Let’s be real: travel is and always will be expensive. With plane tickets, hotel rooms, food, transportation, etc., it can take a toll on your bank account. Many of us simply don’t have the funds or the time to take off on a vacation right away. Your options are, however, more open than they seem: here are some ways you can save for the vacation you deserve.
1. Use a Debit Card With Benefits
Using a debit card as your main payment method (versus a credit card) allows you to move your money immediately. Your account will be up to date whenever you need to check it, and you won’t receive a bill later. This makes it much easier to keep track of what you can spend and what you are spending. Plus, find the right one, and it can come with some handy benefits.
Any card issuer will offer benefits for their users of some kind, and debit cards are no different. Some offer cash back from certain retailers while others round up purchases and automatically transfer the extra to savings. Decide on whatever works best for you, and it’ll help you make a dent in your savings goal.
2. Create a Focused Budget
Most people use some kind of budgeting system, even if it doesn’t account for leisure or self-care. But you’re here because you want to treat yourself to travel, so aim to do it! Formulate your budget around your trip so all of your money goes where it needs to go first. But then, all of the extra funds can be allocated toward the travel itself without feeling like you’re losing money.
It’s still important to build up your general savings in the meantime, so allocate for this too, if possible. You could consider keeping two categories for savings — one category for the trip and another for “true savings.” This way you can watch both grow and leave your true savings untouched once the travel starts.
3. Cut Down on Extraneous Streaming Payments
Many services these days employ a subscription-based model that requires you to pay a bit each month. The more subscriptions you have, the more your monthly expenses build up, making it harder for you to save. When it comes to entertainment subscriptions, you should try to cut them down as much as you are able. You only really need one video-streaming service at a time, so you could plan your viewing around its specific content.
After the month ends, you can pay again to continue moving through your queue or find another service with different content. Consuming content from one service at a time makes it much easier to manage everything as well. Some services offer smaller, more affordable tools; then you can have more options and still fit them into your budget.
4. Be Conscious of Your Credit Usage
Debit cards make saving so much easier because you’re spending your own money versus that of the issuer. This doesn’t mean, however, that credit cards are without benefits of their own. You can build your credit by paying responsibly, making yourself more likely to receive approval for a loan. Your credit won’t be an issue for saving as long as you consciously spend only what you know you can.
You can do this by planning out your credit spending in advance and using it only for necessities like groceries. Then make sure that money is set aside in your debit account. This way you can pay the credit card bill when it comes because you had that money all along. The budget you previously created will protect your trip savings.
5. Find Budget Alternatives for Nonessential Purchases
You don’t need to shy away from treating yourself to dessert or a new shirt in order to save for your vacation. The way you currently spend on these things might be costly, but there are always other options out there. Take the time to do your research so you can find inexpensive alternatives for extra or unexpected purchases.
For example, instead of buying a new, expensive jacket, you can find an older one at a thrift store. You can find quick, affordable dessert recipes to satisfy your cravings instead of going to the bakery. You can solve a home storage situation by finding DIY solutions instead of buying products for the purpose.
In the end, you’ll likely have experiences you appreciate just as much without spending where you don’t need to. These small efforts will add up in time, bringing your vacation saving goal that much closer.
6. Put Away All Extra Income
You may have supplemental income streams coming in alongside what you need to survive. In this case, try to budget so you can put as much of this in your vacation fund as possible. It’s tempting to splurge when your paycheck comes in, but putting money away immediately means more freedom on your trip. You’ve already ensured you can live on your main income, so this money can be allocated for the future.
This tip applies to any extra income you earn for any reason, including tax refunds, bonuses, etc. Anything you haven’t assigned in your budget is money you don’t need right now and you’ll be grateful for later. As a side benefit, you’ll have some money to spare if an emergency strikes, either on your trip or otherwise.
By following these tips and applying them where appropriate, saving up for your next trip will be much simpler. The extra funds you’ll have can help you attain the experience you desire from it. Although managing your money is daunting, it’s not impossible to make these changes and stick to them. Then once your vacation is over, you can apply these tips to everyday life and continue to build your savings.