Lifestyle 29 May 2018
Everybody aspires to live the “good life” but, unfortunately, it comes with a price tag. Vacations are a great way for us to relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life. While traveling is often a “want” or luxury, it is possible to take the trip you’ve been yearning for without breaking the bank! Sticking to a budget plan is essential in order to be financially stable. In fact, budgeting can be the very reason you have funds allotted to take your trip.
Here are some tips that can help you get the rest and relaxation you’ve been looking for without plunging yourself into debt.
Most of the time, doing anything last minute means spending more money. Booking a trip the night of or even a week before will cost you. Give yourself time to really research different destinations so you can compare and contrast pricing. You may want to consider hospitality services such as Airbnb or research on booking.com, so you are not paying hefty commercial hotel prices. Also, try plotting out any excursions you plan on doing beforehand to ensure they fit into your budget. You can go on sites like Expedia to see what excursions are offered in the destination you choose.
You want to comprise a game plan, so no unexpected surprises are thrown at you! Take a little time and do your research beforehand on local restaurants if your trip isn’t all inclusive to get an idea of what your daily spending should be. Additionally, flight prices are normally significantly cheaper when booked ahead. You should consider vacationing on an off-season month. December and January tend to pricier months since schools are closed for winter holiday vacations. Just be sure to check you are not going during hurricane season if you plan on jetting to warmer areas.
Create a Vacation Budget
By planning ahead, you can create a budget that can make managing your vacation money a breeze. Once you have your destination and travel date, think about starting a vacation fund and put some money towards it every month. You won’t have to come up with a large sum of money at one time. Examine your spending and make adjustments where necessary. If there are things that you can do without, cut them from your budget. For example, if you purchase a daily coffee, consider skipping it for a while. You can take the cash you would normally spend on coffee or takeout food and put it toward your vacation fund. Making small sacrifices to allocate funds for your trip will enable you to vacation without financial stress.
Don’t Charge All your Expenses at Once
What many people fail to do when planning a vacation is spread out the costs associated with their trip. This could spell financial trouble. Even though using a credit card can be a great way to finance a vacation, they should be used responsibly. Consider spreading out your pre-vacation expenses.
You may want to book your flight one month and your hotel the next. This can help you avoid getting hit with a large bill that may force you to deplete your savings or pay the minimum resulting in paying more interest and losing money in the long run.
Consider a Staycation
Who says you have to go far to enjoy some time off? You don’t have to travel to another country or state to get away. You could take advantage of the sights and attractions near you and end up having a wonderful vacation – and save money, too. You don’t want to put yourself into debt just to be able to afford a vacation. Do some research to find out what your area has to offer; a hike in the mountains, landmarks, beaches, national parks, etc. A staycation could be just what you need!
While a vacation is a great time to relax and enjoy yourself, too many people swipe their credit cards for the sake of being “on vacation.” Smart credit habits should not be thrown out the window when planning your trip. There are plenty of ways to take a budget vacation without going into debt!
This post was first published on 2/23/2018
3 min read
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist