With summer merely weeks away, and Memorial Day weekend in just over one week, it’s the time of year when our thoughts turn to vacation and travel plans!
If you’re planning some sort of trip this summer, have you put together a plan for it yet? Have you budgeted for the expenses, or will it all go onto a credit card? While traveling and seeing new parts of the country/world is exhilarating, the feeling when you get home and open up that first credit card statement afterwards can be…deflating. Paying for that trip long after you’re home is downright depressing!
While you may be short on time to put together a solid plan for this summer’s travel plans, there are still some actions you can take today to lessen the impact of the trip to your monthly budget. (WHAT? YOU’RE NOT BUDGETING YET?? Get on that TODAY!!). First, if you haven’t already, try to map out all of the expenses involved in your trip — airfare or gas, car rental, hotel/AirBnB expenses, food, entertainment/excursions, Uber, etc. Build in a bit of a cushion, just in case you go over budget on things like food or souvenirs. Once you’ve got a total, if the trip is still a month or two out, you can break the total over the months until your trip to coming up with a monthly savings goals to work into your budget.
If you can’t work the total amount, either monthly or overall, into your budget between now and your trip, it’s time to get creative. Try to increase your income/cash between now and then. Can you work overtime at your job? Just a few extra hours a week may go a long way into allowing you to pay for the trip up front. Got some unused items around your house that you might be able to sell on craigslist or OfferUp? Snap a pic, write a description, and get it posted!
If you have kids, get them in on the fun as well! Since you definitely won’t be the only person or family traveling this summer, see if your neighbors and friends may need a dogsitter or someone to collect their mail. Little tasks like these are great for older kids, and you can show them how to save for their spending money on the trip! When I was growing up, my sister and I always took care of our neighbor’s dog whenever they were out of town, and it was a fairly easy task (except for when the poor pup got sick in the house!) that earned us some good summer fun money.
Small changes like the ones listed here can make a huge impact on how much of your vacation costs end up following you home afterwards. Going forward, the goal is always to save a little bit each month, throughout the year, so that when the time comes, your vacation fund is at the ready. This concept, also known as a “sinking fund” can also be applied to other infrequent but concrete costs that pop up during the year, such as insurance and taxes, the purchase of a new car, and home improvements.
Need help getting started with budgets and sinking funds? Get on my schedule today, and I will show you how!