7 Tricks To Help You Travel More this Year

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If you have never had a travel savings account before, it can seem a little off. However, this account will ensure that you are taking at least one trip every year. You can contribute as much as possible, starting with $50/month, you should be able to plan a long weekend getaway by the end of the year.

Plan ahead

Do you have a certain destination in mind? Calculate and monitor flight and hotel prices so that you know how much money you need to save. Planning your trip 6–12 months in advance can help to establish potential flight and hotel costs and will give you time to make final decisions.

Travel in groups

Plan a trip with 2–3 of your closest friends and their families if you are looking for a family getaway. Many times you can rent a condo or a large space for much lower than the price of a hotel. The perk of having people with you? Simple, the price is split between all of you, making the trip more affordable.

Research peak seasons

Peak seasons are times when a destination is most popular for travel. As you can imagine, peak seasons lead to higher rates for flights and hotels. Once you decide on a destination, look up the peak seasons for that location and plan your trip around it if possible. Generally speaking, summer, holidays, and Spring Break are peak travel times. If your days are flexible, you are more likely to find a great deal on flights.

Join a loyalty program

Joining loyalty program is a great way to earn points towards your travel. There are many programs out there, from travel credit cards to hotel rewards programs. The common denominator is that you are rewarded for being a loyal member or for using your credit card for purchases. If you decide on a rewards credit card, be sure to still pay the balance off in full each month to avoid accumulating additional debt.

Cut your monthly bills

Review your monthly expenses and find ways to add more to your travel savings account. In order to plan a trip overseas that you may have always dreamed about, would you be willing to trade in your expensive cable bill for something like Netflix or Hulu? Making that simple switch could save up to $100/month. This would also be a great time to consider refinancing your car if your credit has increased. Average savings for customers who refinance with rateGenius save an average of $89/month. These two small changes could add $200+ to your savings account every month.

Visit a friend

Many of us have a friend that lives in a place we have never visited. Perhaps they just moved there, or you just haven’t been able to make the trip. These vacations are the easiest to plan since you only have to focus on airfare if you are able to spend a few nights with your friend. Also, having a city insider makes planning activities a breeze. They will know the hot spots and be able to tell you which tourist traps aren’t worth the money.

Which destinations are on your travel hot list this year? Let us know, and we can try to help you get there!

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5 Tips to Nail Your Yearly Budget

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When it comes to budgeting, planning ahead is the best way to guarantee success. If you have struggled with sticking to a budget in the past, these 5 tips may help you stay on top of it this year.

Write down every bill and expense

The easiest way to fail at budgeting is to forget an expense. When you forget to account for a bill and then try to make up for it by moving around other payments, you may end up far off your budget. Write everything down with the due dates before creating your budget.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Car Payment
  • Insurance
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Toll or parking charges
  • Pet expenses
  • Gym memberships

Prepare in advance

Have you noticed that you are less likely to spend a lot of money on food if you prepare your lunch in advance? Meal prepping can save a lot of money over a year and minimizing eating out for dinner can also help save over the year. Think about better ways to use that money and plan your meals out for the week.

Also, set aside money for entertainment. If you know you will want to attend a party, concert, or movie, just plan the amount of money you will need and allocate your money towards that event. Denying yourself can lead to splurging later, and splurging leads to a failed budget.

Give yourself an allowance

Don’t deprive yourself. You are less likely to stick to your budget if you feel like you aren’t able to do anything you enjoy because of your budget. Therefore, you should give yourself an allowance every week to spend towards things you may want or need. How much should you give yourself? That depends on how much money you have left after all of your bills are paid, groceries are purchased, and your gas tank is full. For some people, $15-25/wk is sufficient, while others can afford to spend a little more.

Treat yourself for a job well done

After a few months of staying on track with your budget, allow yourself to purchase something nice. You can do this by saving your allowance over time, or gifting yourself with something after a bonus or successful month. It’s important to remember that you only have one life, and you should be enjoying it without constantly crunching numbers.

Set reasonable goals

There’s nothing wrong with trying to push yourself to save or payoff a debt as quickly as possible. However, there is something wrong when not meeting that goal causes you to lose hope and fall off the wagon. If you make a mistake and miss something on your budget, fix what you can and keep going. One missed payment should not mean that you stop trying. If you are not acclimated to budgeting, there may be a time or two where you miss something, prepare as much as you can, be also cut yourself a little slack. You are on the right track and that is all that matters.

What are your financial goals for this year? Share them with us!

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