Summer Vacation 2023: Start saving money now!
For folks in the Northern Hemisphere, even though it may not feel like it, summer is just around the corner. What’s more, given that people have had fewer opportunities to take summer vacations since 2020, the urge to get on the road and explore is greater than ever. However, whether you’re planning to go camping, take a road trip, or fly off to a tropical resort spot, travel ain’t free! That means it’s time to start pinching pennies, so to speak.
Once you’ve set your travel budget, here are some tried and true methods for ensuring you can save up the bucks you’ll need to make some sweet summer memories:
Switch to cash-only transactions
If you’re a fan of swiping at checkout, shopping online, or using on-demand delivery, you’re going to hate this, but it works! Even back before payment apps arrived on the scene, MIT Sloan Professor Drazen Prelec explained it this way: non-cash payments like credit cards and debit cards separate the joy of buying from the pain of actually paying. In other words, when you actually have to fork over cash for your purchase, the expense feels more real, and you’re far less likely to overspend.
Here’s another thing to consider. If you’re relying on restaurant and grocery deliveries and on-demand rides through apps, that fact that those payments are digital makes it way too easy to ignore the taxes, fees, and tips you’re shelling out with every purchase. Not convinced? Look through your receipts for app-based purchases for the past month, and add up those extra fees. Then imagine how you could have used that total for your next vacation. Ouch, right? So get your hands on some old-fashioned cash, and start being more conscientious about where your money is going.
Sell your stuff and don’t buy more!
You’re going to be glad you did this, not just because of the money you can set aside for vacation, but also because decluttering your living space feels GOOD. There are loads of methods to sell your stuff these days, whether it’s via Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, or the classic eBay. If you live in a rural or suburban area, you can also consider a yard sale, though these are often more a decluttering exercise than a pathway to big bucks. No matter which method you use, be sure to follow the latest advice for staying safe and avoiding fraud.
If you find yourself in need of an item that you really MUST have, avoid the temptation to buy it immediately. In particular, if the item is a new want, give yourself a “time out” of, say, two weeks. After two weeks, if you still actually want the thing, challenge yourself to find it at the absolutely cheapest price possible — starting with FREE. “But nothing in life is free!” you may argue. On the contrary, as long as you’re satisfied with gently used items and can get around your city or town to pick things up, you’ll discover some amazing finds in Facebook groups dedicated to giving stuff away for free. Ask around in your community, or search for the name of your town and the words “free” or “freebie,” and browse these groups every single time you have the urge to shop in the future.
Make some entertainment subscription sacrifices
Remember the part about cutting digital transactions? Don’t forget to include web-based subscriptions in your financial housekeeping. Do you know how much you currently pay each month to recurring subscriptions like Netflix, YouTube Premium, or Patreon? Chances are that you’re vastly underestimating how much these subscriptions take out of your pocket. Seriously, a 2022 study found that people were paying, on average, 2.5 times more than they thought! It may be a pain to go through and cull your subscriptions of the ones you’re not using that much, but doing so for a few months could save you enough for an extra hotel night or a concert ticket during your next vacay. Besides, those series and films will still be there for you in the winter months if you really miss them.
Keep track of your money
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention one of the more obvious but absolutely essential methods for reducing your spending and saving more money for vacation or any big purchase, and that’s to track your spending. There are lots of ways to do this, but we’re rather partial to making the process of tracking expenses more fun with Fortune City!