Save Smart and Take a Vacation

Vacation travel is down; with the tightening of spending and credit, many people simply aren’t taking time off work to get away and relax. Did you know that vacations are actually good for your health? In today’s stressful world, a weekend getaway or a long trip helps you to reengage with family and friends, reduces stress, gives you a new perspective and gives your body the downtime it needs to handle day to day life.

It is imperative that you take a vacation and not just time off work to tackle the to-do list – to reenergize and reinvigorate! While this may seem like a stretch with your current financial situation, it is possible. Maybe not tomorrow but with some smart saving, you can take a vacation. Here are some ways to save for your next vacation.

  1. Examine your Expenses. Do you really know where your money is going? How much per month are you spending on daily coffee, lunches out and other relatively small expenses? What can you cut back on? Is not packing a lunch worth missing a vacation?
  1. Create a Savings Account for your Trip. If you are spending $3.00 a day on coffee and $10 a day on lunch (both of which are conservative estimates), you are spending $3,380 per year. That’s quite a nice vacation! Instead of funneling that money into coffee and lunch, transfer that money into your savings account each payday. It will start to add up and before long; your dream vacation can become a reality.
  1. Switch to a Credit Card with Travel Benefits. While the credit market has tightened, there are still good opportunities to transfer existing balances to cards with travel rewards. Use those cards for gas, food, utilities and other expenses that you pay off each month. With this strategy, before long you can build enough miles to fly for free and even use rewards for hotel credits, cruises, and more.

The key here is to make sure you payoff the balance each month; so that you have enough credit to use while on your dream vacation. When searching for a credit card with travel rewards, be sure to balance the interest rate with the annual fee and the types of rewards you are eligible for. If your dream vacation will take you outside the country, be sure to select a credit card with no international transaction fee – those can quickly add up.

  1. Some credit card companies are now offering 2 miles for every dollar you spend. This is a great way to build miles quickly. Shop smart and look for those cards that are offering bonus miles for transferring balances, additional purchases, etc. If you start using this card for monthly expenses, say $1,000 per month, in just the next 12 months, without bonuses, these cards can give you 24,000 miles to use towards your next vacation.
  1. Meet with your Accountant. Your personal accountant can help you to determine the best way to save for your next expenditure, whether it is a trip around the world, a second home or a vehicle. With monthly reconciliation of your expenses, your personal accountant can help you understand exactly where your money is going and how to best reach your personal financial goals. Looking over your current and projected future financial statements can help you stay actively engaged in your financial planning.

Start dreaming of your next rejuvenating, exciting and much needed vacation today. And then, start saving smart!

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