Photo Credit: Pixabay

Do you find yourself wondering how to save money for a vacation?

Feel like putting money into a savings account just isn’t an option right now? You’re not alone. Roughly 78 percent of full-time workers in America live paycheck to paycheck. In addition, a large majority of people are tackling ridiculous mounds of debt. Most us feel overwhelmed by expenses and future goals.

Even people who are earning $100,000 a year say they struggle to make ends meet. Therein lies a problem: this survey result reveals that no matter how much you earn, you’re always going to wish you made more.

Now, that’s not to say that people with low salaries can save as easily as millionaires. The lesson is that most people have a hard time saving, regardless of their income. To a large extent, your salary isn’t preventing you from saving. Your mindset is.

Here are the top five tips I would give anyone when putting away money for travel feels impossible.

Tip #1: Track Every Single Dollar You Spend

Saving Travel Money

Photo Credit: Pixabay

This sounds miserable, and in some ways, it is. In other ways, it’s incredibly freeing. At the end of each month, do you know why you weren’t able to save money for travel? If the money didn’t fund a future vacation, what did it go toward?

Once you start tracking your expenses, you’ll probably be surprised by how much you spent in each category. Maybe you accidentally dumped $300 on clothing. Perhaps $80 disappeared toward drinks one crazy night. That stuff adds up.

If you want to see where your money is going, I recommend one of two things.

Option 1: Download an app that tracks your spending. These are great if you use your debit or credit cards for every transaction, but cash expenses can fall between the cracks. I recommend Mint or Wally.

Option 2: Manually input your bills and purchases into a spreadsheet. This method is tedious, but it’s a surefire way to account for every spare bit of change that disappears from your bank account.

Keep in mind, credit cards can be used to your advantage in regards to traveling. As long as you are smart and careful about it.

Tip #2: Decide What You’re Willing to Sacrifice for Travel

Shopping bags
Photo Credit: Pixabay

When saving is hard, there’s no magic dust that makes it easy. You’ll to make changes if you want to free up room in your budget for vacations. Sadly, that means deciding where the money will come from.

Tracking your spending is a part of this decision process. Once you see where your money is going, you can decide what luxurious you’re willing to sacrifice. Do you spend obnoxious amounts of money on your hair? Are you frequently dropping $20 on drinks at dinner? What pricey about that trip to the nail salon? There’s almost always wiggle room in your budget. You just have to be willing to find it.

If you decide that you aren’t willing to sacrifice any of your current spending habits, that’s perfectly ok! However, you’ll have to understand that you’re choosing those expenses over travel. It’s a purposeful decision.

Tip #3: Start Saving for Trips Months (or Even Years) in Advance

Planning a Trip
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Surprisingly, 40 percent of Americans struggle to cover an unexpected $400 emergency. If that’s the case, don’t expect yourself to miraculously find the funds for a $1,000 trip that is one month away.

Instead, give yourself plenty of time to come up with the money. Set up a savings account for your trip several months in advance. You’ll find that putting $100 away each month is infinitely more doable than saving $500 monthly.

Tip #4: Learn to Cook at Home

Fine Dining
Photo Credit: Pixabay

If you want to know how to save money on vacation, you need to be aware that food can set you back very, very quickly.

I know what you’re thinking. This tip is similar to saying don’t buy avocado toast if you want to own a home. However, I think it’s important to note that eating out is a huge expense for the average American. If you drop just $10 per day on a lunch out, you could be spending as much as $2,500 eating out annually. Young adults are especially prone to spending high amounts of money on food, which might account for some of their saving difficulties.

Don’t give up your weekly In-N-Out run or deprive yourself of meals with friends every night. Just start cutting back. Remind yourself that flights come as cheap as $100, so by just cooking two-thirds of your meals at home, you might be able to afford a handful of plane tickets.

Tip #5: Remind Yourself That Time Is the One Thing You Can’t Buy

Photo Credit: Pixabay

When you rip a new sweater, you can replace it. When you shatter your phone screen, you can upgrade to a new version. Money can buy pretty much anything when it comes to material pleasure, but it can never buy youth.

Today, you’re as young as you’ll ever be. That’s an invaluable resource when it comes to travel. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of planning to see the world “someday.” When is someday? Is it tomorrow? Is it 20 years from now?

Factor your time into your budget. Remind yourself that you can buy clothing or drive a fancy car when you’re old, but you can’t necessarily backpack through Europe or climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Bottom Line

Saving might feel impossible, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be simpler than you think. If you want to save money, you need to understand that the root of the issue is prioritization. If you’re willing to make travel a priority, both in your budget and in your future plans, then saving becomes a heck of a lot easier. Remember: every cent saved matters.