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11/11/2013

Planning for a Vacation

We’ve never been the couple who budgets for a vacation.  In fact, we have always been the kind of travelers who just found a way to make our determined destination work.  And by “found a way to make it work”, that sometimes meant resorting to a credit card since we had no idea how to budget for a trip.  Unfortunately, the old ways of this family caught up to us and got us into this hefty situation we call debt! 

We’ve done our fair share of traveling in the past five years, averaging at least one trip per year.  Some trips were semi-close to home, others not-so-close, like our two-week honeymoon to Europe (I’m sure you’re already thinking it…cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!).  Anyway, travel is something that we aren’t willing to give up, but since starting Project Money, we’ve established a new way to make it work while living on a budget.  In fact, we are hoping to take another trip after the Project Money finale, this time without using a credit card and making it a trip that is completely budgeted for!

Obviously payment for this vacation, and others to come, will be our biggest hurdle.  We have completely forgone the use of credit cards, and we aren’t going to relapse after this contest…they are gone for good!  And now that we understand how to create and used a budget, we know that we need to budget for our flights, lodging, food, fun, etc.  We have established what our anticipated cost of this trip is going to be and we are socking money away in our Travel Savings Bucket so that when the time comes, there’s no chance of resorting to the credit cards.  But what happens when we are thousands of miles away and we reach for that debit card for just one extra souvenir or extra excursion?  Sure, we’re on vacation and it’s a time to treat ourselves, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that using a debit card and spending beyond our budget would be the best choice.  So our plan is this: pay for our flights out of our the money we’ve saved up and deposit the remaining spending money for the trip into a pre-paid credit card, one we’ve yet to research and open.  The goal here is that we have a set amount of money to spend on our trip and it eliminates the chances of us stretching our spending limits if we purchase using our debit card that’s linked to our checking account.  We also know that domestic travel, as well as international travel is quite welcoming to major card brands such as American Express, Mastercard, and Visa, all which offer pre-paid cards. 

After doing our homework and talking about our options, we now realize we can plan for and take a trip without ever having to use a credit card again.  It will be a huge relief to return home after a fantastic trip and not have to worry that there would be financial regrets on the next credit card statement.  Then we start all over again, dumping money into that savings account to build for our next future adventure!

 

 

 

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I'd love to hear your tips and tricks for a vacation (sans kids)! Troy and I would love to take one (within a budget) but don't know where (or how) to shop for the best deals, best times to go or any of that. Please share your tips! :)

Well we're really fortunate on this one...our stay is FREE courtesy of my parents. They gave us their timeshare for a week as part of our wedding gift (from last year!) so all we have to pay for is our flight, excursion and food/drinks while there. That is going to save us a huge mint!

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