Pinching Pennies for Paradise

Many of us spend our days in offices, content with our commitment to work. However, the amount of time spent indoors in a climate-controlled environment makes one long for spending leisure time outdoors. The rhythm of employment tasks becomes monotonous after weeks under harsh fluorescent lights. Not surprisingly, adverts for locales with unpronounceable names, clear tropical water, and endless blue skies beckon us away from the office to rejuvenate.

While it's likely abundantly apparent one needs a vacation, problems in the logistics complicate plans for those with existing financial obligations. How do you save for a vacation? How can you plan for a vacation when already living with the onslaught of adult bills and responsibilities?

1. Make a Budget for the Trip

Although the words "budget" and "vacation" do not seem synonymous, it's the key to envisioning an affordable vacation. If one is already honoring financial obligations like student loans, a decent-sized mortgage, or still paying off a mortgage, then it might not be the time to elect to travel to private islands in Abu Dhabi. Luckily, that does not mean it's impossible to vacation. It simply means sitting down with a pen and a paper or an Excel spreadsheet and calculating how much your trip would cost.

You can compare several destinations and determine which is most feasible. While budgeting is not an exotic pastime for the majority of us, it will provide you with a viable idea of how much extra money you will need for a memorable trek.

2. Look for "All-inclusive" Resorts or Cruises

Destination and airfare alone is not the only factor to consider when choosing a vacation site. A pro-tip for finding the best place is looking for a bundle package that offers all-inclusive features. The features included usually involve limitless drinking (of alcoholic and regular drinks) and dining. By choosing a resort that covers meals and fun beverages, you will save hundreds.

3. Open a Savings Account or CD

A regular savings account works fine for the purpose of establishing an untouchable allocation of funds for the vacation. If budgetary or scheduling concerns mean that travel won't be in the immediate future, then look into opening a CD. A CD, or Certificate of Deposit, is a common financial product offered by banks that yields higher interest returns than normal savings accounts. CDs are also contracted for a specific maturity date, thus you pay into them until the contract expires in a year or so. If you withdraw your investments before the period ends, then there's a fee. Naturally, this makes consumers more apt to complete the savings cycle.

In lieu of a CD and if the prospect of a vacation away from the printer in the office running out of toner for no reason (again) is enough to keep you away from savings, by all means, open a regular savings account. Since you have already calculated the cost of the trip, figure out how much you will need to put away for the trip. For instance, take a portion of your paycheck and deposit it. The extra savings will continue to amass as departing for your dream destination draws nearer.

4. Cut Down on Leisure Spending

Oftentimes, we use our cash on hand on leisure activities that help us cope with the stressors of our day-to-day life. Whether it's shopping, buying a few rounds at a pub, or fine dining, these outings make us feel happier in the short-term. Now, you have a different, long-term goal in mind to relieve the doldrums and inconveniences of the workplace. It's time to put that money in your new savings account. Chewed out by your boss at work and looking to go on a gourmet food bender over the weekend? When you put your money away towards a higher goal, you will have more self-confidence in your own restraint. Incidentally, this increased assurance and cheerful attitude will likely improve your relations at work, as well as your level of patience in coping with that unpleasant work printer, or difficult client!