Jump Start Planning Your Dream Vacation
Learn five practical ways to save for your dream vacation.
Traveling may be on hold for now, doesn’t mean budgeting for it should. Spending money comes more naturally for most of us than saving it. We do it while grocery shopping, browsing our phones, and even while socializing with friends. All activities we do are connected to spending it defines our necessities and lifestyle. It’s why saving money is difficult but not an impossible task.
- Always set realistic short-term goals
- Evaluate your spending ability — know your need and want
- Get into the mindset
- Maintain the consistency
- Don’t forget to enjoy your life
1. Always set realistic short-term goals
Setting a dream goal is great and encouraged. But, a dream goal tends to be long term. Whether it’s to save money for travel, buy a house, pay off student loans, whatever your goals are, know that all great things start with small steps. Like playing a video game, you always start at level 1 and advance to the next level as you familiarize yourself with how the game works.
Setting up smaller attainable goals that lead to your dream goals can elevate your positive outlook and encourage you to take a step further each time you reach them.
Let’s say your dream goal is to travel to Greece for a month. You don’t know when you will go or when you’ll be able to save enough but one day you will… This one-day concept is the characteristic of a dream goal. Everything revolves around that one day seems distant. But what happens when you set a date for that one day? Suddenly, it becomes real. The next step will be to figure out how one day can become a reality. You will need enough money for plane tickets, lodging, and other expenses while you’re traveling with no income. Start turning them into little goals that you can continually reach.
Realistic goals mean assessing what you can spend and save without compromising your lifestyle or putting yourself in financial ruin just for the sake of achieving your dream goals.
2. Evaluate your spending ability — know your need and want
Look at the big picture, or in this case, the big numbers. Our comfort level relies heavily on these numbers, our income, and expenses. The rule remains unchanged since the beginning of time — spend less than what you make. The simple step to avoid incurring debt or curbing expenses is to know where to file your expenses. Is it a ‘need’ or a ‘want’? Everyone is different so categorize them based on what makes sense to you.
An easy exercise will be to find what you can let go of without compromising your lifestyle. You’ll easily differentiate what you want and what you need. Choose what is necessary and know what you want is not necessarily what you need.
To start, take a look at what you’ve spent in the last month and look if you can trim the fat. Did you purchase unnecessary items that you could have lived without or were there any subscription services you did not use? What can you do to avoid purchasing these in the next month? Bear in mind, you can’t get rich overnight by doing this. Nonetheless, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you can save in the long run.
3. Get into the mindset
Forming a new habit is very similar to learning how to drive. Remember the anxiety and fear when you first sat behind the wheel? You probably don’t think much of driving anymore since it feels so natural you’re probably driving without putting too many thoughts into it. Getting into the groove means we pretty much run things on autopilot.
For most of us, our autopilot tends to turn off when we are about to face a crisis. Our sense of awareness kicks in and forces us to evaluate ourselves, in this case, our finance, which is shaped by our lifestyle and comfort level. Imagine what happens if we are the ones who decide to turn the autopilot off. We’ll be able to anticipate the worst and learn how to respond best before we are forced to make difficult decisions about our finances and our lifestyles.
4. Maintaining the consistency
This is probably the most difficult step of all. It’s what makes addictions so difficult to stop. Following the steps above can make a huge difference in how you continue with your habit but they are not enough. On average, it takes human 66 days to form a new habit. This can seem like light years when you start. The key is to commit an actionable timeframe to stay consistent and reset that commitment again once you’ve passed it. Once you’ve passed the initial adjustment phase, it becomes much easier to continue. Try aiming to the first 24 hours, or a week, and then try aiming for a longer timeframe.
5. Don’t forget to enjoy your life
The most important lesson of all is to enjoy life. Drink that latte, travel, go to music festivals with friends, do the things that make life worthwhile. After all, happiness is all about enjoying the little things in life. The key to getting this happiness is through mindful spending. Mindful spending can mean spending money on products or services that align with your values or what matters to you as a person. Understanding how spending affects us psychologically can be crucial in figuring out the role of money in our lives. Once that happens, it can be quite a liberating experience. Perhaps with a combination of a strong mindset to maintain consistency in saving habits and mindful spending, that one day’s dream goal might come sooner than later.