A vacation may be just the thing you need once the global pandemic is largely under control. According to The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF), vacations improve sleep, boost productivity, combat stress, and even lower your chances of having a heart attack. With the fear, uncertainty, and social isolation of coronavirus taking its toll, these rejuvenating effects are that much more important.
That means the question is not whether to take a vacation after the pandemic, but rather how to afford it. Take a close look at your finances now and begin taking steps to save up money for your long-awaited vacation.
Set Savings Goals
How do people get money in a pinch? Up to 5% reveal that they sell their jewelry for extra cash. While this can help make ends meet, establishing savings goals will help you set aside the most money for your getaway.
Start with concrete expectations. Look up travel-related expenses, like airfare, train tickets, cab rides, rental cars, gas money, and any other transportation-related costs you may incur. Consider the costs associated with accommodations, food, laundry service, day trips, admission fees, attraction or theater tickets, and shopping. Add them all up, and set your estimated savings goal.
Divide the total by however many months remain until your vacation. If your trip will cost about $3,000 and you wish to take it in about a year, your goal will be to set aside $250 per month.
Make Budget Cuts
Now that you have savings goals, one of the simplest ways to meet them is to make appropriate budget cuts. Start with things that you can reasonably cut out of your budget without making significant changes to your lifestyle. Consider:
- Making your coffee at home. Purchasing a $4 latte five days a week adds up fast. In fact, if you buy $4 lattes, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, that amounts to a little over $1,000 ($1,040). By making coffee at home instead, you will stand to save hundreds.
- Canceling your gym membership. It is more than feasible to head outside for a jog, roll out your yoga mat, or work out with equipment you already have at home. Doing so will save you hundreds — if not thousands — per year.
In spite of your best intentions, there will be things that you need to do, even things that may initially seem like luxuries. For example, if the path leading up to your home floods or cracks, you will need to replace it. Address any things that come up and continue to save money by being as wise and as thrifty as possible.
First, do your research. For example, natural stone is much more durable and long-lasting than artificial stone flooring options. Choose natural stone, and it will be considerably longer until you have to replace it. Then, fix your walkway on a budget. Often, you can save money by purchasing leftover cuts from stone pavers. Many pavers are cut into a very precise shape. The remaining pieces are just as high-quality and may look even more natural. Fill in gaps and spaces along paths with pebbles, sand, or dirt.
Have Money Set Aside For Emergencies
Do not let a car accident waylay your plans to go on vacation. Emergencies happen. Keep your emergency savings live and well. Have money set aside for emergencies that is entirely separate from your vacation fund.
Dip into this emergency savings only when you truly need to. Avoid taking unnecessary risks, like drinking and driving, and increasing your likelihood of crashing your car. While this advice may seem over-cautious at first, out of 26 million drivers in California, nearly 2% confess that they occasionally drink and drive. Make slight adjustments to your budget and day-to-day life to set aside money for the perfect post-pandemic vacation.