How to Start Saving for Summer
There are plenty of smart ways to save a good amount before the thermometer even cracks 80 degrees.
Spring has finally arrived, which means warm summer days aren't too far away. That also means before long, you'll be plotting various excuses for getting out of the office and onto a beach, hiking trail or plane bound for the tropics. For parents, taking a summer vacation becomes almost a necessity. Unfortunately, that means spending some of the money you've worked all winter to save.
Just because you have travel in your future doesn't mean it's impossible to keep saving. Whether the furthest corners of the Earth are calling your name, or something more like a stay-cation is in order, there are plenty of smart ways to save a good amount before the thermometer even cracks 80 degrees.
Clever ways to save
Fortunately, saving for a vacation isn't much different than saving for any other major expense on the horizon. There are, however, a few strategies to consider for the occasion. U.S. News & World Report suggested establishing another bank account in which to deposit savings. Ideally, this will just be a sub-account with the same bank that currently holds your checking and savings. By doing this, you can then modify your paycheck to automatically deposit into this account. You'll also be less likely to dip into the account if it's separate from the money you normally spend. As enticing as a vacation sounds, don't let it interfere with your other financial goals. Make sure you've also been contributing to your emergency funds and retirement accounts.
"Going on a vacation shouldn't require going into debt."
Unless you already have your heart set on a destination, a little research and planning could go a long way toward big savings. While summer is one of the busiest seasons for traveling, there are still deals to be had. Many travel companies or airline booking services allow you to sign up for alerts that give you access to great deals on flights, hotels and even all-inclusive trips. Consider subscribing to one of these if you haven't already. While you're at it, research destinations that may be in their "off season" during the time you may want to visit. For example, just about any location in the southern hemisphere experiences their winter while the U.S. is heating up. It may be a little more chilly, but it could add up to huge savings.
Use a credit card (wisely)
Credit cards have earned a bad reputation from many. Without staying on time with payments, balances can easily balloon to much more than what was actually spent. However, those who use credit cards responsibly can take advantage of great perks like rewards points, airline miles or automatic savings. Forbes recommended taking a fresh look at credit cards if you're planning a vacation, especially those that provide points toward a plane ticket. Use a site like Nerdwallet or Credit Karma to compare cards and choose the one that works best for your goals.
While credit card perks are tempting, they're only worthwhile when you pay on time. Once card balances start accruing interest, the savings of cash back or rewards points are quickly overshadowed by debt. To avoid paying more than necessary on a credit card bill, set up automatic payments tied to your bank account. As long as you keep your spending in check, you'll never miss a payment and can set your sights toward your future destination.
Old-fashioned ways to save
If dealing with credit cards or budgeting isn't your style, there are always more active ways to cut back on spending and make some extra cash. Here are a few ideas for earning a little extra before your next adventure:
- Pantry challenge: Forbes suggested saving money by going a full week without eating out. Restaurant food is often much more expensive than making simple meals at home. Even if you're not a gourmet cook, get inspired by searching for recipes for your favorite takeout dishes online.
- Sell to excel: If you're like most Americans, you are drowning in extra stuff. Hold a yard sale and earn some spending money from things you don't need anymore.
- Get friends involved: Sticking to good habits is always easier with company. Plan affordable weekend activities with friends like game night, or get together for a potluck instead of splurging at a restaurant. You may discover that saving money is actually pretty fun.
Learn about even more creative ways to save by visiting your local Vectra Bank.