Winter is coming!
Written by Coleman Nee, City of Boston Credit Union
Uh-oh! It’s starting to feel like that time of year is quickly approaching. That time that it feels like it is dark when you wake up and dark before you get home, that time when you see the sun in the sky but don’t feel any warmer, and that time where many of us want to get out of town to some place warm for a few days! The good news is that we have some relatively easy tips to get you financially ready for that trip you so badly want.
Start with a game plan!
Like all of our (dominant) sports teams and like any successful venture, you need to start off with a good game plan. The first step is one of the most important, and that is to figure out how much this trip will cost!Although it sounds basic it can actually be a little more complex when you start to factor in everything that will come with a price tag.How much are the flights? How about the hotel? For how many days? Will you have to board your pet? Do you need to pay for someone to look after your home? Does anybody need a new bathing suit?! You get the picture, and all of these things and more need to be considered before you get to the important part:
Like many “most important parts,” this tends to be the most stressful – fear not for there are many tips and tools to make this step a breeze! One of the easiest ways to get the ball rolling is to open up a separate travel dedicated account at your financial institution, you can of course always go the ol’ piggy bank route, but there are quite a few extra benefits to having the side account. Many financial institutions offer the ability to have auto-transfers between accounts, for instance if your direct deposit hits every Thursday night at midnight then you can set up a transfer to take place at 1:00 AM Friday morning, and you’ll never even see it! Another potential method for this is through your work itself – many jobs have the ability to split a direct deposit payment between multiple accounts. Each week if you put just $10 you’ll have $520 sitting there by the end of the year, now think about if you set aside more!
Now that you have your travel account, there are plenty of ways to start building it up! Are you really utilizing all of the things you pay monthly for? If not, some of them should go! Unused gym memberships, streaming services, clothing clubs and the like can really add up over time, $10 a month turns to $120 that could go towards an awesome dinner out on vacation. You could also pick up a side job – drive a car for a ride sharing app in your free time, or help out with shoveling in the neighborhood, either could earn you a couple extra bucks and when saving every little bit counts! Another method of earning is to sell your old or unused stuff, that juicer you just had to have could actually be getting great use by somebody else and the extra money in your pocket will work much more for you on your vacation!
Some other helpful tips for saving:
Utilize an app or website to help you set your financial goal, and then track your progress throughout the way. This way if you have a bad week you can get the issue fixed for the next one.
Rack up those airline miles! Some credit cards offer rewards programs for use, and you may end up getting a free flight out of it. As always be responsible with your credit!
Look into Vacation Clubs at your financial institution, many of them will offer a special loan product or a way to help you save the money for the trip.
Pack a lunch! Bringing lunch to work is one of the easiest ways to eliminate an unnecessary expense from your life, and you may be surprised just how much you were spending by eating out.
Stash away your tax returns! If you get a return every year, it is easy to see that money as a “bonus” to be spent on all of your wants, but it can actually be a boost in the right direction early in your savings plan!
Reap the benefits!
At the end of your savings journey, nothing will feel better than knowing you stuck it out and reached your goal (except seeing your trip next week on the calendar)! With some simple lifestyle adjustments and the patience to let your savings add up, it should be mission accomplished by the time you’re ready to head off. Now for the easy part: sit back, relax, and enjoy your well-earned vacation!