With the start of summer just a few months away, it’s time to stop daydreaming about a fun-filled vacation and begin setting aside money to make that getaway a reality. Creating a savings strategy well ahead of time can help you cover the costs of a vacation without racking up debt.
Need some help getting started? Here are five tips to set aside enough money to pay for a summer vacation.
1. Make a budget
It may be a bit of a buzzkill to start vacation planning by placing a limit on what you can spend. But it’s the best way to get a sense of how much money you need to save, said Justine McDonald, travel expert at CheapTickets.
When creating your ballpark budget, make sure to think through all the activities you’d like to do while on vacation. It doesn’t have to be precise, but do consider what you want your getaway to look like and include price-wise, said Jill Gonzalez, spokeswoman at WalletHub.
2. Commit to “no spend” days
Another tactic to help set aside money for your summer vacation is to not spend at all. While that’s easier said than done, you can try setting aside just one or two days a week where you don’t spend any money.
“Challenge yourself to even a whole ‘no spend’ week – meaning that you don’t spend any money at all,” said Calvin Iverson, spokesman at TravelPirates. “Use the time to clean out your fridge and pantry to make meals, and avoid going out after work. Soon enough, you’ll have plenty of savings for that trip.”
2. Open a savings account
Setting up a specific summer vacation account is a good way to ensure that the money you’re saving is still there when you’re ready to go on vacation, and not spent on other expenses.
“You can create automatic payments into the account,” said Gonzalez. “And make sure you check it on a regular basis, so that you know how close you are to your goal.”
Consider opening a high-interest savings account to get the most out of your savings.
3. Sell your household junk
You’ve probably heard of Marie Kondo, the organizational consultant whose minimalist approach has become popular via her Netflix show, “Tidying up with Marie Kondo.” You can use her method to clean out your home for the spring — and make some extra vacation money along the way.
“For spring cleaning this year, use the Marie Kondo method and set aside anything that doesn’t spark joy,” said Iverson. “Set the money you earn aside in a savings account for your summer vacation and don’t touch it until you’re ready to book that trip.”
Learn how to monetize your discarded items here.
4. Put your tax refund to work
Each year, about 10% of Americans use their tax refund for vacations, said Iverson.
“Although some people are receiving less this year than they expected due to the new tax law signed at the end of 2017, tax returns are a great way to save some extra dough for your summer vacation – no matter how much you’re getting back,” he said.
5. Save with a partner
Sometimes it takes a little motivation from someone else to help reach your savings goals.
“If you’re planning a trip with a friend, spouse or partner for example, saving for it together will keep you inspired and accountable,” suggests Misty Lynch, certified financial planner at Twine.
Technology has made saving with a partner easy, adds Lynch, as there are plenty of apps that allow two people to contribute to a vacation-specific savings account. It also can help your relationship to discuss money goals together.