Budgeting for day-to-day expenses and handling unexpected costs can be a challenge in itself. This is why according to the Wall Street Journal, many Americans claim they can’t afford a vacation.
Going on vacation is not a necessity and you can definitely survive without one, but it’s a common luxury we all like to have and it can do wonders for your mental health. I love vacations, but I always used to think they were so expensive and I couldn’t afford one/had other priorities to take care of instead.
Eventually, I realized that going on a vacation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and doing things like domestic travel, staycations, cruises, mini-vacations, and weekend getaways can be just as refreshing.
If you’re dying to go on a vacation but want to maintain your budget, consider planning a $1,000 vacation and trying some of these strategies to help you save for it.
1. Brown Bag It
If you order out for lunch each day, you could be wasting a ton of money on the regular. Back when I used to work in an office, everyone went out to restaurants or ordered takeout for lunch each day. The average amount a person would spend would be $6-8 on lunch alone per day.
If you add that up, it comes out to $30-$40 per week or over $1,000 per year. If you cut down on buying lunch each day and brown bag it instead, you could easily pocket the money you don’t spend dining out and put it toward a vacation instead.
By no means do you have to go cold turkey on buying takeout for lunch. Try cutting down to once or twice a week if you’re doing it every day and consider buying a wide variety of foods at the grocery store that can make up your home lunch.
2. Use Your Tax Refund
If you get a tax refund, one of the wisest moves to make with the money is to use it to get ahead financially whether that means paying up some bills, making extra debt payments, or simply saving the money for a boring day.
I’ve done all these things with tax refund money in the past, but I’ve also used some of my tax refund for a vacation as well and I see no problem with that. If your finances are in order and you receive a lump sum payment like a tax refund, it can seem nice to do something for yourself for a change if you know you’re really going to value the experience.
If you want to balance out your needs and wants, you can split your refund up between funding part of your vacation and any other financial goals you have.
3. Set a 6-Month Savings Goal
A pretty straightforward way to be able to afford a $1,000 vacation is to simply save up for one. The reason why you may feel like you can’t afford to travel is because you don’t prioritize saving for travel in the first place.
By setting a clear purpose for saving your money, you’ll be more motivated to save consistently and stick to your budget so you can reach your end goal. Saving up $1,000 doesn’t have to be that difficult either. If you start saving $166.66 per month in January, you’ll have the money you need by June.
Related: How to Save Your First $1,000
4. Sell Some Stuff
Selling items from your home is one of the quickest ways to make extra money. Realize that most people hold onto unnecessary items all the time and may very well have $1,000 in products just laying around their house collecting dust.
Start going through your home and selling items you no longer want or use. You can host a yard sale or sell the items on sites locally like Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace. If you’re looking to sell stuff online, you can create listings on Amazon or eBay, or check out Decluttr.
Decluttr is a cool site that buys your old books, games, movies, and devices. I recently used Decluttr to sell a few things in order to get more spending money for my family’s vacation to Disney World earlier this month.
5. Use Credit Card Rewards
If you know how to use credit cards wisely, be sure to take advantage of any rewards you earn when you’re thinking about traveling. Rewards points can often be applied for flights and hotel stays to lower your out of pocket costs. Or, you can use your cash back rewards to add to your savings stash.
I have the Citi Thank You cash back card and it’s great because you earn 1% cash back on every purchase (no exceptions), plus another 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases. I like how Citi rewards cardholders for paying off their purchases on-time and using their cards wisely along with the fact that there is no limit on how much cash back you can earn. CardRates compares some of the best credit cards for earning cash back rewards so you can find the best card for you.
6. Do Micro Tasks in Your Spare Time
Another option that could help speed up the process of saving $1,000 for your next vacation is to do small micro tasks online in your spare time. You can take surveys on sites like Vindale Research, Opinion Outpost, and Survey Junkie and earn points on Swagbucks that can be redeemed via PayPal gift cards so you can get the cash.
Doing micro tasks online won’t make you rich, but it’s a flexible way to make extra money
7. Start Driving For Uber or Lyft
If you have a 4-door car, a driver’s license, and are at least 21, you should consider driving for Uber or Lyft to make some extra money to fund your vacation.
Back in January, I went to Las Vegas for my birthday and my husband drove for Uber on the side and earned over $1,000 to add to the trip budget in just a few short weeks. He now drives for Uber and Lyft on the side and while Uber is more popular in our area, he still earns a nice chunk of money from both apps each month.
The best things about driving for Uber or Lyft is that you can create your own schedule and drive whenever it’s convenient for you. Plus, you get paid weekly and can earn up to 2 different types of bonuses each week.
8. Get An Official Side Hustle
If you don’t like driving, get an official side hustle doing something else. You can write online, do virtual assistant work, babysit, walk dogs, test out websites, get a second job at a restaurant, etc.
Start by determining what your skills and hobbies are the choose something you can do to monetize them. If you want to brainstorm some additional side hustles that might interest you, be sure to check out this master list.
9. Lower Your Cell Phone Plan or Cut Cable
If you’re paying too much for either your cell phone bill or cable, consider cutting or reducing one or both in order to easily save $1,000 annually.
I’ve been using Republic Wireless for 2 years now and only pay $25 per month for my smart phone and my plan even includes data. By switching to Republic Wireless, I still got to keep my smartphone but I saved around $600+ annually as a result.
I’ve also been living cable-free for well over two years and I don’t miss it at all. I save over $1,000/year by not having cable and I still get to watch many of my favorite shows by using affordable streaming services.
10. Open Up a New Bank Account
Don’t like your bank? You can actually earn money for opening a bank account somewhere else instead. It’s called a signup bonus and many banks have them and will offer you hundreds of dollars just for opening your account with them.
In order to receive the bonus, you’ll need to meet a few requirements like setting up direct deposit and some banks even want you to have 2-3 deposits go through first before you receive the money so be sure to give yourself enough time to earn the full bonus amount.
Yet and still, this can be a super easy way to try out a new bank and earn some extra cash that could be added to your $1,000 vacation fund. Here’s a great updated list of the best bank account bonuses currently available.
Where would you like your next vacation to be? Have you ever done any of these things to save before?
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