You’ve worked hard in the office the last few months, and now you can’t stand being there. If this sounds like you, it might be time for a vacation! Of course, dreaming about being on a beach somewhere doesn’t mean you have the money to actually do it.
But if you look at one more spreadsheet or have to deal with another angry client, you’re going to burst! So guess what, it’s time to save. Here are a few strategies for actually getting the money you need to take a well-deserved vacation:
Try Pantry Week
Pantry week is where you don’t grocery shop or eat out for a full seven days. Instead, you live off what’s in your pantry. From canned veggies to peanut butter and jelly, you’d be surprised how much food you have stored in your pantry.
By eating only these things for a week, you’ll save money you’d otherwise spend on fresh groceries or dining out. Set the savings aside for your vacation.
Use A Rewards Card
Many people are scared of using a credit card for fear they’ll waste money on interest. However, if you pay your bill in full every month, you won’t spend any extra. Budget your credit card spending as you would a debit card, and only use money you actually have.
The benefit? Many credit cards have rewards points you can earn from using them. For instance, you might get 5% of what you spend back when you shop at certain stores. Right before your vacation, cash your rewards points and use the money on your trip. Rewards points are basically free money– as long as you don’t spend more than you planned and pay your bill in full.
Sell Old Items
If you have furniture, clothing, or technology you no longer use, don’t just throw it out– sell it! You can hold a yard sale to make a little cash off the things you don’t need anyway. Or, sell your clothing to resale shops that turn a profit, like Plato’s Closet. You won’t get much off these items, but every penny helps.
For furniture, consider selling through a consignment shop. The store will take a cut of the sale, but you’ll have money in your pockets and more space at home. eBay is also an option if you’re tech-savvy.
Plan Savings Into Your Budget
The most reliable way to save money is to plan for it. Calculate how much you can afford to save each month, and make saving part of your required payments, like you would with rent or bills. That way, you pay yourself immediately when your check comes.
Additionally, calculate how much you want to save for your vacation and how long you have to do it. Then, divide the time before your trip by the amount you’ll need to determine how much you should save monthly. Reduce your spending to make more room in the budget to save.
Separate Vacation Money
Get a separate savings account for your vacation money so you won’t be tempted to use the cash to buy something else. You can even set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your vacation account to make gathering the funds you need completely automatic.
Hold the Change
Whenever you use cash, toss your change in a jar at home. Before you head off to Aruba, or whatever location you choose, take the change to the bank and convert it to cash. While this method won’t pay for your whole trip, it can certainly add some spending money to the funds you’ve already saved– it might mean another meal or activity while you’re away.
Get everyone going on the trip involved in saving change to maximize your vacation potential.
Find Cost-Cutting Solutions
Thin your budget in the months before vacation by finding creative solutions to the things you purchase. For instance, head to the local library to pick up books, CDs and DVDs. If you rent movies regularly, this can save you tons over the course of the year!
Additionally, offer services instead of buying gifts. You can clean your friend’s apartment or offer to babysit as a birthday present. If you’re a great cook, cater a party instead of bringing liquor. There are tons of ways you can please your loved ones without spending money– time is valuable, after all.
Instead of ordering magazines or subscribing to cable, switch to cheaper services like online subscriptions. Print and mail-order services are always more expensive than checking out news online or watching streamed video.
Altering your budget and finding ways to save money can help you accumulate enough funds to take the vacation you need. No more dreaming about getting away during meetings– actually jet set with these tips!