I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Christina Lynn. Christina runs her own financial planning consultancy and helps people reach their financial goals. We recently met for coffee and got on the topic of budgeting for those “life-changing” types of travel experiences, which can often feel out of reach for many people.
After chatting with her, I am convinced that with a little planning, anyone – anyone! – can realize the vacation of their dreams (and still be able to enjoy their everyday life).
Read on for Christina’s expert advice…
"Life is short! Don’t wait to take your dream vacation until you are retired.
With a bit of planning, you can make it happen while you are in the prime of life.
The easiest way to save up for your dream vacation is to put a little money away each month.
TIP: Set up a free checking account, linked to your main checking account. Schedule an automatic monthly transfer of around $400 from your main account to your new checking account and name the new account “dream vacation,” “Bucket List,” or whatever motivates you.
“Dude,” you may be wondering, “Who’s got that kind of money lying around?”
The primary problem we wouldn’t feel comfortable saving $400 per month is that the average person has no idea what is going in and out of their accounts. We just close our eyes and hope our debit card isn’t declined.
TIP: Take an hour to sit down and figure out how much money you have coming in each month, and where it is all going. Are you spending a disproportionate amount eating out? Shopping for clothes? Find where you can cut back. Calculate how much you can afford to save each month.
Dave Ramsey has a great budgeting tool you can print online.
It might seem an impossible challenge, but it is possible! You just have to be willing to make some changes. Is that African Safari worth it?
Spoiler alert: Yes it is!
Here are some ideas how to save up the necessary funds for your dream vacation:
1. Cut your restaurant budget in half.
A nice dinner for two can easily set you back $150 for each meal. Going just every other week could save you $300 a month! If you don’t bat an eye spending $10 for lunch, that adds up to $50 a week, or $200 a month. Pack a lunch and eat out half as much, and you’ll have an extra $100 in your travel budget each month.
Check your latest credit card statement. How much of your monthly budget has been going to eating out during lunch? If your coworkers make fun of you for packing a lunch, I give you permission to gloat extra hard while showing them your photos from Easter Island. Go ahead. Rub. It. In.
But don’t skimp out and forget the things that make life enjoyable. Fire up the grill and start hosting guests at your home instead. You provide the protein and beautiful ambiance, and request that they bring a bottle of wine and a side dish or dessert.
2. Cancel your cable bill.
Welcome to the 21st Century. Check your latest cable bill. How much do you spend each month on television? Crazy, right?
Cancel it. The best shows nowadays are on Netflix anyway, plus a ton of movies; Hulu is great for TV shows, and Amazon Prime has a nice mix of both (plus music, free shipping, and numerous other perks).
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey now, I need cable to watch football!”
Think outside the box! Try using Playstation Vue to get the Redzone for just $34.99/month. Or find a friend who is watching the game and bring a 12-pack of craft beer, or a couple growlers, for a fraction of the cost!
3. Earmark your tax return.
Don’t even look at your tax return refund! If you get a refund from the IRS, choose the direct deposit option into your vacation fund account so that you’re not tempted to blow it on a new flatscreen TV or fancy meal. Seriously, it’s not worth it!
4. Earn some extra money.
Bartend or serve at a local hotspot, or do some freelance work. Picking up some extra shifts or taking on some freelance clients on the side can net you an extra $500 – or $5,000 – per month!"
With a bit of planning, you can enjoy life and still save enough money to take a life-changing travel experience. I am confident that Christina can help you make a plan that will still allow you to enjoy life – so get in touch with her to get started! And then contact IntroverTravels to turn that planning into reality.
Here’s how to get in touch:
Registered Investment Representative
330 N Main Ave, Suite 301
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Variable Investment Advisors, Inc.
Offering Mutual Funds, Variable Products, and Life Insurance
Home Office: 4305 S Louise Ave, Suite 101A
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
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