7 Steps to Keep from Overspending while on Vacation
I know. It has been a while. But I can explain! This year has been swamped for me with work to the point that I have not had much time to do much outside of client-related business. Indeed, a good problem to have.
But I am getting back into my blog game. Working on being more consistent and planning my days out better to achieve the maximum in results! #goals
This year, while extensively working my media and business consultancy brand, I have also added Financial Consulting, where I assist clients with budget building, financial goal mapping, and long and short term goals. I also help with financial literacy so that my clients have a healthy sense of not just money management but their overall lifestyle as it pertains to their current and future spending habits as well.
A big part of my business is that I travel. I travel for clients, I travel for perspective clients, and I travel for media conferences and the like. When I travel, I make sure that my individual expenses are as low as possible. That is the most important component for me when it comes to traveling for any reason. And while many people do not travel for business in this way, most can definitely relate to traveling for recreation (vacation). While I have not taken an actual vacation since September 2015 (Vegas for my 30th birthday), I have several tips I would like to share as vacation season is here and summer is officially on the brink soon!
Let’s get started:
How to Keep from Overspending while on Vacation
We can all relate. We have booked that all-inclusive cruise vacation to the Bahamas and Havana Islands. We are stoked! Can’t wait to the board the plane and let LOOSE for an entire week of rest, relaxation, partying, drinks, and unmentionables (‘because we all know: What happens on vacation stays on vacation! #rule). We have our outfits picked out. We even bought a few extra ones that we just HAD to have JUST IN CASE, so instead of 7-9 outfits and 4 pairs of shoes, we went ahead and got 12 outfits and 15 pairs of shoes because you just never know.
Your vacation that you divvied up in 6 payments over the course of the year is paid for, flight is booked, and you are ready! You even made sure your credit card was a little clear for the occasion. The other vacationers have nothing on you! Nothing!
But then…..you realize that you went a little overboard with your shopping. Being on a week-long cruise on several islands, you had to make sure you bought yourself some island gifts. Oh and what about your friends and family that would love shot glasses and t-shirts and key chains and maybe even a cookbook to add to your collection. Oh and the food?! Bruh! The food! And the drinks?!
You went a little overboard and you were surprised when you got your credit card bill of all of the damages. But you shrug it off because….vacation. You deserved to let loose!
Listen. While you certainly deserve to relish in the fruits of all of your hard labor, I am a firm believer in relishing strategically. Because when you go out and have a grand time and overspend, the smile can quickly fade from your face when your bill comes and you’re in a heap of debt with no available credit to carry you for that emergency car repair you need (because you need your car for work and if you can’t get to work, you are not making money – it’s cyclinic!). Let’s do this the smart way!
Be mindful of your habits with money
We all have different habits. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Are you more of a spender and splurger? Or are you more low-key? Or are you on the other end of extremes and fall into the category of a complete cheapskate? Yes, cheapskates vacation too, but they are true penny pinchers, often afraid to part with any of their money to ensure a good time. Which category do you tend to fall in? You don’t have to let anyone know where you fall, but be honest with yourself here.
Have an idea of what you’d like to spend while on vacation
Have a quote in mind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But don’t just throw a number out there. Take your time with that number and give it some real thought. Keep reading because the other tips will help you to build that number effectively.
Be honest with what you are likely to spend your money on
When you’re vacationing, what do you expend most of your money on? Food? Gifts for family/friends? Trinkets and gifts for yourself? I know that when I am vacationing, I always try to find a spa for a massage (or two). What do you spend your money on most?
Make a rough draft plan
Who plans out their vacation? People that want to have fun during their vacation without financial regret later on, that’s who. Your plan is a rough draft. There is no final set step by step plan making here (I mean unless that’s your thing…). Write out the different things you’d like to do and see and maybe even write down the restaurants you’d like to visit. Do some research and get a glance at their menu pricing so you’re not taken by surprised later on. If museums are in your sites, research the price of entry and even, if you can, try to coordinate your vacation around special sales times.
Take advantage of advance sales
When making your rough draft, take advantage of the cost it would be to purchase a ticket to a show should you get that ticket online, weeks or months before the show vs. last minute and at the door. I remember when I was in Vegas, my cousin and I got our Boyz II Men tickets about 6 weeks in advance. It was about $80 per person for our front row seats but if you tried to get them the night of, you run the risk of the show being overbooked or the price was much different than what we paid for those same seats. Most people paid online, but there are always the people that are just going with the flow, and potentially spending way more money.
Provide a CUSHION to your number
I always tell people that whatever your well-calculated spending number is for your vacation, attach another 20-25% to that number just in case. Another “while in Vegas” example: That very same trip, after the Boyz II Men concert ended and I met Wanya Morris near the diner my cousin and I were in line for, my phone decided to act a plum fool. The battery after the concert was around 75%. However, after we ate from the diner and before we headed back to our room to change clothes to go out again, my battery had plummeted to single digit numbers. Odd, I put the phone on the charger, changed my clothes, and headed out for the night. When we made it back in for sleep, I checked my phone and after being out for 3 hours, the battery was at 12%. I was annoyed but tired. Woke up the next day and it was off. Would not charge, would not come on. My phone had died. We had to spend the first half of the day at Caesar’s Palace at the Apple Store so that I could get an entirely brand new phone, since, to my surprise, my phone had become completely inoperable, citing moisture damage that could not be repaired. I had to shell out over $300 for a new phone, an expense I was not prepared for, but had no choice.
These things happen. And this is why a cushion is needed. Whatever your vacation dollar amount is, add 25% to that number.
Limit Accessibility to ALL of your funds
Do not take your entire wallet that houses all 14 of your credit cards and 2 of your debit cards. That is way too much access for a vacation. Get a Visa gift card that you can load with any amount on it and load it with your vacation money. Say your number plus your cushion is $1500 for the entire week. Get a Visa Gift card with just that $1500 on it. I even advise for a small portion of that $1500 to be in cash – say $200. What this does is keep you away from making excuses to spend more than what you have because “you just have to have it”. Locking yourself “out” in a way is great for those that have serious issues with money management and ideal for those that have not yet established a healthy sense of financial literacy just yet. This may not be a necessary step for everyone but it can never hurt for anyone that is trying to be accountable.
Lastly – take ONE credit card for emergencies
One credit card for emergencies – preferably the card with the least amount of money available on it is ideal. A card with an extra $300-500 on it to be used exclusively for emergencies will keep you with a piece of mind.
Have fun on your vacations! But let’s be strategic and intentional about our money while we are out having the time of our lives. We want to be smart so that when that credit card bill comes back, we are not riddled with guilt. We planned and became purposeful in our planning and with our money we can be successful one step at a time.