Summer is in full swing, which can only mean one thing – adventures ahoy! Family vacations, beach trips, concerts and blockbuster movies all lie ahead. But with an average of $2,000 spent on vacations, summer savings hold the key to fun in the sun.
Typically, vacationers spend more than budgeted, but with the right preparation, you can return to the mainland rested instead of worried. Burying a little treasure for those upcoming events can help you sail smoothly to your destination.
In a time where 69 percent of Americans admit to having less than $1,000 in savings and 34 percent have no savings at all, savings can be your life raft. Maybe things like back-to-school and holiday shopping sometimes sneak up on you. You aren’t alone – 52 percent of holiday shoppers swipe their credit card instead of saving up. So whether you’re saving for a vacation or some extra holiday goodies, give yourself some financial liberty by planning ahead.
Plan of attack
Map out a strategy for how much you need to save. Your bank or credit union likely offers helpful tools like savings calculators to help you plan for your goal. Simply enter your timeframe and target, and the savings calculator will tell you how much you need to save a month to meet your goal.
Think about monthly, weekly or even daily savings to steer you closer to your goal. For example, $10 a day sounds more achievable than $3,360 a year.
Caution: watch out for booby-traps! Setting your goal too high can knock you off-course. Set yourself up for success by making the goal realistic for your timeframe.
Steady the path
Consistent contributions will get you to your goal in due time. Savings apps are a great way to do this. You can make savings automatic and move money over a little at a time so you save without even realizing it. An extra $5 adds up quickly and before you know it, you’ll have a nice bounty waiting for you. Having a separate account for your fund is useful so you aren’t tempted to rob your own treasure. See what options your bank offers and find the right account for you. Some even offer dividends, which means you could be making money off of your savings. Ignore the sirens’ calls of excessive spending by keeping it separate. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Stockpile your treasure
To help accumulate your loot, try cutting out a few small expenses.
- Skip the expensive coffeeshop coffee. Brewing coffee at home could save you around $50 per month.
- Eat out one less night per week. A family of four could easily save around $150 per month by cutting back on one restaurant outing.
- Bag your own lunch for work. Buying your lunch can average $11 per day. Save around $70 per month by whipping up your own food at home.
- Washing your own car could save an extra $15 per month. Instead of running through the car wash, spend a little time outside on the next nice day and do the scrubbing yourself.
X marks the spot
You’ve met your goal, but what’s the best way to avoid overspending? Prepaid cards are clever ways to limit yourself to the amount you allotted. There are many options for these cards – some even hold up to $10,000. However you choose to spend your savings, you can relax knowing you thought ahead. Go ahead and spend that money on your trip or buy some cool back-to-school clothes for the kids! You earned it.
Federally insured by NCUA.