Are you dreaming of that special vacation but are worried that the cost will put it out of reach? With a little planning and some small sacrifices, you can save up enough money to turn that getaway goal into a reality. Here are eight tips for building your travel fund.
1. Know what you need– The first step is to figure out just how much you will need for your vacation. Estimate the costs for travel, hotels, meals, tickets, souvenirs, travel insurance, passports, Add it all up and if it seems a bit overwhelming, look for ways you might be able to trim back. Decide what your priorities are and then go from there.
For example, could you save money on your hotel costs by staying in a nearby suburb instead of downtown? Could you stay one less day or go off season? If flying, could you travel on a different day of the week or time of day that might be less expensive?
2. Figure out monthly savings goals– Divide the total estimated cost for your vacation by the number of months until your trip. This will show you how much you should be saving each month to reach your goals.
3. Make a separate account– Now that you know your budget, set up a savings account dedicated to your trip. You’ll be able to see your balance grow (motivating!), and if it is separate from your other accounts, you’ll be less tempted to withdraw the money until it’s time to pay for your trip. Make sure you open your account with the required minimum deposit so you avoid any fees.
4. Automate your savings– Once you open a vacation-dedicated savings account, set up an automatic savings transfer. Determine how much you can afford to transfer from your checking account to your savings account each week. $10? $15? $25? More? The money will be automatically transferred so you don’t have to think about it after it is set up – and it won’t be in your checking account to spend on something else.
5. Cut down on expenses,at least temporarily – Bring lunch to work, disconnect cable TV channels you don’t watch, rent a movie instead of going out, cancel gym memberships you never use, do manicures at home, Cut down on non-essential expenses and put the money you would typically spend on these things into your savings.
6. Make more money– While this can be easier said than done, there are ways you might be able to bring in some more cash. Work overtime, take on a freelance gig, have a garage sale, or sell your unwanted items online. Put all that money into your vacation account.
7. Save your change– Every day, drop your pocket change in a jar that is designated for your vacation fund. It may not seem like much but in time it can add up.
8. Keep an eye on the prize– It can be easy to lose motivation when you’re cutting back and making sacrifices and your trip seems a long way off. Stay inspired by researching your destination on Pinterest and pinning pictures and articles of the places you want to go and things you want to do. Download apps that can help you learn the language or cook the foods of the country you plan to visit. Keep your goal top of mind and before you know it, it will be time to book your dream getaway. And you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your vacation more because you know you saved up enough money to pay for it!
These ideas can also be used as a way to save up for any big ticket expense including a car, home improvements, or anything else.