Are You Looking for Great Ways to Save Money for Travel?
Did you know that the number one reason employees don’t take vacation is because they have not saved money to do so? Hard to believe, right? Even if you are a saver there are always tips and tricks you can learn to save even more and travel quicker. Saving can be simple. Take the time to review your monthly expenses, eliminate unnecessary spend, build a reasonable budget, and make a concerted effort to stick to it.
If you aren’t skilled at saving money, there are resources available to help. Start with your employer. Ask if they offer any financial education or have financial advisors you can connect with to build a plan. If this service is not offered as a free-standing benefit, some support may be available through your 401(k) or the company Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
If your employer doesn’t offer any type of financial support programs, you can always connect with Money Management International (MMI). MMI is non-profit financial, government-backed organization that helps individuals achieve financial independence. They offer a variety of resources including free debt counseling services, free financial education, and online debt relief.
The first step to a debt-free vacation is setting your goal. Where do you want to travel to? When do you want to go? The best chance you have to save successfully is to decide on your reward. While you are planning, start saving a portion of your income every paycheck through a Vacation Funding Account (VFA). From there, it’s just a matter of time before your packing your bags and away you go.
A quick and easy way to save some money is to eliminate unnecessary spend from your budget each month. Each time you find a way to save put the money into your VFA so you can watch it grow.
Here are some tips and tricks of where to look for those extra dollars…
Consider Reducing your utilities
With Netflix and Firesticks now available you can get almost every channel possible and live TV. There is no longer a need for expensive cable. If you love TV shows and movies invest in a cheap streaming service and kick cable to the curb. This can save you hundreds of dollars each month.
Consider quitting an expensive habit like smoking
Did you know the average national cost of cigarettes at $6.28 per pack, that is almost $2,300 a year – that’s one nice annual vacation that’s going up in smoke! And if you are like most people, you just don’t pick up cigarettes in that convenience store, so that’s a more like $10 a day or $3,650 a year. Quitting smoking is hard, but help is available. Almost all health insurance companies provide free tobacco cessation classes. If your insurance plan doesn’t offer it, the Center for Disease Control sponsors the National and State Tobacco Control Program which offers free tobacco cessation resources including nicotine replacement therapy for free in many states.
Consider eliminating unnecessary subscription services
Everyone has them, that account you signed up for years ago, and it’s on autopay. Go through your credit card statements and cancel any of those subscriptions you no longer need. Haven’t been to the gym in two years? Maybe you might enjoy an exercise activity that is free. Are you throwing away half the food from that food delivery service you thought was going to make your life easier, maybe you should consider cancelling that one too.
Make smart meal choices
Especially if you are a super busy person, it’s easy to get caught up in the “dining-out-three-nights-a-week” lifestyle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the average consumer unit spent $3,459 in 2018 on food away from the home”. Many of these meals are fast-food. With the average fast-food meal costing around $10 per person, just one less trip to McDonalds a week you can save over $2,000 a year for a family of four. Instead, put a cooler in your trunk and fill it with snacks, sandwiches, and drinks – this will save you time between school and sports events, and save you money. This all starts with planning though. Creating a shopping list and sticking to it will help ensure you have a variety of healthy snacks for the kids and for yourself which will reduce your spontaneous purchases (do you really need those donuts or that candy bar?) and reduce the number of times you feel pressured to quickly feed your family through the drive through. It takes a little time and effort, but you and your families travel plans are worth it.
Consider cutting out Fancy lattes
Those fancy lattes and coffees are about a $5 investment every day. That’s over $1,800 each year. Even if you are a coffee aficionado, you can recreate your favorite drinks by purchasing higher end coffee beans and expresso machine or coffee maker. A quality coffee machine costs about $250 and super high-end expresso machines can run you upwards of $800 (a quality one will cost you about $200-$300). If you are less picky about your coffees flavor and it’s more about the convenience of having your coffee made for you on the go, Panera Bread has the Unlimited Sip Club where you can get unlimited drinks (coffee, tea, charged lemonade and fountain beverages) for $10.99/month. Just make sure you are going to use the service every day to make the cost worth your while. If not, remember to cancel the subscription.
In the end, saving for vacation is a meaningful investment of your time and money. And saving money through a VFA makes it easy and convenient for you. Through 401(play)’s VFA there is the added benefit of the discounts and cash back on the trips you book and excursions you take.
Remember that the physical and mental health benefits you receive from vacation outweigh the sacrifice you’ll make during the year saving for your time away. Keep a log of every time you decide to not make an unnecessary purchase. Then anytime that you feel like you are sacrificing your daily life for your dream trip look at your log to see how much you have saved and take 15 minutes to dream about you enjoying your time away.