Creative Cunning: Tips for a Budget Friendly Vacation

Vacations and getting away from everyday life should relax people. The idea of being distanced from daily responsibilities and feeling free from everyday worries takes a lot of planning. However, for a lot of people, this desire to be out of the normal routine also comes with the added stress of being able to afford time away to recharge. While a staycation may seem like the answer, frugality does not mean just making the best of the situation. With a little creativity and cunning, a budget friendly vacation is just one planning session away.

Cheap Lodging

One of the best ways to save money on a vacation is to find affordable places to sleep. If you are an outdoor person, pitching a tent is one of the best choices since it is flexible and frugal. If you want a longer term investment, use an RV. Campground rentals are reasonably priced for anyone trying to find cheap lodging. Tenting is excellent for outdoor lovers. For those who trend more towards the city folk side of things, the RV rental can save on expenses and feel like a home away from home. If being budget conscious, keep in mind that you want to factor in gas prices so traveling cross country may not be in the cards, but staying still in one beautiful outdoor location would be perfect.

Cheap Food

Eating on a vacation is the second cost deterrent to an affordable vacation. Assuming the need to eat out means assuming a larger cost than necessary. Finding local grocery stores and storing up on things you can make easily on the road is a good way to keep down costs. Whether camping, using an RV, or staying in an inexpensive hotel, food is a top priority. Treating yourself to a nice dinner out over the course of the trip can be a great way to relax. However, some meals simply aren’t worth the high cost. Instead of eating breakfast in a restaurant or eating fast food to keep it cheap, try buying boxes of cereal or breakfast bars.

Coupons

Frugality means deals. Deals come with coupons. With coupons abounding online and in local newspapers, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go. Going into the local grocery stores to get food means that you can probably also see what the coupons are for the week there. Take a look at apps for those big box stores that are in the places you’re traveling. If you download the apps for them, you can pick up necessities on the go for a lot less. Take a look at local libraries, also, to see if they have some options for rental of tickets with a valid library card.

Additional Income

Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. If you’ve always been a fan of the open road and have an RV you use for your own adventures, don’t let it languish in your driveway between trips. Rent it out to help pay for future trips.

The reality is that travel feels more expensive than it has to be. The ability to get a mental break from the daily grind doesn’t need to create the kind of stress that a vacation is meant to alleviate.

Get Away from it All Without Cashing Out

Escaping the urban jungle and suburban savanna for the ocean, forest, or open road is a dream of many. Achieving the level of financial stability needed for such expeditions is seemingly the hard part, leading many hard working, successful people to put their preferred adventures on hold indefinitely. Alas, it’s often in retirement when the possibility of enacting a dream getaway plan finally presents itself Too often the trade-off is cashing out retirement funds to afford the excursion.

Cashing out to get away from it all doesn’t have to happen, at least not for most people. Not when alternatives exist, ranging from smart financing to compromises on the dream itself. Here are the ways to afford an adventure and leave the savings almost entirely untouched at the same time:

Boat

The average price of a boat has increased dramatically over the last ten years, leading many open water adventure seekers from seizing on their dreams. Yet this increase in price is reflective of improved craftsmanship and increased durability, not to mention more room to move around in the cabin. Better yet, boat financing rates for those with good credit scores are lower than ever before. In fact, some lenders will agree to financing smaller sized vessels traditionally excluded due to their lower price tags.

RV

A quality RV can be a home on wheels for months or years. Or just weekends out of town, whichever is preferred. Similar to boat payment options, motorhome loans are available at price ranges and rates which surprise many potential borrowers. Acquiring your own RV is made easier by lenders willing to offer financing on older model motorhomes. Just make sure to review the reliability and conveniences of the model RV of choice before making your purchase.

Cabin

The quintessential cabin is the ideal getaway for countless men and women. These days, instead of building one yourself out in the middle of nowhere, the preferred method is to have prefabricated parts transported to a piece of land and assembled there. A one bedroom cabin can be bought for as little as $21,600. It might not the antler-covered walls and bearskin covered floors of the “classic” cabin setup, but it gives men and women a taste of the great outdoors without compromising too much on comfort – or price.

Camping

If financing or owning one or all of the above is just not in your realm of possibility, consider camping. It sounds like a cruel joke, but the suggestion is sound: camping doesn’t have to be all about cramped, flimsy tents and clothes reeking of wood smoke. For the relatively low cost of minimal upgrades to the gear, including a bigger tent, camping can be quite relaxing. Added together, upgraded camping purchases are unlikely to exceed five grand. After that, it’s simply a matter of stocking up on consumables and paying campground dues.

It’s easy to get tired of the rat race of the city and pretensions of the suburbs. We all at some point desire to get away from it all. Often we think the only way to do that is to liquidate our assets, cash out our retirement and hit the open road. This dream is as risky as it is romantic. Instead, opt for financing and compromise. Seize adventure without abandoning security. It can be done.

