Top Budgeting Tips for Big Travel Goals

Christian Travel

If you’re like most people, the one thing you feel holding you back from your dream destination is not having enough money. Most of us don’t have extra cash lying around, and any excess we do have is quickly consumed by more immediate needs. The thought of enacting a long-term savings plan to achieve your travel dreams sounds about as enticing as joining a weight loss program. But sometimes, a few easy changes are the key to experiencing that long-awaited dream vacation!

Anyone (on any budget) can save up for just about any vacation. The only question is how long the savings plan needs to last. 9 months? 12 months? 18 months? Some may have to save longer than others, but we can all get there. It just takes a paradigm shift out of a consumer culture that wants us to spend, spend, spend instead of save, save, save. In our instant gratification society, the idea of denying ourselves now for a greater payoff down the road is something that doesn’t readily occur to us. However, those who take a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach find that saving money for a specific purpose is a rewarding and surprisingly fun process that makes the end goal even more fulfilling. Here’s how:

The fun and easy way to achieve your travel dreams: 

1. Bank on it First off, you’ll want to start a vacation fund as a separate bank account so you’re less likely to touch the money. Set up an automatic deduction so that each time you get paid, a certain amount goes into this fund without your even thinking about it. Chances are, you won’t even miss it. Bonus tip: Remember, Income – savings = expenses Most people get paid and immediately start spending. Some of this is necessary (mortgage, utilities, etc), but many of us just continue to spend until it’s gone. Instead, move a predetermined amount into your separate account each pay day, and then pay your expenses.

2. T.ogether E.veryone A.chieves M.ore Next, let all your friends and family in on the fun by informing them of your travel plans. Consider keeping them updated with an e-newsletter They’ll be sure to help you out with pointers. You may even ask if they have the odd job you could help out with to supplement your fund. You might even inspire a few of them to join you, which would not only enhance your travel experience, but add synergy to your savings plan. Bonus tip: If you’re traveling with others, help keep each other accountable and encouraged. Have in-home dates to save money. Make dinner and rent a movie from the library, and put the money you saved into your travel fund. Spend the evening talking about all the adventures you’re planning to have.

3. Yard Sale! Getting rid of unneeded items is a great way to de-clutter and replenish your reserves. Selling your old clothes on consignment or going in on a multi-family yard sale in which you clear out everything from knick-knacks to excess furniture, is a great way to generate some extra cash. {But remember: the money goes in your travel savings account—not back to the mall for more junk!}

4. Coffee-free The average $20 that Americans spend at coffee shops each week adds up faster than you’d think…it totals more than $1,000 per person a year! Many attest to feeling better overall by cutting caffeine out of their diet. But if you’re not ready to take the plunge, save money by making your own fresh-brewed coffee at home and taking it with you in a favorite travel mug. Bonus tip: Have a mug custom-printed with a photo of the destination you’re planning to visit—to remind yourself of your ultimate goal.

5. Trimming the fat Take a look at your budget and cut expenses wherever possible. Tracking your expenses is key to getting a handle on any budget. Once you figure out where your money is going, you’ll discover areas in which you can scale back. Have a gym membership or other subscriptions that aren’t being used? Cancel those accounts and deposit the savings.

6. Surprise, Surprise Add any “surprise” money into your vacation account. Whether it’s a tax refund, a bonus at work, birthday money or even $10 you find in an old coat—if it’s not part of your regular budget, put it away before you spend it on anything else.

7. Keep the change! Set out a glass jar for loose change and bills. Get into the habit of regularly emptying unspent cash from your wallet into it at the end of the week. When you want to stop for takeout on the way home but instead discipline yourself to cook what’s already in your fridge, slip that saved $20 bill into your jar as a pat on the back. Bonus tip: Be sure to deposit it into your travel savings account regularly so you don’t get tempted to dip in!

8. Trade-sies! Do you have two toasters, but need a blender? Ask your support team if anyone can do a trade. You both get what you need and no one has to dip into his wallet. Bonus tip: Have you had clothes in your closet for ages that still have the tags on? If you know you’ll never wear them, take them back and ask for store credit. Even if you don’t get reimbursed the full amount, trading them in for clothing you do need (like a new pair of Bermuda shorts for your trip!) is a sweet deal.

9. In-house makeover If you enjoy special treatments (like manicures or facials) you know how draining they can be on your pocketbook. But there is a way of looking your best and having a relaxing appointment to look forward to without shelling out big bucks. Buy your own materials and enlist a friend who has an a eye for aesthetics to come over. She’d be happy receiving a mere fraction of what a salon would charge. Or, if you do each others’ nails, you’re still in the green!

“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.”
―Paulo Coelho

It can be tempting to dip into your travel fund for other expenses, but we want to encourage you to stay focused. So many of our passengers who have saved long-term to go on a trip-of-a-lifetime testify again and again that it is well worth the wait! It may take time, but a spiritually and physically refreshing vacation that will create lifelong memories is within your reach. Where do you want to be 18 months from now?

 

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