Setting aside money for a vacation and other fun activities can be a challenge when you don’t have much disposable income. Taking time to travel is important, both for your mental health and your financial wellbeing. If you feel like you constantly work with no reward, you are more likely to fall into a cycle of small treats, such as daily coffees or impulse shopping, that adds up quickly but leaves you little to show for your efforts. Coming up with funds for a vacation may seem impossible, but with a few adjustments, you may be surprised at where you can find the money.
Start a Vacation Fund
Even if you don’t have a target vacation destination or dates in mind, go ahead and set up a separate account for your trip. Don’t make the mistake of putting the money in your general savings and mentally considering it your vacation fund. Having a separate account that you transfer money to and can easily see your balance will help fuel you to make the budget adjustments you need to grow your account and prevent you from spending it impulsively.
Cut Monthly Expenses
The easiest way to save money is to cut your expenses. Some methods are eating out less, cutting back in subscription services you rarely use, and instilling no-buy days into your week. There are others you may not have considered, such as refinancing your student loans from Earnest.com. Consolidating and refinancing your student loans can increase your monthly disposable income by allowing you to pay less interest on your loans each month. This saves you money each month as well as over the life of the loan.
Pick Up a Side Hustle
Cutting expenses is one way to save money for a vacation, increasing your income is another. Picking up a few hours a week as a barista or in a retail shop can be a great way to boost your income without being too draining on your mental or physical wellbeing. Also, many side jobs have appealing benefits, even if you work only a few hours a week. Working the front desk of a gym may come with a complimentary membership, while a hostess at a restaurant a few nights a week may earn you a free meal for each shift you work.
Cut Vacation Expenses
Once your savings are growing in your vacation fund, start looking at ways to make your vacation more affordable. You want to enjoy yourself and not pinch pennies the entire trip, but there are ways to save money without decreasing the quality of your experience. Traveling during the edges of the season, often called the shoulder season, is a way to save money on accommodations and comes with other advantages. Restaurants, tourist attractions, and other things that may be closed offseason will be available. Crowds will be smaller and the weather will still be nice.
You can also use credit card points to lower expenses. You never want to pay finance charges on your credit card expenses, so you mustn’t use them for expenses you cannot afford, but using a credit card that offers travel points or cashback that you deposit directly into your vacation saving is an easy way to make travel more affordable.