Catching Some Rays: Top Tips for Saving for Your Next Holiday

You work hard for most of the year so those few weeks of holiday are a welcome break and an excellent opportunity to catch some rays, but the bank balance doesn’t always match your destination aspirations.

 

Start with the basics

You need the grown-up equivalent of a savings jar if you are going to be able to successfully put aside some money towards your holidays.

Exercising financial prudence on a regular basis is going to help keep your bank balance in a better state over time, but the discipline of separating the money and putting it one step away from temptation, by opening a savings account , is the basic route to achieving your goals.

Think of your savings account as a savings jar and then start transferring whatever spare money that you have over to this account. Having a dedicated savings account that is there for a specific purpose like a holiday, allows you to see exactly where you are with your savings target and can often encourage you to save regularly, when you see an end product for your efforts.

Work out a household budget and see how much spare money you could afford to put aside each month, then set up a regular transfer, in just the same way as you would when paying a bill.

Get real with your finances        

Even the most financially prudent and astute people would probably be surprised at the disparity between what they think they are spending each month and what they are actually spending.

The only way that you get a true financial picture and see what you are spending and where savings can be made, is to do a comprehensive household budget.

It is amazing how many small purchases like a daily coffee on the way to work, can soon add up to a sizeable chunk of money each month. Once you have an accurate picture of your financial expenditure and have worked out how much you need for your holiday plans, you can then set about seeing how far away you are from reality and what steps you need to take to meet your goal.

Family effort

If you are planning a family holiday and will be traveling with kids, you already know just how expensive it can get, as you have to find the money for more plane tickets, hotel rooms and everything else that gets multiplied in that situation.

It is not a bad idea to try and get your children to see the importance of putting money away towards a family goal like a holiday, even if their contribution is going to be understandably small.

If they get a weekly allowance, encourage them to put away a part of that towards the holiday. Even if you don’t intend to use any of their money towards the holiday itself, kids always like the idea of having a bit of their own money to spend on vacation, plus it gives them a good lesson in the importance of saving.

Cash is king

Although technology is doing its best to turn us into a cashless society, the trouble with paying for things with your phone or waving a card at a terminal, is that it is not always that easy to keep track of your spending.

Drawing out the cash that you need for the week and then heading to the grocery store and other places, will almost certainly ensure that you don’t spend as much as you would if you were paying with a card or using your smartphone.

Those special offers and extra items don’t seem so tempting when you have to part with real cash for them rather than charge your card. Try drawing out cash for a few weeks and when it runs out for the week, so does your spending.

You will probably find that you end up spending less when you use cash, which means that if you keep that up for a few months, you will be able to put some extra towards your savings target.

If you start employing some money-saving tactics and become more disciplined with your spending, it could make all the difference to your holiday plans.

Rosie Hart is a personal finance consultant who readily hands out her top tips for saving money around the web in her articles and in online discussions.

Wife = asset or liability?

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at Nov 17, 2009, 8.15.38 PMSo I have this great plan in my head: Get married and get rich. They go hand in hand right? Okay, I know it may not be all gravy, but I still can’t wait for the days of being a DINK (Dual Income No Kids). I’ve got a gameplan in my head, but I wanted to run it by all you married folks to see if it was reasonable.

The plan is simple: Live off my income, put wife’s income in the bank. Let’s pretend I get married in a year. At that point, I’ll be making $62,000 annually. That is easily enough money for both me and the Mrs. to survive on. Let’s not forget she will be working as well. I’ll assume she will be making roughly $40K/yr. Whatever is left after taxes are taken out of her paycheck, will go straight to Roth IRA’s and savings (probably about $25K/year).

I’m not naive though, I’ve listened to my fair share of Dave Ramsey and it is not uncommon to hear a caller indicate his wife is responsible for accumulating a significant amount of debt without his knowledge (Don’t label me a sexist, I know this works both ways). The power of a larger income can lead to a tendency to live a more frivolous lifestyle. New cars, lavish vacations, and dining out become the norm. High income often causes increased spending.

The main reason I want to be able to survive off my income, and save hers, is I don’t think my wife will work forever. Once baby ninjas enter the picture I want her to have the option to stay at home. If we allow ourselves to become accustom to surviving off both of our incomes, it would be super difficult to take a $40K hit in income for her to stay home. I feel like a lot of people purchased huge homes based on their dual income, and now find themselves struggling as one lost employment or decided to stay home with the kids. I would like to avoid that situation at all costs.

If I play my cards right and buckle down on the budget, future Mrs. Ninja and I should be able to comfortably live on my salary and take hers to the bank. Hopefully accumulate $100K in savings come time to make a home purchase, and then she can quit and stay home with the kids. Am I living in a dream world? Is there something to the DINK formula I’m overlooking? For current Dinks, is it totally awesome? Have you become dependent on both incomes? Has the dual income caused any issues? I need all the info I can get so I can plan accordingly.