Planning to go away later this year? Start saving now to maximise your spends.
Holidays give you a much-needed break from your busy working life. They allow you to rewind, enjoy new experiences and create memories with loved ones – or even on our own.
They’re not a luxury we can all easily afford however, especially as one in ten of us admit to being ‘terrible’ with money. That doesn’t have to be the case though, and a little savvy saving can help make your next getaway more achievable.
Here are five tips on how to save money for a holiday.
Make a budget
In its simplest form, this means factoring in all your monthly income and outgoings to work out exactly how much you’ve got left in the bank.
Learning how to make a budget will give you an idea of where you’re starting from financially as well as spotting any areas where you can make quick cutbacks – such as cancelling unused TV, app or magazine subscriptions. That’s extra money for ice cream, after all!
Try to be as detailed as possible and include those one-off payments like birthdays as well as essentials such as bills and food. It’s a good idea to make a digital version so that you can easily update it when you need to – a spreadsheet or a mobile phone app are two common choices.
Do your research
Knowing how to find cheap holidays can be a bit of an art form, but there are some simple steps you can try to make sure you’re getting the best price possible.
First, think about your location. Popular tourist areas can come at a premium, but that doesn’t mean you need to go back to square one and search for where the cheapest place to go on holiday is. You may be able to find somewhere nearby that’s a little less well-known, and these places can be cheaper for things like food, drinks and transport once you’re there too.
Once you’re set on ‘where’, move on to ‘when’. Try to avoid popular travel times such as school holidays if you can and check that there’s not any local festivals or events on during your chosen dates that could push prices up too.
Finally, hit the price comparison websites. Shop around for flights, accommodation and extras like car rental to make sure you know where the best deals are. Once you’ve found the cheapest deal, why not see if you can go direct and see if they’ll beat the price on the comparison site?
Set saving goals
Knowing how to save money every month is a valuable skill, and setting a personal goal is a great way to do it. With your ideal getaway in mind, you’ll know how much you need to save and be more determined to do it to achieve your goal.
Don’t forget to factor spending money into your saving goal. When working out how much money you should take on holiday, think about local currency rates as well as any activities that might set you back.
Another method to help you reach the beach is to set up automatic payments to go into your savings after you’ve paid your bills. This way you’re always paying yourself first, leaving you with a sensible amount of money for the rest of the month, which leads us onto our next tip...
Curb your spending
This doesn’t mean learning how to stop spending money altogether – just learning how to spend smarter. Your budget will have exposed which areas you’re overspending in, so hone in on those first in the run-up to your holiday.
Food shopping is a key area many people find they can cut back on. Try to skip buying lunches out and make a meal plan for the week ahead instead. This will help to make sure you waste less too by only buying what you need.
If you want to avoid any big costs, you could use a credit card to spread the cost of your trip over multiple monthly installments. Finding one with an introductory 0% interest offer will mean the only extras you have to deal with are souvenirs in your suitcase on the journey back – as long as you pay back the cost within the interest-free period.
Enjoy a budget break
Finally, it’s possible to enjoy yourself on holiday while applying some of those ideas on living frugally - and doing so will give you more spending money for your next one.
If your accommodation has kitchen facilities, consider buying food from the local supermarket for picnics instead of dining out every day. If you do choose to eat out, check what the local tipping policy is. While it’s good to be polite, tipping isn’t a must in every culture so you could keep a little back for next time instead.
If you’re staying somewhere that’s easy to walk around, stretching your legs instead of getting a taxi will save you money and also allow you to see more of the local surroundings too.
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