When planning out your summer vacation, it sometimes feels as if you need to make huge budget cuts all at once, to accommodate expensive airfare and hotel costs. For me, the Book A Vacation Scenario would usually play out like this: I would select and book the flight, my credit card would take a hit, I would shout with joy, and then I would panic. My emotions would be so mixed — I’d feel excitement about my upcoming trip, but the realization of how much I needed to save for the foreseeable future always sunk in and tempered the euphoria. During that time period, I knew that I would need to work hard and live frugally in order to save up for the trip I just splurged on, because I had been ill-prepared for it financially. This situation was far from ideal.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to work my budgeting timeline out backwards from the month I plan on booking the flight or rental car — usually around four months. I’ve learned that over the course of roughly four months, the budget cuts I’ve implemented on a weekly basis (which consist of swapping out normal purchases for less expensive options), and opting out of certain activities altogether, allow me to achieve my goal.
Below is an infographic showing some of the easy and less-painful ways to plan for a vacation by taking each day as a potential day for saving. Whether it’s one less afternoon out shopping (which, let’s face it, occurs way more often than it should) or saying “no” to after-work drinks with co-workers, you can save often and save well. Obviously these numbers will be different for everyone depending on what your spending looks like, but it’s an easy jumping-off point for those big periods of saving.