It’s the thick of spring, and summer is fast approaching. The signs are all around us; it’s becoming consistently warmer, the days are longer, and the garden is in full bloom. It’s the time of year when we start thinking about kids finishing school and therefore, summer vacation day dreaming has begun! You might also be starting to think about, how can I start saving for my summer vacation?
9 Easy Ways to Save for Vacation
A change jar is a nice start, but you’ll need to make a bit more of an effort to be sure you save enough summer vacation money to make your trip truly memorable, and of course enjoyable and relaxing. If saving money for a vacation seems out of reach, then you need to learn the best ways to save for a vacation.
1. Make a Budget
Any financial advisor or wise one will tell you time after time again: the best way to save for a vacation is by starting with a budget. The budget itself won’t save you money, but having a goal and knowing exactly where your money is coming from and going to is one of the best places to start.
Budgets can really help paint the portrait of your finances, and in the process of making one, you’re most likely going to learn about your spending and saving habits. You can’t cut back on your grocery budget if you don’t know how much you’re spending!
2. Devise a Plan
Create a retro planning of your ideal getaway. When are you planning to take this summer vacation and how much time do you have to save for vacation? Working backwards sometimes is the best way to move forward.
Consider your travel expenses, like airline tickets, gas money, or a rental car. And what about your accommodation? Do you need to include hiking gear and a tent or a budget for a hotel or bike rental? What excursions or activity expenses do you expect to incur? And food! Creating an estimate of future expenses through a vacation budget is an excellent way to save for a vacation.
3. Pay for What You Can in Advance
If you have extra savings already, consider paying an inevitable travel expense ahead of time (and use a travel rewards credit card to pay so you can earn even more travel money in the process). In some cases you might have to no matter what, like if your summer vacation plans include renting a cottage for a week, for instance. Paying for a portion of your vacation up front will assure certain aspects of your trip ahead of time. Although it will take away some of your summer vacation money sooner, it will make your vacation goals even more of a reality.
Always remember, not all of your travel expenses need to be paid at the exact time of your vacation.
4. Set Up a Dedicated Savings Account
When you’re asking yourself how to save money for summer vacation, opening a savings account that is completely dedicated to your summer vacation money can create a special place to sash extra savings as well as an intentional place to save for vacation. Some folks find it practical to send a percentage of their monthly income via direct deposit into their dedicated savings account. One, two, or even 10 percent of your income can add up when you doon’t even have to think about it.
There’s no need to obsess over ways to save for a vacation! Just set yourself up to automatically save so you can focus on other saving efforts too.
5. Use Your Tax Return
What are you going to do with this year’s tax refund? Put that sum directly into your account where you are saving money for a vacation this summer.
If you don’t have an idea what to do with a source of income that you sometimes unexpectedly receive, it’s easy to spend it in rather unintentional ways. This year, be intentional with your tax return and use it for some fun this summer! Consider that money already spent on your summer vacation before it disappears.
6. Have a Garage Sale
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be reserved for the first few weeks of spring alone. Gather all of your under-utilized belongings and sell them to make some summer vacation money. If there’s an annual neighborhood sale, even better! Hop on that train and earn cash for clothes you no longer wear, toys your kids have outgrown, or unnecessary kitchen appliances. A yard or garage sale is a great start to saving for your summer vacation.
7. Use Your Annual Bonus
Are you one of the lucky ones who receives an annual bonus? Bonus money can be summer vacation money! Put this year’s bonus into your vacation savings envelope and thank yourself later for all the hard work it took to earn that bonus by going on vacation. Treating yourself for your hard work is just what you should do sometimes!
8. Consider Alternative Vacation Ideas
Though the big question you might be asking yourself is ‘how to save for a vacation?’ you should also consider how you’re going to vacation. Though you might utterly enjoy all-inclusives and flashy high-rises along the beach, why not consider a more modest plan this summer? Some of the most memorable vacations are closer to home than you might believe. How about renting a humble cottage on a quiet lake or taking the kids camping for a long weekend? You have options and stellar alternatives.
9. Change One Habit
What are some of those little guilty pleasures or costly reflexes you have? For some folks it’s take-out, while for others it might be new shoes or a steamy caramel latte with an extra shot of espresso. If you really can’t stop yourself from online shopping, for example, then at least make it a habit to start earning cash back!
Challenge yourself to decrease one habit of yours that costs you extra money frequently so you can save for vacation instead. These seemingly small expenses can quickly add up to make a big difference. Minor changes can make major impacts, so it’s time to decide: how will you start saving money for a vacation?