Create a savings plan. A good savings plan will have 5 steps:
- Assessment. First things first, you have to assess on how much you would need for this trip of yours. If you are actually traveling alone, then that would be great as you only have yourself to take care of everything: your needs, your food cost, your travel cost, your tour guide (if any), your shopping wants, etc… But if ever you happen to be traveling with family or friends, then that is a different story altogether. You cannot just expect to leave them empty-handed, can you? Now falls the burden on you on how you are going to properly take care of them. Have a specific country or state or province in mind that you would want to visit or even travel. Understand that there are things that are just beyond your reach. Don’t be dismayed if you cannot go to your dream country just immediately. But if you really insist however, there are often ways to go about it. You can always loan money from the bank or save up for an incredibly long time until you finally get the money to enjoy a long and well-deserved vacation. But for now, assess your financial account.
- Setting goals. Once you have finished assessing your financial account, the next step you would want to do is to set certain goals that you wish to achieve. For example, if you have a goal to travel on December on a 5-day vacation to the Bahamas which would cost like $1500 for 5 people, then make sure each family member will save at least $5 day and place them in a piggy bank or whatever. If you are able to place in more than $5 on the piggy bank, then that would be better. If you really commit to this goal without breaking it whatsoever, then you would have saved enough for that trip to Bahamas and even more. After all, a little can really go a long way. The more tangible and clearer the goal, the more chances it can be realized and fulfilled with ease. But if you look up the Internet, you can find videos and blogs that show tips and advice for a low budget trip that you can still enjoy without hurting your pockets too much.
- Creating a plan. Now that you have set your goals, it is high time that you created plans of your own in order to save up that kind of cash. “Change must always begin with yourself.” If you do not start the change now, will you even get the money to actually go on vacation? If you stick to your old spending habits and not learn on how to save money, can you honestly tell yourself that there’s going to be a vacation at the end? Personally, there is no way that is going to happen. As mentioned before, a little can actually go a long way. There are many tips found below that you can follow that may reduce your spending habits significantly if you dedicate yourself to it.
- Implementation. Once the plan is being formulated, it is time to set the plan into motion. But once the wheels are turning, there still exists the high probability of it going wrong which then reverts back to you spending your money like crazy on stuff that you do not really need. Keep your eyes on the prize and avoid any temptation that might just lure you backwards. Make sure that your will is strong enough to overcome all.
- Monitoring and reassessment. Monitor to see how you are doing financially from time to time. Check to see as to whether you are still on track of your goals or not. There are bound to be some setbacks along the way especially if you come from a middle class family with mouths to feed and children to send to school to. All good things take time. Never rush yourself. If you think that you are running a bit behind on the goal, you can always move the timetable of your vacation to suit your needs better or make some more compromises to your lifestyle. Again, it is up to your discretion.
Commit to your dream
Commitment is a strong word. Just like marriage, once you commit to your partner after exchanging vows, you cannot leave her. You cannot let her go in exchange for a younger and possibly more attractive woman. “In sickness and in health” “Till death do us apart.” Just like traveling to another country, ask yourself on why you are doing saving up so much of your money in the first place. Sometimes, it is easy to lose sight of your goals that you will eventually abandon it because you cannot do it anymore. Should you feel like giving up at some point, remember your goal and say a mantra: “My goal is to fly to Canada!”
- Reduce your expenditures.
- Simplify your life.
- Sell some stuff.
- Earn some extra income.
- Get into habits of frugality (save without shame!).
Assess your expenditures
As mentioned before, if you are traveling alone, it should be simpler for you. But considering that you have a family of your own and you would want them to enjoy this vacation. So in order to assess your financial resources better, try making a spreadsheet and list out every one of your daily/monthly expenditures. Organize them into two columns: “Needs” and “Wants“. Slowly eliminate all the “wants” from the things you regularly purchase. Once you begin separating them accordingly, you will know on what you should spend less and what you should be focusing more (e.g. food, water, utility bills).
Start a dedicated travel fund
Nothing says like travel more than a dedicated travel fund. Have you seen the Disney movie Up wherein Carl and Ellie decided to put up a savings jar just so that they can travel to South America or some fictional country? No matter how much thy saved, they had obstacles they had to overcome in which they had no choice but to use that travel fund as repairs to whatever was damaged or broken. But in the end, they never saw their dream realized as Ellie was hospitalized and eventually passed away. It’s never a bad idea to put your money in a piggy bank. Or instead of just putting a dollar a day every day, why don’t you go out and put up a yard sale where the things you no longer need or want becomes something of value to someone else. After all, “another man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and they would sure pay well for such.
Spend less on lunch
Lunch is one of the three most important meals of the day aside from breakfast and dinner. Imagine a scenario like this: you are given at least $20 a week for school. That $20 includes food and transportation. Essentially, you would spend $3 per day for lunch followed by $1 for transportation by taking the train to and fro. You would have no savings as a result. But what if you cut down your lunch money or transportation money by a dollar? If you do that, you would have at least $5 worth of savings per week. Riding a bicycle to and from school also cuts costs and helps you exercise more.
