Monday, August 12, 2013

Vacation of Your Dreams on a Budget {Part 2}

I'd like to say my long absence from blogging has been to hold my great following of readers in suspense. To hold you on the edge of your seat, biting nails, fidgeting with anticipation....

Did it work? ;-)

My come-back blog is dedicated to all those who have been patiently waiting on new money-saving tips. I hope I don't disappoint you. Let's save some Benjamins!

Vacationing vs. Money Saving. Those two oppose each other, right? I mean, honestly who goes on vacation thinking they will save money? Although you may have every intention of sitting on a beach, drinking mojitos, and ordering the cabana boy around, (no judgment, hehe) there are some key ways you can have that very relaxing vacation and still save money.

1. Vacation with family/friends. I understand some people go on vacation to get away from family and friends. That's completely understandable. But, considering that isn't you, it can be a money-saving option to split a rental house with others. You can get all the amenities you need at a fraction of the cost. Carpooling, groceries, lodging, it can all be split and be quite cost effective.

2. Bring your own food. We drove to the beach this summer so it was feasible for me to pack a cooler and large box of food. When we actually got to the beach we did make a Wal-Mart run but only spent around $20. We planned ahead of time and brought snacks, fruit, cookies, cereal, milk, cheese, vegetables, and juice with us in the car. The cost of groceries at hot vacation spots is astronomical. What a banana costs in Destin, Florida is about 3 times more than what it costs at home. No joke.

3. Pay with CASH. Shoooooooooooow me the money!! There have been actual studies that have proven people are far less likely to spend cash. Think about the last time you paid for something with a credit card. Do you even know how much you spent? I bet it didn't really occur to you how it felt. What about when you use your debit card? You feel that more than when using a credit card, but it's still easy and quick. You don't actually see the subtraction of money taking place so it's not as painful. But pay for something with cash and you actually see the money go away. It almost hurts to see Mr. Benjamin go to another home and all you have left are a few Mr. Jackson's, a Lincoln, and two Washingtons. (if you don't know which bills those are, look it up!!) This takes some getting used to, but you will be amazed at how well this works.

4. Create a budget for your vacation and stick to it. Whatever you decide to spend on vacation, don't go above it. Research as much as you can ahead of time to see the cost of restaurants, snorkeling, boat rental, ski equipment, etc. The more prepared you are, the more realistic your budget can be. By paying with cash, once the money is gone, it's gone. You will be able to stick to your budget as well as not buying a bunch of touristy souvenirs. If paying with cash you may decide you don't really need 4 back scratchers carved out of pig skin. (then again, maybe you do...still no judgment ;-)

5. Do spend money on something nice. Vacation is about relaxing and doing things we don't get to do at home. It's OKAY to spend money on yourself. Make sure you plan a big splurge for you and/or your family. For us, we really wanted some GOOD seafood. Man, oh man, was it worth every penny. There's a delicate balance between saving and spending and enjoying and splurging. Do plan on spending your money on something good. After all, you are on vacation, right?

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