Saving Money for a Vacation Fund

We are in the midst of vacation season… kids are out of school, parents are get out of the office, and summer weather beckons us to take advantage of the incredible world around us.

 

For some, vacation can be a lot of fun, but also stressful on the financial front. We hear of incredible life experiences friends and neighbors are having and we pine to get out there ourselves. And sometimes we end up spending way more than we should.

 

Here at Trevi, we think it is of critical importance to take time away from the office. I know I can personally point to a few times in my career where I have taken little time from the office (i.e. I felt like work would be imperiled if I took time off), and honestly, the other parts of my life suffered as a result. The reality is I sacrificed significantly for my employer by not taking time off, and that sacrifice wasn’t generally recognized or appreciated. It wasn’t worth it.

 

Moral of the story…. don’t stay chained to your desk, get out there. The work will always be there and there will never be a “perfect” time to escape, so quit trying to find it. To borrow the Nike slogan: “Just Do It!”

 

We wanted to offer up a few tips as you think about the rest of the summer:

  • Don’t charge it on your credit card and tell yourself you’ll just pay for it all later.
    Think about what you can reasonably afford that fits in your budget. Think about what you have the money in the bank to cover – now, not what you might have tomorrow. When you charge away on your credit card with no funds to pay for what you are charging, you are borrowing from tomorrow to pay for something today… and that generally always adds to financial stress. Ballooning credit debt doesn’t make for a relaxed vacation. Besides, there are a lot of great things you can do, regardless of your budget!
  • Look at things you can do locally. Hello staycation!
    Check out your state parks – even if you don’t like camping, guess what? Many have cabins or yurts you can rent at reasonable rates. Parks offer incredible recreation opportunities – and the studies show that spending time outside in nature improve our mental health and well-being.
  • Find some things that will bring you a sense of renewal.
    Vacation plans can be critical links to helping you decrease stress and recharge your batteries. It doesn’t mean you sit on your rear end either – active vacations provide for an incredible sense of renewal, and will give you new perspectives on things. Just remember balance!
  • When you head out for some time away, challenge yourself to read a good book.
    Studies show that reading can really help us find our inner creativity and propel us forward. Reading on vacation can be both relaxing and help you find some neurons you forget you had in your brain.
  • Disconnect from your work email.
    Tell your coworkers you are going to be off-grid and not responding. They can get over it – remember, your employer doesn’t own you (and yes, many of them think they do, so it’s up to you to draw some firm boundaries.) Being connected all the time isn’t worth it – and it’s a key factor that drives many people to burnout. Studies show that those who are considered truly successful in life make it a practice to disconnect on weekends and on vacation. If your boss thinks otherwise, it might be time to consider finding a new boss.
  • Think holistically about vacation and renewal – tend to your mind, body and soul.
  • Make sure to enjoy some good laughs with your family when you are on vacation.
    Take a chill pill, laugh, enjoy each other’s company. If things feel a little disorganized and chaotic, that’s ok – live into it, don’t stress out about it!

If you like your vacations like we do, we recommend that you look at how much you spend each year. Divide that number by the number of paychecks you receive over the course of the year, and then set that amount aside in an online, high interest rate savings account every pay period. If you know you are going to do something extra special, price it all out, and add it to the amount you save. This will allow you to build up a vacation fund that you can use to pay for your vacation. For example, let's say you plan to spend $2,400 on vacation and you get paid twice a month (two pay periods in a month). You would transfer $100 a pay period to your vacation fund ($2,400/24 pay periods in a year = $100 per pay period).

 

When you can pay for your vacation in “cold hard cash” your future self will thank you because you’ll find yourself just a little less stressed out.

 

It’s not worth carrying balances on credit cards and paying ridiculous rates of interest to the bank. So, shift your approach, and start setting aside money for those big things like vacations in advance.

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