When it comes to taking a vacation, the real question isn’t so much where you’re going to go, but rather how you’re going to pay for the trip itself.
Vacations are unique when it comes to money simply because two schools of thoughts often predicate the decision making process of whether to stay or go.
Individual and families alike either have the money saved to go on vacation or they max out credit cards or borrow money, two unenviable routes to take, in order to take a vacation that, while much needed, are financially irresponsible.
The idea of taking a vacation that you can’t afford is only going to add to the plight of not only being able to save money but falling further into debt because they justify the stress release and sunshine as being more than acceptable for spending money they don’t have.
So with that, the best and really only option is saving for vacation the same way you’d save up to put a down payment on a house, car or anything that causes you to take the income you have and, most importantly, your money: work hard at budgeting properly.
Saving for a vacation could mean that you simply go without the normal things you have and typically afford or put into your budget. If the average vacation costs about $1,000, you could argue that at the end of August or early September, you could go six months without cable television at $200 per month. That $1,200 more than pays for that average priced vacation spot. Bartering with your budget often goes a long way with not only saving in general but also being able to put money aside for a vacation or anything really, such as starting school or buying a second vehicle.
Some individuals use extra income for vacations, such as a tax return or a bonus, rather than dip into their savings account or use credit cards. The really smart money savers know as well that they’re not going to spend their entire bonus on a trip and that the majority of that money, for example, is going back into their savings account so they can build up that emergency fund.
Finally, think about that credit card balance you already have and see if you can cash in any points or rewards so that you can save on travel. If your credit card overall is a dud with no real benefits, change it. Balance transfer to something with not only a lower rate but reason to believe that traveling isn’t going to cost a full priced arm and leg.
Who doesn’t want a vacation? Of course you do. But in wanting one, you have to make sure you’ve taken the steps to afford it on your terms, meaning that money spent is money earned, not borrowed.
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