One of the ways I keep my life in balance is by making a point to travel somewhere exciting at least once a year. Doing research on a destination and trip planning gives me something to look forward to and keeps me motivated for weeks. I’m an adventurer and that’s a need in me that must be filled to keep me balanced.
But I’ll be honest. I’m really bad about saving money for vacation so it’s usually a lot of last-minute scrambling and post-trip credit card blues. I’m determined to save ahead for this next trip, by making a few small sacrifices, so I can avoid the buyer’s remorse of booking a big trip.
Here are some ideas on saving money for a dream vacation:
Two essentials you’ll need to inspire your savings campaign: a photo of your dream destination and a secure dream trip jar to stash your cash (and by secure, I mean one you can’t open in a moment of desperation because you need a manicure). Download a photo of your dream destination onto your phone. When you’re about to make that impulse purchase – whether it’s a book, a tchotchke, or jewelry – take out your phone, lust after that photo and pocket that amount of money for your dream trip jar.
- You know those impulse purchase tops hanging in the back of your closet that haven’t been touched in months? Or those “I’ll fit into these again someday” jeans? Take them to your local consignment store and cash in. Clean out your closet and pull out anything you haven’t worn in the past year that is in good condition and head over to the resale shop. Set those earnings aside in your dream trip jar.
- Open a new savings account (make sure there are no service fees) and set a goal to add $10 per week to the account. We can all spare $10 a week and you’ll be surprised how quickly it will grow. At the end of the year, that’s $520 towards your dream trip.
- While you’re standing in line waiting for that venti-soy-no-whip-double-shot-latte, pocket that $5 and add it to your jar when you get home. Some caffeine junkies spend upwards of $100 per month on those couture coffee drinks. Just pull up a picture of that dream destination and that craving will go away.
- You’ll be amazed how many unused things around your house have value. From selling those old pictures and lamps in the attic on Craigslist to selling used books on Amazon, you can easily add $50 to your dream trip jar each month. De-clutter for that de-stress vacation.
- Give up one self-indulgent service for one month. Chances are, you won’t even miss it. Do you have a housecleaning service? Skip one visit every other month and pocket that savings? Can you stretch out your hair highlights an extra two weeks? Most of us get our hair touched up every six weeks at roughly $100 a pop. Spread that out to every eight weeks and you’ll save up to $300 a year. Funny personal story: I love to enjoy a glass, or two, every night with my husband. That’s almost a bottle a day. My husband, the accountant, calculated it out and figured we could save almost $500 a year by drinking boxed wine. While it’s not our wine for special dinners or occasions, we do mix it in periodically to save some cash.
- Just Google it and you’ll find that planning out your meals for the week can save you hundreds of dollars throughout the year. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll try it for one month. Chances are, you’ll be adding up to $100 to that dream trip jar in just one month, that it will become a habit that will stick.
- Stop watching so much TV! Let’s be honest. The cable companies and Hollywood are in cahoots. They suck us into these series on premium channels that cost upwards of $10 per month added on to your cable bill. Ditch those premium channels and start watching series that offered for free online. Many networks now offer shows a week after they air for free on the Internet. This is my workout motivation. I’m only allowed to watch my shows while I’m on the treadmill or elliptical. It keeps me motivated and off the couch!
I bet you can find even more ways to save for your dream vacation. Clip coupons, write for a local blog or magazine, go au naturale with your hair and nails for a month. Think of ways to save or collect money in $50 increments that can be added to your dream trip jar. In no time, you’ll be laying on the sunny beach drinking a cocktail, or maybe enjoying a historical walking tour in a new unexplored city.