With winter right around the corner, many of us are dreaming about getting away from the short days and cold nights. While you might be hanging out on Pinterest, looking at tropical destinations and thinking about where your next jet set might be, your bank account might be singing another tune.
Luckily, with enough planning you can begin to set up a vacation fund without having to really try, or even noticing a huge change in your spending habits. If you want to head out of town soon, but don't think you'll have the funds, give one of these methods a shot.
Automate Your Savings
Travel, homeownership, amazing experiences, whatever your "big" goals are, having the capital to make them happen gives you a ton of leverage when it comes time to talk money. So rather than dragging your feet and feeling like saving means taking something away, try automating it ahead of time so that you barely feel the difference. If your job allows for automated savings investing (like 401k or IRA contributions) be sure to take advantage of it. If you're self-employed, or just want more control, apps like 52 Weeks Paid can help make sure you're on track. Or if you're more hands-on, the envelope method can help make sure everything is where it should be, financially.
Rehash Your Priorities
Having a travel budget doesn't automatically negate your ability to have your daily latte, as long as you're smart about it. Take a hint from Ramit Sethi where he advocates creating buckets for bills, for savings, and for spending. Don't feel guilty about buying new shoes when you also want to take a trip to Hawaii. Instead, rehash your spending priorities and build all of it into a budget so that you don't feel guilty and jump off the savings wagon. Being smart about your spending habits will allow you to find new ways to achieve your financial goals, keep track of debt, and make sure you're never having to worry about overdraft fees again.
Flexibility is the key, no matter if you plan to take a vacation here and there, or ramp up and become a full-time digital nomad so if you're able to plan more in the "gray" area, you might be able to enjoy an entirely new experience (potentially on the cheap). Look into off season packages if you have a place in mind, or try a place that is off the beaten path that might save you a ton of money but still offer an amazing experience. If you're new to the idea, check places where the US dollar can be stretched a little further, like Thailand or Central America.
No matter what your goals are, finding ways to be smart about your budgeting strategy can offer new opportunities for amazing experiences. If you want to get away soon, but don't know how you can afford it, start small and try at least one of these steps and you'll be on your way to a new adventure soon. Bon voyage!