So you’ve got a fantasy vacation in mind? The perfect spot during the perfect time of year that just happens to coincide with time off from work. Everything is perfect, in fact, about this vacation. With one exception.
You’ve got enough to pay for the vacation, but you are still a little shy of the budgeted amount needed to make that a true fantasy trip.
If you want to make that great vacation take the leap to a fantasy vacation, then what you really need to start doing—today, right this minute—is embark upon a plan for saving. This is especially true if you don’t foresee any immediate possibility to increase your income. The less potential you have increasing revenue between now and that vacation, the more vital it becomes to start finding ways to cut back on what is going out so that it transform into the power of revenue.
1. Whole Foods
Does your family eat a lot of chicken? Boneless chicken strips? Chicken legs? Chicken breasts? Thighs and wings? Do you buy those parts separately? Then you are wasting valuable money you could be saving to put toward your dream vacation. Buying a whole chicken and then cutting into parts or just roasting the whole thing can potentially save you anywhere from two to ten dollars per meal. If your family eats a lot of chicken, multiply that saving over the time between now and your vacation plans. The math does itself. All you need to do is put in a little more work in the kitchen. The same goes for buying pre-cut vegetables, pre-made salads and any other foods where the parts are more per pound than the whole.
2. Cut the Cord
Here’s some more math: divide how much your cable subscription costs by how many channels you actually watch. The result will be shocking. This you can trust. Most of the shows that you really, really want to watch are available either by over the air free TV or through streaming channels. If you are paying over $80 a month for cable and you cut the cable and stick the difference into a vacation savings account, in six months you will have added at least an additional $240 to your vacation kitty likely far more. And the best part is that you probably won’t spend a single day wishing you still have cable in order to order watch something.
3. Apply for Cash Back Credit Cards
If you are know you are going to be paying for things with a credit card anyway, ditch any of them that don’t offer cash back on purchases. The higher the cash back amount, the bigger the bonus at the end of the month. Depending on how you spend (and, for goodness sake, at least try not to spend more than you can pay off each month) each month, the cash back bonus can be a nice little addition to the vacation budget. Just as long as you make sure that you actually take that money out of your regular account and transfer it into the DON’T TOUCH fantasy vacation savings account.
5. Alcohol and Appetizers
Here is a quick way for some people to add potentially a couple of hundred dollars a month to their dream vacation budget. When you go to the restaurant, don’t order alcoholic drinks and forget the appetizers. Those two features of most modern restaurants can end up piling on as much as 35% to a bill that only features entrees and non-alcoholic beverages. Of course, if you drink A LOT, the savings could be even more significant. If alcohol is adding more than 35% to your restaurant bill, however, you may want to look into cutting back on drinking period. Give it a year and your dream vacation could be stretched out to two weeks rather than one or a penthouse room rather than a mere suite.
6. Buy Your Vacation Items on the Cheap
You already know where your fantasy vacation is going to take you. If the mountains, you’ll need warm clothing and maybe skiing equipment. If the beach, swimsuits and beach equipment. The more exotic the location of your dream vacation, the more likely you will find incredible bargains on the stuff you need at local thrift shops. Why? What, did you think you were the first person from the Pacific Northwest to plan a trip to Hawaii…or vice versa? Once people get back from that sort of vacation, they realize they are bringing back with them items they will likely not use again any time soon or, indeed, ever. So what do they do? They try to get rid of it. Yard sales, garage sales and even online auctions. Where a lot of that stuff actually winds up is not inside the home of someone going on the same vacation, but inside local thrift stores or flea markets. Where some very lightly used vacation items are just waiting to be bought at well under half what the same things would cost brand new. Thus allowing you to take the money you save on that difference and spend it on enjoying things you bring back from your dream vacation without the intent to sell.