Heading overseas can be just the vacation that you need. From new cities to explore and new people to meet to an extended trip that lets you rest and rejuvenate, there are dozens of reasons you may want to head overseas for holiday. When you’re considering your trip overseas, however, you’re likely also considering how much money it will set you back. After all, international flights aren’t cheap, and it can be tricky to save the right amount if you don’t do your research. Read on for a few tips on how to cut back on spending and increase your savings.
Pay yourself first
This age-old adage is a great way to start the ball rolling. Simply put, paying yourself first means making sure that you’re setting aside money for yourself no matter what. This means prioritizing your savings above paying for your rent or utilities. While that sounds a bit odd, consider that there are many times over the course of the month that you are likely able to find money to buy a new pair of shoes or go out with friends. Finding that money that you hadn’t planned on spending in the first place means that you are effectively stealing from yourself, and, by extension, your trip. If you can live on $50 less this month in order to get some drinks and appetizers with friends, couldn’t you live on $50 less by saving at the top of the month for your vacation?
Track your spending
Becoming aware of your spending is a huge step forward when it comes to making any behavioral adjustments that will positively affect your finances. Although there are apps and websites like Mint that offer a retrospective look at your spending, it’s much better to track what you spend in the moment. This means keeping a record of every purchase you make when you make it. By tracking your spending, you’ll be able to learn where your money is going so that you can better determine how to adjust your behavior in order to make more conscious decisions about where you spend your money.
Smartphone apps like Every Dollar or You Need a Budget can help you keep track of your spending and let you practice zero-based budgeting, setting aside the right amount of money for necessities like housing, groceries, utilities, and other bills. From there, instead of looking at your bank account to see if you have money, you instead look at a specific category of purchase, such as “Eating Out” or “Clothing,” to see if you’ve allotted the right amount of money to cover your purchase. Just because your bank account has $1,000 in it doesn’t mean that you can afford spending $100 on clothing and $60 on sushi if you know that you have an $850 rent payment and $45 electrical bill coming up before your next paycheck. You may also learn that you’re overpaying for some utilities, and that it’s worth switching electricity providers in order to save money each month.
Start with the end in mind
Having a reason behind your savings can really help when it comes to turning down that friend for drinks or stopping yourself from clicking “Buy Now” in your online shopping cart. By putting reminders of why you want to save money, such as travel brochures or photos of your vacation destination around your home, you’ll always have your trip on your mind. Even a sticky note on the inside of your laptop with the location of your trip written down can help curb your spending and keep you focused.
As you probably noticed, many of the ideas listed above are behavioral. It’s easy to read about cutting your restaurant bill in half by cooking at home more or skipping a latte and making coffee at home. While all of these small habits do make a difference when combined, ultimately, behavioral changes will allow you to save more money and strengthen your financial wellness. This, in turn, sets you up for a lifetime of strong personal finances — well beyond your trip overseas!