Summer means holidays for many families, but taking a break from work and home doesn’t need to mean taking a break from your budget! Returning home to a mountain of holiday induced credit card debt is a surefire way to quickly lose that holiday feeling. These simple steps will help you stick to your budget while still enjoying a great time away.
Do your research & plan ahead
Research as much as you can about your destination. Where are the spots you want to visit, how much does admission cost, where can you eat, what are the prices of meals, how much is alcohol, is tipping expected? All these questions will help give you an idea of what you can expect when you arrive so you can plan ahead for spending.
Set a daily budget
Based on your planned activities, the expected cost of food and drink etc, set a daily budget that fits within your overall budget so you know what to aim for. Work out how much money you need for specific activities each day and budget them in.
Keep track of your spending
It’s one thing having a budget but sticking to it is quite another! Keep a track of what you are spending. You could download an app to track your spending or you could draw out a certain amount of cash for each day. Be particularly careful when charging things to the room as you don’t want a nasty surprise at the end of your trip.
Use discount vouchers
If you’ve done your research on where you are going it is pretty likely there will be discount vouchers available for many of the attractions and food outlets. Start by googling “attraction name” discount voucher and see what comes up. The same applies for restaurants. You may be able to save up to 50% with buy 1 get 1 free vouchers. I’ve also found the Entertainment Book to be a great way to save money when on holiday and will often buy one for the destination we are heading to.
Pay with cash
Putting everything on the credit card can land you in a world of trouble when you get the bill. If you have trouble monitoring and sticking to your budget then paying in cash (or at least using a card linked to a savings account with “real” money in it) is the best option.
Eating out for three meals a day can really add up. If you have the facilities to self cater then make use of these. Even if you don’t have kitchen facilities it is possible to self cater for at least lunch. Buy some bread rolls and some ham and cheese and have a quick sandwich with some fruit. Most accommodation types have at least a bar fridge so by keeping some quick nibbles, dips and snacks in there and some fruit in a bowl on the bench you will save yourself a lot in food costs.
Be careful of currency conversions
If you are fortunate enough to be travelling overseas then be wary of currency exchange rates. Something may seem super cheap in US dollars or UK pounds but once converted doesn’t look like such a bargain after all! Also keep in mind that the exchange rate offered by your credit card company may not be as favourable as the standard exchange rate.
Overall, the most important thing to remember when it comes to sticking to a holiday budget is to plan ahead and keep track. It’s too late to undo the spending when you arrive home so set a budget and keep track of your spending as you go.