Are you sure you can’t afford a vacation?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled 5 ways you’re throwing your money away.  A lot of times we think we can’t afford something, but if we’re being completely honest, we can afford it. Maybe you don’t realize how much you’re spending on other things, but my guess is it’s time to get honest with yourself and do a spending audit.

Below is an excerpt titled “How to save money for a trip?” from my book, How to be Your Own Travel Agent.

One of the biggest deterrents I hear from people when it comes to traveling is that they don’t have any money to go on a trip. People ask me all the time how can you afford to take those trips?

The obvious fact is that you do need money to travel.  However, you need money for everything else as well.  I guarantee you spend money on something I don’t because I would rather save my money for a trip.  There is nothing wrong with spending your hard-earned money on what you choose to spend it on.  So if you want to go on a trip, you can use money towards a trip instead of eating out three times a week.  What’s most important to you?  Can you live without cable?  If so, you can use the money you would have spent on cable to save for a long weekend trip to the beach.  It’s all a matter of what’s important to you.

Once you decide that you’d like to go on a trip, and you’ve followed my tips for creating a travel budget, you know what you need to save for.  Let’s say you figured out you need $3,500 for a trip.  Now, you can look at your home budget to see how much you can save per month.  You can also look at your budget, and see ways you can cut things out.  For us, food was a big area.

A lot of us know this, but consider some of the data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor.  They produced a chart called “where does all the money go?”  (You can find this under Google images).  It’s fascinating to see how much we as U.S. consumers actually spend on things like reading, entertainment, food, alcohol, housing, tobacco, etc.  We spent a lot of money on a lot of different things; some things needful and some things not-so-much.

We all make choices on what we’re going to spend our money on.  My husband and I have considered that traveling is something we want to do.  We consider that when making decisions.  For example, it’s just the two of us so we don’t need a huge house with five bedrooms and three bathrooms.  We could afford to pay for a larger home, but that would mean that we can’t do anything else.  To us, that’s not worth it.  We would rather pay less and have a smaller home than pay more and not be able to go anywhere.

Do you need to eat out three times a week?  Do you both need your own car?  Do you have to have internet at your house?  Do you need to buy Starbucks every day?  Do you need that brand new coat, or is the one from last year sufficient? My recommendation to you is that you sit down and write out everything you spend money on.  Then, go through and number each item according to its priority level.  Then re-write the list in order of priorities. Take a look at those last three things on the list.  Can you get rid of any of those?

I spend quite a bit of time talking about this in my book.  I have a whole section about cutting wasteful spending, and using that money to plan a get-away.  I walk through the ways to plan a trip using only the money you saved from cutting waste!  Check it out!

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