If you’re on a tight budget, a relaxing vacation probably seems out of reach. After all, how can you save for a vacation when you’re already stretching every dollar so thin? And even if you could, how can you enjoy yourself if you feel guilty about spending money on a trip?
Once you have a goal in mind, it’s time to start saving money. Here are some tips for how to come up with the extra cash you need to take a much-needed break.
Create or Adjust Your Budget
If you don’t have a budget already, now is the time to start. You can’t get a clear picture of where your money is going without one and you need to see where you can trim and save. If you have an existing budget, examine your expenses carefully to see if there’s anywhere you can cut back.
Planning ahead is really important because it might take some time to save enough. You might find some areas where you can save a little every month and think that it’s not enough. Don’t get discouraged if you’re only making small changes, they really do add up over time.
Reduce Weekly Spending
The best way to reduce weekly spending is by deciding what’s necessary and what isn’t. Do you really need a weekly manicure? A trip to the coffee shop every morning? How much is going out to lunch at work affecting your budget? Is your gym membership really worth it or can you work out at home?
Skip the $5 latte every morning before work and you save $25 a week. Cooking more veggie-heavy meals at home money from eating out and, if you make leftovers, you can even take them for lunch the next day. Consider getting rid of cable and signing up for a streaming service instead. There are a lot of things you can do to save money that really add up.
Use Cash instead of a Debit Card
This is an easy way to force yourself to stick to a budget. Take your weekly food and entertainment budget in cash and don’t carry your debit card with you. Use the cash to buy groceries for the week or your morning coffee. When the cash is gone, you’re out of money until next week. Since you don’t have your debit card, you can’t overspend by withdrawing more. You see right where you stand with your budget every time you look in the envelope.
Take Advantage of Automatic Deposits and Transfers
Set up a savings account for your vacation fund with an automatic transfer. Treat this as a bill that you have to pay every month. Start with what you can afford, no matter how small the amount, and increase it as you can.
Another thing you can do if your employer automatically deposits your paycheck is to split the deposit between multiple accounts. Have a small amount automatically put into your vacation fund every payday and it will grow, slowly but surely.
Get the Right Credit Card but Use It Wisely
By using a credit card that offers airline miles or other travel incentives, you can end up saving a lot of money on your trip. That said, it’s important to use any credit card responsibly. If you can help it, don’t charge more than you can pay off each month.
Find the Best Deals
Off-season rates can sometimes be up to 50 percent off regular prices so, if you’re willing to be flexible, you can save quite a bit of money. Sign up for email alerts for the places you’re most interested in visiting and take advantage of travel apps that can help you find amazing deals.
Take on a Side Hustle
Consider taking on a part-time job or side gig to make more cash. Maybe you have a special skill you can turn into extra income. Can you tutor? Babysit? Do you have time drive for a ride-sharing service in the evenings and on weekends? None of these things have to be permanent but bringing in extra money is a great way to beef up your vacation fund.
Sell Things You Don’t Use
Do you have a lot of stuff sitting around that you don’t use? There’s no better time to downsize than when you’re trying to save for a vacation. There are plenty of apps and websites where you can list things or take part in your neighborhood garage sale.
Take a Road Trip
Driving can be much less expensive than flying. Consider driving across the country and taking a tent instead of staying in a hotel. If you have friends in other states, ask if they’d be willing to let you crash at their place as you make your way to your destination.
Slow and Steady
It’s not always easy to save money for a vacation when you’re on a tight budget but it is possible. It may take some time but with a creative plan and some extra effort, you can have the vacation you deserve.