Going on holiday is exciting, but it can also be a big expense. From accommodation to transport, eating out to entertainment — the cost of a holiday can blow out pretty quickly if you’re not prepared. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a well-earned vacation. If you have a holiday coming up that you need to budget for, we’ve put together 14 great holiday money-saving tips that will help you enjoy your best vacation ever.
1. Document your expenses
Start your holiday savings plan by taking an honest look at your expenses and documenting them in a spreadsheet.
Even if you’re an experienced budgeter, it’s important to go through this process before you start preparing your holiday budget. You may have extra purchases or expenses that you need to make in the lead up to the trip, such as new swimwear or travel insurance, so it’s likely that this budget will look different to your usual budget.
Your expenses may include your existing food costs, transport costs, bills, rent and entertainment.
2. Set a savings goal
Calculate the expected costs of your trip and set yourself up with a holiday savings goal that leaves plenty of room for emergencies or unexpected expenses. A good rule of thumb is to save 20% more than your calculated goal.
Having a clearly defined savings goal helps you resist the temptation to spend on unnecessary things in the lead up to your holiday. That’s because psychologically you know you have a goal to reach and trying to reach it becomes a fun and satisfying experience.
3. Make a budget
Now that you’ve defined your savings goal, it’s time to create a holiday budget that will help you get there. Work out how much money you realistically need to survive until your holiday and then find areas in your finances that you can cut down on. A great place to start is food and entertainment. Even simple money saving hacks like swapping out brand name groceries for generic, or skipping your weekly trip to the pub can make a big difference as you budget for your holiday.
4. Create a holiday saving bank account
Setting up a separate bank account specifically for your holiday savings keeps you accountable and gives you a clear understanding of how you’re tracking towards your goal.
Make this account lockable, so that you can’t access the funds easily and sabotage your efforts. It can also help to set up a direct debit that goes from your salary straight into your holiday account each pay cycle.
Some banks even offer a roundup feature that redirects leftover dollars or cents when you make a purchase and sends it straight into your special savings account. These small donations can quickly add up and help you save for your holiday.
5. Delete your food delivery apps
Food delivery apps may be convenient but they’re a huge expense that should be removed from your routine if you’re trying to budget for a holiday. Resist temptation by deleting the apps off your phone altogether and pledge to cook all your meals at home. A simple way to save money on food and groceries is to use staples like rice, noodles and lentils to cook in bulk, and get into the habit of eating your leftovers for lunch the next day.
6. Sell unwanted clothes and items
Got a wardrobe or garage filled with clothes or items that you no longer need? It’s amazing what you can find if you dig around. Selling unwanted items is one of the easiest ways to make a quick buck if you’re saving for a holiday. Try holding a garage sale, or use websites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Ebay if you want to reach a broader audience or have specialty items that can fetch a good price.
7. Look for travel deals and packages
Seasoned travellers know how to look for the best deals when saving money for a holiday. Opportunities to look out for include:
- Holding out for airline ticket sales to get cheap flights
- Booking as far in advance as possible
- Not exchanging money at the airport or hotels (banks have much lower fees)
- Looking for travel packages that come with complimentary extras such as free breakfast or airport transfers
- Booking in the tourist low-season
8. Start walking
The cost of driving can be considerable. With the rising cost of petrol, toll roads and parking— things can add up pretty quickly. An easy way to save money for your holiday, as well as keep you healthy and fit, is walking. If you need your car to get to work, seek out a car-pooling service or look into public transport.
9. Audit your entertainment subscriptions
Spotify, Netflix, Stan, Foxtel… The list of entertainment subscriptions we think we need to survive is endless. But how often are you really using these services? If you have multiple streaming subscriptions, try choosing one or two that you really enjoy and will encourage you to spend more nights at home while you’re saving for your holiday. Place all the others on pause until after you come home.
10. Workout from home
Gym memberships can be very expensive, and with so many online options now available, it’s not always necessary to leave home to get fit. With many fitness apps improving their services to cater to the number of people working out from home during COVID-19 shutdowns, these apps have improved in quality and price competitiveness. As well as helping you budget for a holiday, working out from home or the local park can be a lot of fun.
11. Do your own grooming and self care
If you spend a lot on grooming and self-care, such as haircuts, waxing or trips to the nail salon, it can be difficult to break the habit of using these services. However, a great money saving tip for your holiday is learning how to do your own grooming and self-care. YouTube is a wonderful resource full of tips on how to do all sorts of beauty and grooming hacks such as dying your own hair, painting your nails or making your own skincare products for cheap.
12. Rethink your living arrangements
How much are you currently spending on rent each month? Could this be reduced by downsizing, looking for a roommate or moving into someone else’s shared space? It’s easy to get comfortable with our current arrangements but taking a step back and thinking about how you can cut corners long term can be a great way to budget for a holiday.
13. Become a home-body
Going out for dinner, to the pub for beers, trips to the movies and other activities are all great fun. Unfortunately, that fun comes at a significant cost. If you are serious about saving for a holiday, finding ways to entertain yourself at home is essential.
You don’t have to skip out on being social either. Rather than meeting your friends for drinks at a bar, why not invite them to yours for potluck or a BBQ and have them bring their own refreshments? If you have to go out, set yourself a strict budget, only go out with cash and leave the credit card at home. This means that once you’re nearing your budget for the night you have no choice but to go home.
14. Sort out your credit card debt
While these are all excellent tips for saving for a holiday, nothing will help you reach your goal faster and more effectively than getting your credit card and other debts in order first. When credit card interest is taking up a massive chunk of your budget, or you’re trying to juggle multiple credit cards and loans, it can feel like you’ll never get ahead.
The good news is that help is out there. At Debt Negotiators, we’ve helped thousands of Australians get on top of their debt and back on their feet. Through credit card debt consolidation, personal loan consolidation, and credit repair, we can help you work towards the dream holiday you deserve.
If you’re looking for ways to budget for a holiday, you don’t have to let debt get in the way of living your dream. With a few small lifestyle tweaks, a solid savings plan and help from a debt expert, you can enjoy a fantastic holiday, free from financial stress.
Unlike some financial institutions, Debt Negotiators don’t make promises we can’t keep. We’ll carefully look at your unique financial situation and work with you to create achievable solutions you’ll feel good about sticking to.
If you’re struggling with any debt, contact our friendly team to find out how we can help.