Authored by ROBERT BLAKELY, CFP®, AIF®, CHFC®
Summer is now upon us and you are probably thinking about a vacation. Do not let your finances get in the way of relaxing and having a great time with your family. Here are six simple ways you can prepare for your vacation to ensure you enjoy it to the fullest.
Estimate your costs
To begin planning your family vacation, you will need to research the desired destination. This will give you a better understanding of how much the trip will cost. You will need to take everything into account including identifying the average hotel rate. Factor in transportation costs and determine how much you will spend on food and entertainment. Do not forget to budget in a little extra for emergencies, such as a flat tire or parking charges. Once you gather all your costs, you will see just how much you will need to go on vacation.
Create a realistic budget
Vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, so do not go into debt going on one. Create a realistic budget that everyone can agree upon. Identify where you can cut costs. Maybe for lunch one day you pack sandwiches for your family instead of eating at a local café or chose to self-park instead of valet. Identifying where you can free up money will help keep costs down and will allow you to enjoy yourself!
Open a vacation savings account
Opening a separate savings account dedicated to vacations is a great opportunity to put money away for that special trip. Each week deposit a decided amount and do not pull the money out until the time comes to take that vacation. Fifty to one hundred dollars a week will build up in no time and you will end up with a nice chuck of change to vacation with. Though it may not be enough to cover the entire cost of your vacation, it will certainly help with your budget.
Cut expenses that drain your pocket now
Do you really need that $5 cup of coffee every morning before work? Buy the same brand of coffee and make it at home. Try cutting back on unnecessary expenses and we promise you will not miss them. Take those dollars you save and put them in your vacation account. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much your vacation budget grows once you cut out those unnecessary purchases.
Plan your stay
Before arriving at your vacation spot, plan your stay. Is there a tourist spot that you would like to visit? Or a well-known restaurant that you are dying to try? Look up coupons for that area on-line or call the local travel center to see if they have any discount deals available. This will prepare you ahead of the trip and save you a couple of dollars in the process.
Of course, if money is tight, or you prefer the comfort of your own bed, you do not have to travel anywhere to relax. Plan a ‘staycation’. Turn off your phone and become a tourist in your own town. Visit museums. Go to local parks. Pack a picnic lunch and a blanket and go out into your backyard for a fun dinner under the stars. Get creative and you might even enjoy being able to just relax at home without worrying about a budget.
No matter where you might go for your summer getaway, remember that budgeting is always a good idea and planning ahead takes the stress out of travel.
Enjoy your summer and always remember to consult with your financial advisor to work towards those travel dreams goals as well as your financial future.
Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
ROBERT BLAKELY, CFP® is a financial advisor with BLAKELY FINANCIAL, INC. located at 1022 Hutton Ln., Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262. He is the founder and president of Blakely Financial, Inc. celebrating 25 years in business.
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.