Summertime is officially here. Of course, that means vacation time as well. Millions of us will take off to the beach, mountains or somewhere in between. Everything is great about it except for one thing – the credit card bills waiting when you get home. While you probably stop your mail from coming while you’re away, wouldn’t it be nice to stop the bills as well? Well, you can. And it’s just as simple as stopping your mail.
Remember back in December when I said there was a simple solution to being financially prepared for Christmas? Vacations work almost exactly the same way. All you have to do is figure out how much you want to spend. By that, I mean everything. Many people only figure the major costs like hotels, plane tickets and some of the food. But they always forget about the many things that add up. Souvenirs and entertainment are big ones. And if you’re flying somewhere you’ll need to figure in ground transportation. Are you renting a car or will you be relying on cabs? If you’re renting, don’t forget about gas money. What about parking at the airport that will be due when you get home? There are also tips to think about, and remember that everything is a lot more expensive in tourist areas so plan ahead for that. And no matter how much you do plan ahead there will always be things you didn’t plan for, so plan for that too? Huh? Well, you know what I mean.
Once you have figured out how much you’ll need, get an envelope and write “Vacation” on it. Maybe you can even write the name of the exact place you’re going to really fire you up. Then divide the amount you’ll need by the number of months until you leave. Once you do that, simply put that amount in the envelope every month and it will be there when you’re ready to go. To be on the safe side, add ten percent to however much you plan on needing so you’ll have more than enough. If you end up spending less than you saved – no problem. Just leave that in the envelope and you’ll have a jump on your next vacation.
You may be thinking that it’s not wise to carry all the cash you’ve saved on your trip. That may be true, but you don’t have to do that. Put the cash in the bank and use your debit card. Or, if you do use your credit card, you’ll have the cash to pay it in full when you get home. Just like you stop your mail to avoid being robbed, stopping credit card interest is another way to avoid being ripped off as well. Now go enjoy your debt free vacation!