Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last Minute Saving Tips for Vacation

I don't know about you but the winter blues are setting in and I'm already thinking about vacation time. I hope to be able to take a last minute trip with some friends this year but am still figuring out how to make it happen in my budget. May have to be a last minute thing. I found some great tips from Teri Cettina on Yahoo that I thought were great and worth sharing.

  • Start with a plan. Get a specific idea on how much you can spend. Guesstimate how much you think you may spend on everything (hotel, car, gas, souvenirs, meals, etc.). If you are surprised its better to be surprised before you take the vacation instead of after the fact. This way at least you can make adjustments either in your current spending or on what you think you will be doing on the vacation.
  • Make sacrifices now so you can enjoy your vacation when it comes. To help you save make some sacrifices now with your spending (health clubs, restaurants, etc.). In the long run you will be glad you did as your vacation will be what you wanted it to be. Great thing Teri states is, "Remember: You're just trading today's fun for the fun you'll have during your vacation. Move what you normally would have spent on these items into your vacation fund."
  • Save money with a "Pantry Week". I love this phrase, coined by Mary Hunt, founder and editor of Take a week to not go to the grocery store and eat what you have in your pantry. It's OK to eat a simple sandwich for dinner one night :-).
  • Spend less time in restaurants. The National Restaurant Association quotes the average monthly spend for families with kids under 6 at restaurants to be over $200. If you can't stop cold turkey look into ways to trim this down. Look for kids eat free nights at your local restaurants. Check out for discount coupons. Make a compromise, eat at home and then maybe treat yourself to a desert out. Get creative.
  • Take advantage of your tax refund now. If you usually get a tax refund each year then your employer is most likely taking too much out of your check for taxes. Consider adjusting your W4 for a while to give you more money now that you can use for your last minute vacation. You can always adjust it back later.
  • Let your credit cards be your friend. Use those cards that provide incentives for most purchases to build the incentives up. You can then use some of the incentives toward plane tickets, hotel costs, etc.
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