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Smart Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation

by Gloria Louden
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Have you ever wondered what you have to do to make your dream vacation a reality? Most people have a bucket list trip somewhere in the back of their heads but have never made a specific plan to fund it. Now is the time to begin. No matter how exotic or unusual your vacation goals are, there’s a way to make it happen.

If you’re willing to sacrifice now and enjoy later, you already have the right attitude. What’s missing is the written financial plan and the components of the precise budget that will get you from here to there, wherever “there” is. Perhaps you want to attend an upcoming Olympic Games event, see Antarctica, tour the hidden jungles of Sri Lanka, or ride the Orient Express. Those dreams can become reality with smart budgeting and a measure of self-discipline. Here’s how to get started.

Cut Fat from the Monthly Budget

Do you eat at restaurants often? Do you purchase all your groceries at traditional stores? How often do you get coffee from drive-thru cafes? These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you go over your monthly budget with a magnifying glass. Examine your discretionary spending at places like convenience stores, coffee shops, fast-food joints, and online stores. Most folks discover that they can reduce their restaurant, fast-food, convenience store, and alcohol purchases by at least 50 percent. If you set your vacation for two or three years from now, that 50 percent can add up to a large chunk of the funds you’ll need to hit your savings target.

Refinance Your Student Loans

If you have education debt, one of the fastest ways to reduce your monthly expenses is to refinance student loans. Consider using an online calculator to figure out your potential savings. If you’re like millions of other working adults, you could see considerable savings by opting for this strategy. Not only will you restructure your debt but you’ll get immediate results in terms of lower monthly payments on student loans.

Make a Savings Plan and Set a Target Date

After re-setting your monthly budget, set a specific target date for your big journey. This is the most effective way to convince yourself that it’s time to get serious about achieving your wish, even if you haven’t been all in up to now. When writing down the specifics of the savings plan, note how much you’ll put aside each month, what the accumulated total will be, and whether you’ll be earning any interest on the growing balance.

Sign Up for Payroll Savings

Most employers will let you set up something to a traditional payroll savings program, which pulls a designated amount of cash from your paycheck before you even see it. You can instruct the plan to send the funds to a time-locked account or to a standard bank account of your choice. Speak with your bank about time-lock features.

Meticulously Plan Your Trip

It’s smart to budget for the trip itself. That way, you’ll know precisely how much you will need for things like hotels, taxis, side journeys, airfare, gifts, and more. Don’t place all your focus on pre-trip financial planning. Be sure to know the total cost of the vacation before you do anything else.

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