Nine neat ways to save money to put toward your vacation fund
1. Save the Price of Your Latte or Muffin
Save some coins (especially loonies and toonies); give up a daily latte or muffin, or buy coffee only a couple times a week (instead of daily), and pretend you actually spent at the higher level. Putting these coins in a jar or piggy bank really can add up after several months. Roll 'em up and put them toward your vacation spending money. Or simply save your change from a couple of small transactions through the week; just be sure it doesn’t lead to you withdrawing more cash and blowing your weekly spending budget.
2. Save the Price of Your Lunch
Set aside $5 and $10 bills (or even $20!) in an envelope when you bring your lunch instead of buying it. Bank it when it builds up a bit. This can help bring down the cost of your vacation and you will have the added bonus of healthier eating. Often when we go out for work lunches, we don’t enjoy the fast food options all that much, especially if it’s a costly weekly pattern. Plan some simple and satisfying options from home and save.
3. Bank the "Itemized Savings" on Your Grocery or Drug Bill
Note the itemized savings on your grocery or drug store bill and transfer the amount to your vacation fund savings account. This amount can be significant. Sometimes we buy things because they are on sale so that we can keep costs down. But if you can afford it from every receipt, add the amount up weekly—it’s a great way to build up vacation cash. Even if you can only do this occasionally, it’s a good incentive to look for more sales! Just don’t buy too much, and don't buy an item only because it’s on sale (especially in multiples).
4. Break Out of Your Local Dining Routine
Think about how often you need to eat at your local chain restaurant. Is it really worth it? While it is nice to get out and socialize locally, going to the same place over and over and ordering too much food and drink is an expense that can really cut into your disposable income. Perhaps an excellent meal on your next vacation would be a good trade-off? Another option is to go out for a drink and split an appetizer (rather than ordering a full dinner) when meeting up with a friend a little later in the evening. Or just have them over and enjoy some low-cost social time at home.
5. Pick Entertainment Options Near Home
There are so many things to do in our cities or nearby, such as concerts, sporting events and movies. While going out and enjoying nights out can be fun and cheaper than travel, consider giving some activities up and put the money towards a bigger travel goal. Going to big name concerts in your closest major city can really be exciting, but it can be a hassle too, and a high-cost one depending on the artist. Live sporting events can be fantastic, but it can also be fun to go watch a big game on the big screen at your local sports bar. Try and balance the spending and put some cash saved towards a vacation.
6. Simplify Your Wardrobe
Many of us love shopping for clothes, but try shopping less often. Even inexpensive clothes purchased too often can add up significantly. Shop your closet, and wear things more often for a while. Wait until you really love an item or really need it before you shop. This will make it easier to come up with a budget for a trip!
7. Find Buried Treasure at Home
Get your space organized and clean before you shop. It will help you realize you have more stuff than you think, give you a refreshed appreciation for your home, and help you hold off on buying more décor or organizational items that you may not need just yet, or at all. It is also a good way to keep busy and distract yourself from going out and mindlessly spending money.
8. Do Free Things
Take advantage of free things to do in your community and at home. Go for a walk in your favorite city park, hike on a local trail instead of shopping at the mall. Participate in a book club at your neighborhood library. Spend some time window shopping rather than spending. Relax on your patio or in your backyard. Take things back to basics, and add up the savings and plan your getaway!
9. Be Flexible When Planning Your Trip
Be aware of costs when booking your travel dates and activities. When you have a travel goal in mind, take into account the big picture such as how long you will be there, how much spending money you realistically need, which activities are actually must-see, and which you can bypass. This can lower costs. Take advantage of the free things to do in the city or resort. Don’t be so caught up in a trip that you end up going at any cost; often just adjusting your travel date by a couple of days or a week can save you significant money.
Sometimes adjusting our spending habits and getting creative can help us achieve our travel goals. Enjoy the journey!
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© 2019 Nella DiCarlo