There are so many variables when you go on vacation. Even when you just visit relatives or go camping it can be a challenge to stay within the budget.
Vacation is often not something that fits in the budget. It isn’t even something that is necessary but it sure is wonderful if you can figure a way to get away once or twice a year.
Reunions or visiting relatives are not something you would want to avoid. It is good to stay connected with relatives.
With all the categories in the budget, it can be nearly impossible to save ahead. We had this delemma over the years with both vacations and reunions.
We recently went to a family reunion and then had a few days of travel/vacation before heading home.
We saved just a little each week for months ahead. It would have been better if we had more saved but we didn’t.
In the past, we have only used the credit card (we only have one) because it is safe and easier. Using the debit card attached to a checking account is a pain because it has to be tallied often. We always took some cash as well.
For this trip, we opted to transition from totally using the credit card and put limitations on its use. Instead, we used it for accommodations and used the debit card/cash for gas, food, and spending.
5 Reasons to Keep in Your Budget on Vacation
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? ~Luke 14:28-30~
It is too easy to lose focus of your financial goals and limitations when you are away from home.
That’s all the more reason to stay on track since you will be coming back to reality eventually!!
1. Overspending means you are paying for your vacation once it’s done
We’ve had to pay for a vacation after it is done and likely you have too. That doesn’t mean that because we have ‘been there, done that,’ that it is the way to go. On the contrary!!
At the time it seems like the ‘thing to do’ but ‘after the fact’ it seems anything but fun!
What we have been doing the past couple years, is to establish a vacation fund through our bank. We have (cough) $25. automatically transferred to this account every week. At first it was a real stretch and we sorely missed the money. I can assure you that we got accustomed to it.
I never ever ‘borrow’ from this account when we are broke. If I did, I would never return the money!
Ideally my goal is to add to this account as funds become available. Since we were paying down a car loan, it just didn’t happen!! Just for the record, that car load is paid up!! YAY!!
2. Losing focus of your financial goals means you lose focus of your budget
Do you want to know a sure-fire-way to lose focus on your budget? Go on vacation!
Have you ever noticed how it is hard to focus on your financial goals while away from home?
Even though I had my budget sheet along with me, it was NOT my main focus. Seeing precious relatives and visiting friends and seeing new places quickly usurped my focus.
I find it hard to even remember that such a thing as a budget exists!
When you lose focus on your budget, it is easier to overspend and exceed the budget.
To avoid this delemma, I kept the receipts and entered the expense on a list for: gas, food, lodging, and spending.
Adding up what you are spending in each of the vacation budget categories helps to keep things real!!
3. Most people spend more when using the charge card
Who looks at the total amount spent when using the credit card? Do you?
Something about using the credit card causes most people to relax. If you do this, you are not alone.
You do NEED to start looking at the total. I assure you of that!
When we have chosen to use the credit card for every. single. vacation expense, we have always spent more than we ever dreamed possible!!
I don’t know why this is other than that we are not forking out actual-factual cash.
You would think that we would pay more attention since we are spending against our future!!
Whatever you choose to do, BE CAREFUL if you are using the card. It can take months and months to pay for a vacation if you forget your budget even existed!!
4. You don’t know what the future holds
Have you ever spent money only to find that you needed to replace an appliance STAT! Or have some other unexpected emergency?
If you are paying back your vacation for the next 3 months, you have no idea what expenses will crop up during that time.
We knew that we would be visiting my family several months ago, so that we started saving.
Like I said, we saved very little a week. Every little bit helps.
Many of you are young and this may seem like quite a stretch of the imagination. It is much easier to save for a vacation when you have been married for years and you have already learned your financial lessons.
There is no good time to start…so really, start learning how to budget even your vacations and especially because you have no idea what the future holds.
5. Keeping within your vacation-budget brings peace
There is something very stressful about returning from vacation and having reality hit!
The stack of bills, the home repairs needing to be done. They all hit minutes after walking into the door.
What if you kept within your vacation budget?
What if instead you had peace because the future weeks and months would not become a financial lemon-squeeze?
I have known families who have never traveled far from their town or county. Their children never saw other places because they never went on vacation.
There are memories built around vacations and travel that will be remembered for years to come.
I really hope you will find some way to have a little vacation savings so these memories can be built with your family.
It’s just like Gloria Gaither used to say, “Let’s Make a Memory!!”
Do you go on vacation with your family? Do you stay within a budget? Do you save ahead?