How many times have you gone on vacation and overspent?
Probably every time, huh?
It’s frustrating because then you run low on money and the pull out the credit card (usually with a not so great interest rate) to pay for dinner or whatever. All of a sudden your little weekend getaway is costing you interest over the next year.
My girlfriend Alisha and I decided to come up with a vacation envelope system to save us money and make sure that we stay on track with our budget and spending (it was mostly her idea!). It may sound a little nerdy but it has saved us a nice chunk of change on our last few vacations and has then motivated us to put our savings into a bigger trip!
Here’s what we do…
When we decide where to go, we figure out what the gas should cost and the cost of the lodging. We check out Groupon for savings on hotels and restraints. Then we look at online menus of restaurants that we want to eat at for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Next we estimate about what we will spend on souvenirs, parking, tolls, etc…
For our winery trip vacations we figure out how much the wine tastings are and see how much the wines are and estimate how much per winery we should spend. Quick note on wineries… many of them will put your tasting fee towards your wine purchase… saving you even more money!
Then we make envelopes for each expense.
Food, Gas, parking, tolls, souvenirs, snacks, wine… whatever you’re going for. Then inside of the food envelop a paper band is made to separate between Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. For wine… we have a tastings envelope and a wine envelope. Then, for us, we split the costs down the middle and put our cash into the envelopes.
What we noticed is that we actually spend less since sometimes we skip breakfast or decide to get something less expensive at dinner. This system has put in the back of our minds that the money we don’t spend is going to something bigger and yet we are still enjoying ourselves!
The best thing about this system (besides the nerdy fun we having making them) is that we don’t have to pull out our debit or credit cards for anything… everything is taken care of and we know what we are spending our money on… and know that what we save… put it to the next trip (costing us even less) or a bigger trip!
Hope it works for you as it’s worked for us!
Note: Dave Ramsey has a system for this as well but for home budgeting