Some people think you have to be rich to take a vacation. Well that certainly isn’t true. Almost anyone can afford a vacation if they make a point to save up.
The truth is, you don’t have to have thousands of dollars put aside in a savings account to afford a vacation. There are tons of small things you can do every day to help save money for a vacation fund. Here’s a list of 5 of them.
1. Open A Separate Savings Account For Vacation
Of course there are different variations of this. Some people choose to put cash aside in a hidden envelope at home. That works just fine if you honor your intentions and don’t reach into it every time you need to tip the takeout delivery driver.
I almost never have cash on me. So if my travel fund was a cash envelope at home I’d never remember to go to the ATM to contribute to it. You know your own money habits. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you’d rather your travel fund be in cash at home or electronically at a bank.
I prefer to have a separate bank account for travel. First of all, while you have money sitting and waiting to be used, wouldn’t you like it to be earning interest? Even if it’s a small amount, it still helps.
I also find that most of my big travel expenses such as flights, rental cars, and hotels, are booked online. Having my travel funds available electronically makes booking travel a lot easier.
Lastly, transferring money between accounts is very easy. Every month when you are going through your usual bill payments, keep an eye out for anything extra in your checking account that you can move into your new travel savings account. Saving money for a vacation is all about prioritization. When you see a little extra money think “travel” not “shopping spree”.
2. Make Coffee At Home Or In The Office
We’re almost all guilty of it. For some of us this is part of our daily routine. Before work, or maybe even on a lunch break, we run out to buy a coffee. It doesn’t matter if it’s an expensive hand crafted latte at Starbucks, or a cheaper drive through option like McDonalds. Those purchases add up quickly.
Instead, plan to bring a travel mug with home made coffee into work every day. If you aren’t a morning person and don’t want to wake up 5 minutes early to brew coffee at home then make it once you get into the office.
Every time you make your own coffee instead of buying a cup, take the $5 you saved and put it directly into your vacation fund. You’ll be sitting on a beach sipping fruity cocktails instead of sitting in an office sipping Starbucks in no time. Who wouldn’t take that trade off?
(I had to take this opportunity to show yinz my favorite Pittsburgh coffee mug)
3. Dedicate Your Tax Refund to Travel
It’s the middle of March and you know what that means. Tax day is just around the corner. A good portion of us actually look forward to tax day. Not because of the dreaded task of filing our taxes, but because of that tax refund check.
Do you already have plans for what you are going to do with your tax refund? Some decide it’ll be a down payment for a new car, some buy a new designer purse or clothing, and some spend an expensive night out at a bar buying rounds for all of their friends.
If you are serious about saving up money for travel then take your full tax refund and put it directly into your new vacation fund. Depending on where you are traveling and how much of a refund you are receiving, that refund alone could pay for a substantial part of your upcoming vacation.
4. Wait An Extra Year For That New Car
This one may not actually apply to everyone. But if you currently own a car and have it completely paid off, or if you will have your car paid off in the very near future then I’m talking to you.
This is a problem that so many people have. You buy a new car (or at least new to you) and plan to make payments on it for 3, 4, or even 5 or more years. Every month you send that check in and are counting down the days until you can finally stop making car payments.
But by the time you own the car it’s not very new any more. Maybe you are sick of it, or it’s starting to make some weird noises. Maybe there’s a new model out that has really great features you can’t wait to have. A lot of people immediately go trade in their car for a new one and start the car payment cycle all over again.
So my advice? Hold off on buying a new car. The average monthly car payment for a new car is almost $500 a month!
If you want to save $6,000 for a trip for two to Hawaii you can save that in just 12 months by holding on to that car you already own. Of course, many US vacations would be a lot cheaper than a week in Hawaii. Think of how quickly you could save $2,000 or less.
Every month you hold on to a car you already own is a huge step forward to save up for a vacation.
5. Party At Home Or At A Friend’s House
Do you like to go out to bars on the weekends? How about a Thursday night happy hour? Sure it’s fun at the time, but scroll through some of your recent bank statements and add up how much you’ve spent in the last month alone.
No I’m not crazy enough to suggest that you stop drinking or stop hanging out with your friends. Instead I’m suggesting an alternative.
Let your friends know that you are saving up for a vacation. You may even inspire them to do the same. Together you can all decide to take turns hosting parties. It is much less expensive to buy a whole bottle of alcohol or a case of beer than it is to drink marked up beers and cocktails at a bar all night long.
If you already have plans to meet up with friends at a bar then think back to your college years and pre-game a little before going out. Have a couple of drinks at home while you are getting ready for the night. Then walk to the bar or call an uber to meet up with your friends.
Once you get to the bar order one drink to sip on throughout the night. As you watch your friends order expensive drinks all night long just think of your savings. The next morning put the money you saved into your vacation fund and smile at the thought of how quickly you’ll have enough money to take that trip.
Do you think you could implement these simple changes into your daily routine? What vacation are you currently saving up for? Don’t forget to check out more of our travel tips and our vacation ideas listed by state.