Cut back on fancy coffee drinks
For working professionals, this spending habit still proves to be quite a challenge. Everyone needs their coffee. Who doesn’t, right? It’s coffee and coffee is life (to majority of people). But people just love their coffee and do not mind going to fancy coffee shops just to get their daily dose of caffeine. As good as the feeling is, if you want to save up on your vacation, stop drinking overpriced coffee. If you still need to drink coffee however, you can always go for the cheaper alternative of getting 3-in-1 coffee mix powder. It may not be freshly prepared, but it does give you the caffeine boost you need. Imagine how much you could save if you did not spend so much of your money on coffee. There’s always the option of drinking tea from teabags if you so happen to have some at home.
Mileage Tracking Log
Eat out less often
Why eat at McDonald’s or KFC or at some fast food chain for lunch when you can simply cook your own lunch or at least pack a sandwich at home to prevent you from spending more? Just because you have work, does not mean you do have time not to prepare your own meals once your shift is over. When there’s a will, there’s always going to be a way. Another disadvantage of grabbing lunch in those kinds of establishments is that it might potentially increase health risks due to the preservatives they place in their meals.
Reduce or eliminate your car usage
There are three kinds of pollution is currently suffering from: land, water and air pollution. It is obvious, if not anything else that the use of cars is slowly but surely destroying our planet’s ozone layer (the thing that protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays). What would happen if the ozone layer is completely depleted? Global warming. And everyone would have to suffer for it. Chlorofluorocarbon (or CFC) is found in a lot of things: our cars, the refrigerators, aerosol sprays, perfumes, etc… We have to acknowledge that technology has its pros and cons to society today. For technology to stop so suddenly would just be like the Wall Street Crash of 1929 wherein chaos was happening all over. But if there was a way to slow the destruction of our Earth, would you take it? If you can, stick to public transportation as it is really not that expensive. Or, ride a bicycle. Perhaps one of the reasons why Japan has clean air all the time is because most of them ride their bikes as the main source of daily transportation.
Printable Mileage Log
Kill the cable TV dead
Cable TV. We all need it to be honest. When we get home at night in time for dinner, the first thing you would be dying to do is to sit on the dining room with the TV on and watching your favorite movie or series. TV is great and all, but at some point, you just gotta get rid of technology and detach yourself from it. Try reading a book for instance. Reading is not only fun, but reading has the power to increase increase your vocabulary and imagination.
Reduce your utility bills
Some countries are colder than others. Some countries are warmer than others. Some countries just have the right temperature whether it is day or night. As much as electricity is important to you, if there is a chance that you can decrease your utility bills, then do so. Instead of turning on the air-conditioner at night or turning on the heater for very cold nights, why don’t you try opening up the window while putting on a sweater or thicker pajamas when you sleep or turning on the electric fan in your room as to reduce the electric bill?
Blue Mileage Log
Smoking kills people. Let’s get that sorted out. If you notice the health warnings that the health agency places on the back or in the front of every pack of cigarettes that people buy, I am sorry to say that they are not “photoshopped”. It is real and it will destroy you. One thing that smoking can do to your health is create cancer. Once cancer builds up in your body, it will slowly ruin you from the bottom up. Scary, right? Smoking is de-stresses people. But take too much of it in a day or in a lifetime and you will just end up regretting it. One fact about smoking that you should know is that the cost of it will rise over time. If a cigarette will cost you $0.5 per 3 pieces, and you decide to smoke at least 6 times a day for a whole year. That would mean spending $365 for more than 2000 cigarettes. That money could have been used for something more important.
Cancel your gym membership
Make no mistake. Going to the gym is not a bad idea. If people would actually avail them. The main issue with gym membership is the amount of commitment people place. They think that spending $50 a month on gym membership is actually a good thing. But what happens if you become too busy with work to even go to the gym? You fail to go to the gym for even one day, you would have ended up wasting $1.67 for that particular session. It’s good if you can commit to it. But if you are simply spontaneous, you should just try exercising at home or play some ball with your friends for free at a local court. In that way, you get to sweat while having fun at the same time.
Minimal Mileage Log
Skip the spa
The spa. Ah yes, one more way to spend a couple of bucks for just a couple minutes of relaxation. Make no mistake though. Massages are considered therapeutic. If your doctor or chiropractor would actually recommend you getting a massage, then who are you to decide what the doctor decides is best for you. Instead of spending your relaxation at a spa, why don’t you try sleeping at the comfort of your own bed? It’s free and you don’t really have to pay.
Borrow your reading material
Millennials, working professionals, children, and just people in general simply love a good book they can bring at home. We go to a book store and see our favorite books on sale and we have the urge to impulse buy. Sure, you get a discount, but you might be spending more than you can make. Instead of buying at your nearest local bookstore, why don’t you borrow reading materials for free from your own public libraries? If you happen to need some books for academic purposes, try asking your friends if they happen to have that book just sitting on the bookshelf. If they do, then that’s great.
Free Mileage Log
Stay in at night
Thank God It’s Friday! What do you think people would normally do? They go out and have a great time. They eat, they drink, they make merry, then they go home the next day without any more money and would have to face another week of boredom as they fend for themselves. Instead of practicing the usual TGIF tradition, don’t go out at night. Stay indoors with your families and friends. You don’t really have to spend money just to have a good time. As long as the people you care about and love are having there with you enjoying your company, then you can always celebrate good times anywhere. One way to celebrate is through potluck. Or just going to a friend’s house and eat pizza as you Netflix and chill the night away.