Summer vacations are a tradition stretching back before Clark Griswold and his family set out for Walley World in “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” Regardless of whether you are taking the family on a cruise or a roadtrip to see the nation’s largest ball of twine, all vacations have one thing in common: they cost money.
Money issues can ruin any attempt at getting away. If you’re bound and determined to make this year’s summer vacation go off without a hitch, you need two things: a savings strategy and a planning session.
The Saving Aspect
Depending on your vacation plans, you may need to save a little or save a lot. Either way, you most likely don’t have the cash on hand right now. Here are a few things to consider to help you save for your summer vacation:
- Evaluate your spending- take a look at your online banking account to see where you are spending the most money. Challenge yourself to spend less.
- Eating out- an easy way to save money is to just stop eating out so much. However, if you must, be smart about it: look for “kids eat free,” or buy one get one coupons
- Get rid of your stuff- we all have too much stuff, so why not see if you can’t make a little cash with it? Have a garage sale or put it on Craigslist.com
- “Do I REALLY need this?”- with every purchase at the grocery, clothing or electronics store, pause and ask yourself this question. You’ll be surprised at how often the answer is “no.”
- Skip the fancy coffee- it may be lower quality, but settle for the coffee brewed at your work. Going for the free coffee over the $4 stuff saves $20 a week!
- A Fiscal Fast- create a competition for your family to see who can use the least amount of money in a week, with the goal being to spend none. See who can go the lowest!
- Go Cash Only- make all your transactions in cash. Numerous studies have shown you spend a lot less when you actually see the money leaving your fingertips
The Planning Aspect: Being Prepared for Surprise Expenses
No vacation goes off without a hitch. Here are a few expenses you may not have thought about, but definitely need to plan for:
- Gratuities and tips
- Unplanned activities
Your summer vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Not being able to do everything you want because of budgetary or planning issues is something that can be avoided. Starting a savings plan now while recognizing potential pitfalls leads to a better experience for you and your family.
Happy vacation planning! Be sure to let us know how we can help, as well as when you’ll be gone and where you are going.
Putnam Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender