memories.
Where do you want to visit? How long do you want to stay? What’s the exchange rate? Is it more expensive there? Ask yourself what costs you need to save for so you don’t get stuck, or worse. According to a new survey by Experian, vacationers usually spend more money than they expected and rely on credit cards to make up the difference. Not ideal. In fact, millennials spend even more. A whopping one-third surveyed said they don’t save beforehand, 72% said they spend more than planned, and 52% are strapped with credit card debt once the trip ends. It’s all in the planning, people.
Before you do anything, you have to do what we all loathe: budget. It’s never enjoyable, because it means cutting back, but it’s the only way to know what’s coming in, what needs to go out, and the absolute minimum you can live on. Don’t be too hard on yourself, either, or you’ll never make it. Make sure you have about a $100 to $200 buffer to fall back on, too. You just never know when you might need it.
Open a savings account with another bank, preferably one that isn’t attached to a card. The harder it is for you to access that money, the easier it is to save. Set up a direct transfer so that your travel savings go straight into this account every time you get paid. Set it and forget it, ladies.
We all love Whole Foods, but there are super-awesome and less expensive grocery alternatives, such as Trader Joe’s. We’re not saying you should sacrifice your health or that eating can’t be fun anymore; in fact now is the time to really discover your culinary flair. Dust off some of those cookbooks and try out some new recipes at home. Not only will you learn a new skill, but you will also be healthier for it and save some serious coin.
Okay, so you knew this one was coming. It’s savings 101, really, but we couldn’t leave it out. It’s not about cutting it out altogether. Just really consider the offers that come your way. Try to stick to once a week, or swap dinner for coffee instead. That way you can still go out and meet up with your friends, but it will only set you back a couple of dollars instead of dozens of them.
How often do you really use it, anyway? Just think about how that monthly fee adds up. Directly deposit that money into your savings account and watch it grow. This isn’t an excuse to let your fitness go, though. Buy a DVD in your workout of choice to do from home instead. There are plenty of thrifty options on Amazon and eBay, and once you buy it, there will be no hidden fees.