When money is tight and every grocery trip is a calculation, that's when you need your vacations the most. Vacations are a time to let go of the worries and stress of your every-day life and unwind. To do that, you need to stop worrying about spending. Whether you're planning a family road trip or a romantic getaway, it's essential that your restaurant stops and fun activities help you relax rather than leave you worried about the bill.
You need a little room to splurge on vacation, worry-free, even if the rest of your life is on a budget. The best way to splurge safely on your next vacation is to plan ahead and use these five fun tricks to save up for some wiggle room in your vacation budget.
1) Create a Tally of Saved-Up Treats
When you're planning to go on vacation, it's actually easier to save because you know that there are good things on the way. You can skip dessert at lunch because there will be delectable chocolate cake at the hotel. You can put off that fancy morning coffee because you'll be sipping luxury every vacation morning. But you'll never really notice the difference in your budget (and the happiness it brings) unless you keep notes.
So create a tally chart of every treat you put off to enjoy even more on your vacation. This can be a simple piece of paper or spreadsheet with tally marks, or you can design a decorative sticker chart for the whole family to share.
Every time you put off something good to save money for the vacation, make a tally or stick up a sticker on the chart. It may also help to keep a detailed record of how much you're not spending so that you can be sure to spend it on vacation instead!
2) Saving Up Your Restaurant Trips
Restaurants have a way of improving your enjoyment of life. But why go to your same three favorite places this month when you can save up for luxurious meals in exotic new places on your vacation instead?
Every time you don't go to a restaurant or go out for fast-food when you really want to this month, make a tally mark. Putting off a restaurant trip to make something at home instead is a huge budget saver, especially if you're dining as a couple or group. Every restaurant trip you don't go on can save you $20 to $100, a considerable addition to your vacation fund.
If you love to dine out, save up for when you can explore the excitement and luxury of trying new restaurants on vacation. If you save up enough trips, you can explore a new lunch or dinner place every single day and order room service on a whim.
3) Put Off New Purchases Until After Your Vacation
There are household supplies and personal items you want to buy right now. It feels like there's room in the budget and these things may eventually be necessary. But they can wait.
Whenever you're thinking about buying a new item for yourself or the home, stop and think. Use the classic budget trick of putting off the purchase for a day, a week, or a month. Only this time, put it off until after your vacation. Delaying purchases can make sure there's plenty of wiggle room, emergency funds, or vacation opportunity budget for your time away from home.
And for personal impulse buys, promise yourself treats on vacation as a reward for putting off treats right now. It will be worth it.
4) Set a Save-Up Budget for Special Vacation Extras
If there's something big you really want to do, save up for it. Whether you've always wanted to windsurf, swim with dolphins, or get a theme park weekend pass, you can make them a part of your vacation. You just have to save up.
Get accurate estimated prices for each desired vacation extra, using your planned travel dates. Then start your fundraising goal. Save up pocket change, tally up unspent restaurant trips, sell handicrafts; whatever you can do to save up for your goals. And when you reach them, reward yourself by exploring a dream vacation experience knowing that you earned it through hard work and careful planning.
5) Get the Whole Family Excited About Save-Splurging
Finally, get your whole household involved in the idea of saving up to splurge. If there's something your kids really want on vacation, get them excited about saving and fundraising to earn it. If you want to try something special with a spouse, save up together so you can share the experience. When the whole family is involved, and you keep track of the money you don't spend, you'll be amazed at how much can be budgeted to splurge on your vacation.
Vacation splurging is a part of being able to relax and have fun. And with the right attitude about savings before the big trip, you can make a lot of room to comfortably spend on what you really want to do.