Summer is only a few months away and if you’re already eager to start planning that warm-weather getaway, now is a great time to start saving up some cash for the cost of the trip.
According to a 2012 travel survey conducted by American Express, the average cost of a summer vacation, per person, is $1,180.
If you don’t already have some travel funds available to make travel reservations, you’ll need to work a savings plan into your budget.
Here are six ways to save for that summer vacation:
#1: Rework the budget.
Take some time to take a closer look at your budget and identify some of those extra, or luxury expenses. This could be anything from movie nights to subscriptions or memberships.
Consider some low-cost or budget-friendly alternatives to some of those costly activities and find ways to scale back on those expenses. Even saving $50 to $100 a month on these expenses could equate to a few hundred dollars saved for the travel fund in a few short months.
Once you rework your budget, it can also help to funnel a portion of your paycheck directly towards a vacation fund.
#2: Watch out for fees.
Take a closer look at your credit card and bank statements to make sure you’re not paying extra fees that can easily be avoided.
Whether it’s a checking account maintenance fee or any type of annual fee on a credit card, take steps to eliminate these fees if possible so you have a little extra spending money come summer.
Even saving about $30 a month on fees could help you save $90 to $120 for that summer getaway.
#3: Eat out less often.
Get into the habit of cooking at home so you aren’t paying a premium for those restaurant meals or fast food. According to the latest statistics by Bundle.com, the average monthly cost of dining out in the United States is $281.
This equates to almost $1,000 in four months – almost the same as the average cost of an entire vacation for a single person. So start preparing meals at home to scale back on those monthly dining expenses.
#4: Take advantage of rewards programs.
If you have a cash-back rewards credit card or credit card where you earn frequent flier miles, consider redeeming those rewards in a few months and using those cards regularly.
As long as you are paying off the balances by the end of the month, you’ll find it easy to earn a little extra for that vacation fund or to save big on the cost of a flight. A free airline award ticket that “costs” you 25,000 in airline miles equates to you keeping $250 to $500 – or more – in your wallet.
#5: Sell items for cash.
Start setting aside items that you are ready to part with and prepare them for sale at a garage sale or on an online auction site like eBay. Most of us – if we really tried – can net at least $200 by unloading some of the extra “stuff” we have in our homes or apartments.
Selling items for cash is a quick way to drum up some money for that vacation fund – without having to work extra hours or take on a part-time job.
To get started, start doing some spring-cleaning around your household. Not only can cleaning and purging help you generate a couple hundred bucks from things you no longer need or use, but getting rid of unnecessary items also reduces clutter and helps you stay better organized too.
#6: Set a realistic savings goal and set up reminders.
Create a specific savings goal for that vacation and set yourself up with reminders in places that you spend the most time in.
For example, you could mark your calendar with specific savings targets, or put pictures of your vacation destination around the home or as your desktop wallpaper.
This will make your goal a little more real and motivate you to stay on track.