Ah holidays, lying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, sounds of a steel drum band softly playing in the background, sunning oneself while a shirtless cabana boy brings endless supplies of long island ice teas… sounds alright doesn’t it? Maybe skydiving in Austria or skiing the Swiss Alps is more to your liking?
Whatever sort of holiday you chose (even if it is throwing yourself out of a perfectly good plane) they all have one thing in common – they cost money! So how can you enjoy your break from the rat race without coming home and suffering heart failure at the sight of your credit card bill?
Have a plan
Bit of a reoccurring theme coming through in these articles isn’t there? It is the simplest process to undertake and yet is most often forgotten. Decide on where you would like to go, what you would like to do whilst there and lastly add up how much it will cost you. Remember to include things like travel insurance, transport, accommodation, entertainment, meals, phone bills and currency conversion fees. Once you have this goal in mind, work out when you would like to travel. Most holiday destinations have an off-peak period and substantial savings can be made if you travel during these times – just be careful though and do your research. I nearly travelled to Fiji during monsoon season – that would have put a real dampener on my holiday (yes I’m always this funny.)
Start a savings account
Shop around for an account that has limited access and a high interest rate. Most banks/ lending institutions offer an internet account. I keep my savings in an ING Direct account and they are currently earning 6%pa. Use a calculator on one of the banks websites to estimate how much you will need to put aside each week/fortnight to reach your holiday savings goal. Most accounts you have the option to re-name – why not call it your holiday destination account i.e. Queenstown skiing account or Hawaii account?
Save little, save often
Do you come home at the end of the day with a pocketful of change? Why not start a holiday jar? Take one large empty coffee jar or even a 9 litre bucket, decorate it with pictures from magazines or ones that you’ve printed off and you have a pretty repository to keep those few extra dollars each day. Why not forego a coffee a week? By cutting out one coffee a week you could save around $200 a year! At the end of the fortnight or when it’s full enough that you are tempted to spend it, take your jar/bucket into the bank (or put it in a grocery bag if that thought is too mortifying) and deposit it into your savings account, an extra $50 a week could equate to nearly $1450 over 12 months.
If you’ve saved an extra $200 a month towards your goal and the bank staff roll their eyes as you drag the bucket into the bank every week, then treat yourself to something small that makes you happy. Take a friend out to lunch, buy a round at the pub, buy a magazine and a scratchie, whatever makes you feel rewarded for your hard work. Make sure you don’t over-do it though, the goal at the end will be reward enough.