The season for travel is here! Vacation and travel can be expensive, but if you plan accordingly and put some money saving strategies in place, you’ll be on a plane before you know it. Here’s some tips and tricks to get you started.
Set a budget
Obviously, the best first step towards buying or attaining anything big (like a vacation) is setting a budget. You may think it’s too late in the game, but it’s not. Budgeting is always a good idea and it’s a habit you’ll want to keep up long after your tan lines have faded. Figure out exactly how much you’ll need for airfare, hotels and transportation, as well as any spending money you’ll need, and then set up a budget that’ll allow you to set a certain amount of money aside.
This is also the time when you want to reevaluate all those subscriptions you may or may not even be using. Consider cancelling Netflix, HBO or that meditation app you haven’t touched in months. Extra dollars add up fast! Even if it in the end it’s less than $100, that could equal a really nice dinner or tickets to a show while you’re globetrotting.
You never know… you may actually have a rich uncle out there who’s bequeathed you a millionaire dollar inheritance. Or perhaps your insurance company owes you money! The U.S. government has a webpage dedicated to unclaimed money and/or property. All you have to do is go to www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money and type in either your name or social security number to see if there’s any money out there for you to collect, and boom — vacation paid for!
If you haven’t done this already, there’s no time like the present. Make sure you automate all your bills: credit cards, electric, internet, school loans — everything. There’s lots of online tools and apps that can help you set reminders, and most banks offer automatic scheduling, recurring payments and even external bill pay options. Automation keeps your to-do list lean, while also saving any money lost due to overdue payment. You’d be surprised how much extra you can put aside when you’re not racking up unnecessary charges.
File on time!
Tax money is one of the best ways to take advantage of all that extra you pay out all year long and do something fun with it…like that European cruise you’ve always dreamed about. That’s why it’s important that you file your taxes on time! If you feel overwhelmed, you can get support from a local accountant or financial advisors, or even go online and get tax help from Community Tax — a full-service company dedicated to assisting taxpayers nationwide. You can chat with a representative immediately and get set up with a consultation so you can access to those refunds faster!
Set savings goals
Whether it’s for vacation, a new pair of shoes, or retirement, savings goals are crucial to getting you where you want to be. Once you’ve figured out how much money you need to enjoy your vacation the way you want to enjoy it, be it lux 5-star hotels or a week-long backpacking trip, write down your total savings goal. Then figure out how much time you have to save before you plan to leave on your trip. Got that down? Awesome. Now it’s time to break it into smaller goals, be it monthly, weekly or even daily. Whatever the breakdown equals, you should be putting that amount of money towards your total goal in consistent increments. Get smart with your other purchases, too. Instead of that daily coffee run, put whatever you’d typically spend on a cup of Joe towards your savings goal.
Become a credit wizard
Once you get a handle on your budgeting, you can approach your credit card use in a whole new way. Sign up for a credit card that offers travel points and rewards. Then, instead of using your debit card, start swiping your travel credit card instead. Usually travel rewards cards earn you points every time you use the card, and will even double down for certain types of purchases, like gas or groceries. Some of them even off sign up bonuses if you spend a certain dollar amount within six months. Each month pay it off in full and watch the points stack up! These points can be traded for hotel dollars and even air miles. But the trick is you have to stick to your budget!