June 17th, 2017
How to Save Money for Your Next Big Vacation
Going on a major trip can be expensive, but by following these 5 simple money-saving strategies, you'll have a robust vacation fund in no time!
Maybe you're dying to go on a safari, or a hut-to-hut hiking adventure or a bike tour in wine country, but you're worried that it might drill a serious hole into your wallet. That’s understandable; coming up with extra cash is no easy feat!
But here's some news that may perk you up. There are easy ways to learn how to save money that can make the vacation of your dreams affordable. It just requires some planning ahead and a little bit of discipline.
Are you up for the challenge? Try following these five tips and you're bound to come up with enough dough to fill a small backpack!
1. Go green: The average debit card user charges more than $8,000 on the card each year and makes 18 purchases a month with it. The problem? When you rely solely or mostly on a debit card, it's easy to ignore how much you're spending and overdo it. So try a cash-only diet. Take out a certain amount of cash from the bank each month and spend only that amount. Experts say that when you watch the dollar bills leaving your hands, you'll become more conscious of your spending habits and cut back. Plus, when the cash runs out, you just can't spend more!
2. Join a new bank: Set up a "vacation fund" in a bank that's separate from the regular one you use for checking. Separation is key, because if the money is in your regular bank, you'll see how much is in the fund every time you check your account (and you may be tempted to spend it!) An online bank, such as Ally Bank, ING Direct or PNC Virtual Wallet, is likely to give you a higher interest rate on your savings, so your money will grow a little faster.
3. Get automated: Set up a regular automated transfer that takes money from your checking account and puts it into your "vacation fund." For instance, if you transfer $50 a week for one year, you'll have saved $2,600 plus interest. Not too shabby, right? If you make the transfer weekly, as opposed to monthly or quarterly, you're less likely to feel a big hit. By following this strategy, you won't forget to save money for your vacation, because you won't even need to think about it.
4. Eat in: Chowing down at restaurants regularly can throw you into a huge money pit fast. For instance, a pasta and chicken dish at a chain restaurant can set you back about $15. If you made that same entree at home, you'd spend less than $5 per serving. If you make your own breakfast and coffee in the morning (skip the pricey latte!), bring your lunch to work, and make delicious, healthy meals at home as much as possible, you may be surprised at how much you can save—it can add up to hundreds each month!
5. Use your rewards card: Whenever you're buying books, clothes, electronics, flowers, gift cards, beauty products, jewelry, sporting goods, tools, toys—heck, just about anything—see if you can buy the item through your credit card's rewards site. For example, if you own a Citibank credit card and make purchases through ThankYou.com, the bank's rewards site, you'll earn more credit card points. Later on, you can trade those credit card points for a plane ticket or hotel room for your vacation. (Just be sure to pay off your credit card bill in full each month so you don't get slammed with late fees and interest!)
Figuring out how to save money isn't as hard as you thought, now is it? Once you build that healthy vacation fund, be careful when carrying it around on your trip. To deter thieves, put the content of your wallet in a money belt or neck wallet and wear it under your clothes.
Have a helpful money-saving tip of your own? Tell us how you saved for a vacation in the comments section, below!
Jane Bianchi is a freelance writer who has worked for a variety of national magazines, including Seventeen, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping. She lives in Tampa, Florida.
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