The sound of the waves crashing on the shore…a cold drink in hand…a beautiful sunset over the water…
Ahh yes…Summer is so close, you can practically taste it! But is your budget ready for summer vacation? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, summer travel may seem out of reach.
After a spendy Spring, I’ve been brainstorming ideas for how we can trim our expenses here and there. By reducing our spending now, we can really enjoy our planned summer trips over the next few months.
We’re headed down the shore next weekend to get the season started (please let it be sunny!), and we’ll be booking our tickets to Europe in the next week or so. Saving up for summer travel without touching our emergency fund is my number one priority.
Here are a few simple ways to save for summer travel that we’ll be using:
Start a Dedicated Savings Account
One of the easiest ways to start saving for a specific goal is by opening up a dedicated savings account. You simply set up automatic transfers from your checking account, taking away the effort of moving money around, and ensuring that money goes right into the fund from every paycheck.
If your budget is tight and you don’t have much wiggle room, set up a transfer for $10 or $20. It doesn’t sound like much, but it will add up over time! Set it, and forget it for a few months.
Personally, I like to use my PayPal account when I want to set money aside for something specific like travel, but there are many other options out there. If you have a checking account with a bank, you can usually open a savings account to go along with it. We have one of those also, and it’s how we fund our emergency savings.
Open a Rewards Credit Card
Have you heard of travel hacking? I mentioned a while back that travel hacking was something I start doing. We’re going to be buying plane tickets to Europe to visit family, and that isn’t cheap. However, I could easily hit the spending limit to get bonus miles on a Barclay card. Then I’ll put the rewards towards a trip next summer. Planning ahead!
If your credit score is good, you could give this option a try. Need to build credit? Here’s how to do it fast!
Cut Back on Spending
I know what you’re thinking- thank you, Captain Obvious. This one is a no-brainer: if you need to save money, try cutting your expenses where you can.
Cut back on things like ordering out, going to restaurants and spending on non-essentials. That’s the kind of spending that drives me nuts- seeing that we spent a little here, and a little there, on nothing worthwhile. Note to self: Stay away from the Dollar Tree!
I have a few gift cards sitting in my wallet for restaurants and movie tickets, so we’ll be using those for entertainment in the coming weeks. Want to find out how I earn gift cards quickly and easily? Read more here!
Plan Ahead, Be Flexible
Although we won’t be flying until September, my husband has been pricing airfare to Europe for weeks now, and he’s been finding some good deals. Luckily, we have some flexibility with our vacation dates, so we can pick the cheapest flights. If you can be flexible on things like arrival and departure dates, connections, and the airlines that you’ll fly, you open up a lot more options.
Waiting until the last minute for a cheap deal can backfire, because there could only be a few seats left on a flight. You can end up at the mercy of the travel gods and be forced to deal with long layovers, inconvenient connections, and higher prices. Not my idea of a vacation!
Another thing I did was purchase amusement tickets online for rides at the boardwalk in Ocean City. They ran a 1/2 price pre-season sale, and I was able to order them online and have them mailed to our home. We saved money, and now we won’t have to worry about spending that cash and paying full price once we arrive.
Fill a Change Jar
Sure, this probably won’t net you a ton of cash, but every little bit helps! We don’t spend cash very often, so it takes a while to fill a whole jar, but we just started on a second one.
I’m excited to take those coins that we’ve been tossing in for the last 10 months and see how much we’ve saved. I’ll cash them in before one of our beach trips, and then we’ll have a little extra fun money to play with.
Just toss those coins in a jar and forget about them until it fills up. Once you get ready to leave for your vacation, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how much extra spending cash you’ve collected over the year.
So, have any more tips to share on saving for summer travel? Planning any upcoming trips?