Looking to get away this summer? But worrying about the expense? There are ways to save money on a tight budget. The first thing to do is to set your savings goal. Where is it you wish to go on vacation and how much money will it take to get you there? Once you establish the cost for air or ground transportation, accommodations, meals, and miscellaneous activities, then you will know how much you need to save. It doesn’t have to be an expensive holiday this year, but you can certainly make it an epic one. Chose a destination, determine how much you need to make it happen, and follow these 10 steps and you will be on your way to save money for your summer vacation.
1. Create a Spending Plan & Stick to It
You will need to establish a household budget in order to find the money for your vacation. Tally up your monthly income and your monthly expenses. You cannot begin saving until you know how much you can save. Take the time to track spending and create a budget. Once you identify your expenses then you can work to cut back on them in creative ways.
2. Set up a Separate Vacation Savings Account
The fact is, when money is available, it can be very easy to spend it. One sure way is to make that money unavailable. Do it by establishing a separate savings account earmarked for your vacation. Most banks offer an automatic transfer service. You can designate an amount to be transferred each week or each time you get paid. Use that service and save.
3. Look for Ways to Cut Expenses
One easy way to find a little extra money is to cut costs. Make a list of your expenses and decide how any one of them could be trimmed. As part of your budgeting process, track what you’re spending your money on and begin to cut back. Say goodbye to that $4 latte every day and you can save $20 a week. Pack your own lunch and save up to $10 a day or $50 per week. Saving on coffee and lunch can put $280 a month into your vacation fund. What else can you do without for a few months and put toward your vacation fund?
4. Avoid Impulsive Spending
Impulse buying hurts your chances of saving money. People spend at least a couple thousand dollars a year on things that they don’t really plan on buying. If you can reduce impulse buying then you can save money. For example, before grocery shopping make a grocery list, then follow it and shop quickly. Buying from the list only can save 23% on your grocery bills. For a family of four, that’s a potential annual saving of over $2,600.
5. Pay with Cash When Shopping
If you are using your credit cards and debit cards to shop with, studies show you are likely to pay 12% to 18% more than those who shop with cash. McDonald’s found that their average customer spends $7 on food when they use a credit card compared to $4.50 when they only use cash (that’s a 56% increase in spending). By shopping with cash in your wallet rather than plastic cards you will limit your spending and save money.
6. A Side Hustle Can Make You Cash
Without making any major changes in your schedule or lifestyle, one good way to make some extra money for your vacation fund is to pick up a part-time job. A side hustle is not a long-term commitment, but a small job to make extra money on your own time.
7. Online Selling
Plan a weekend of spring cleaning and gather up your unnecessary items or belongings to sell online. You can use that cash to deposit in your vacation savings fund. Sell the items on eBay, Craigslist or even Facebook Marketplace.
8. Summer Vacation Rentals with Family & Friends
Consider a group rental on a summer cottage or camp. Splitting up a weekly rental amongst four or five family groups means it is often cheaper to rent a larger property that can accommodate a larger group. Rather than eating out at restaurants every day you can save money by taking turns cooking in. Saving on meals alone can add up to significant savings while you are on your summer vacation. Family summer vacation rentals are also a great way to catch up and connect with extended family and friends, too.
9. Save Money on Your Summer Vacation
Rather than fly to a destination, consider driving there. Even at $3 a gallon, a road trip is far less expensive than flying a family of four. Drive to a destination off the beaten path away from the crowd. There are more frugal options like state or national parks, and camping when you get there. By visiting and vacationing at lesser-known destinations you can save money while on vacation. Where there is less demand, there are lower prices and more savings.
10. Use Savings & Budget Apps While on Vacation
Keeping track of your daily spending is important. Using budget and savings apps like Mint and Acorns helps users monitor daily expenditures and manage funds. Watching over your spending in real time can help you set and achieve your financial goals, and increase awareness of your spending on vacation or anytime.