It can be easy to get swept up in the vacation whirlwind and lose track of how much money you’re spending.
From airfare and accommodations to frequent dining out and shopping, the cost of a memorable getaway can quickly skyrocket, leaving you sweating over how to wrangle your budget back together once it’s over. But with these strategies, you can take a breath and regroup without letting financial stress overshadow your blissful travel memories.
Survey the damage
Before you can formulate a plan for recovery, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with—so be brave and face your financials. Review and write down the expenses of your trip to see where you spent money. If you used a credit card, or spread out your spending over more than one, make sure you know what needs to be paid to each. Identify any purchases that perhaps didn’t add much value to your vacation so you can make different decisions in the future.
Reset your budget
Now that you have a clearer picture of how much you spent, it’s time to build a budget to help you get back on solid footing. Consider using a personal financial management app or website that has an online budget planner, such as Mint. Or you can use paper and pen to calculate your monthly expenses, distilling them to only the necessities. Make sure to set aside a portion of your paycheck to go toward vacation debt.
Prioritize high-interest-rate debt
To bring down your balance as quickly as possible, you’ll need to be strategic in how you clear debt. If you borrowed money or used credit cards for your trip, start by paying those debts first. Institute the avalanche method, which involves prioritizing your high-interest-rate debt first while contributing the minimum balance for everything else. Write down your debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate, then start at the top. To make the avalanche work, you need to start paying more than the minimum amount for the highest interest debt so you can dissolve it quicker, thus saving you money on interest in the long run. Once that’s gone, move your way down the rest of your list of debts.
Limit your spending
One great way to press the reset button is to jump on the “no-spend month” trend. This challenge (which can really be as short or as long as you want) means only spending money on absolute essentials, such as food, utilities, shelter, and transportation. Even though it sounds restrictive, it has a multitude of benefits: you’ll see the impact emotional and impulse shopping has on your finances, use up what you already own to cut back on clutter, and discover how to become more resourceful, such as by borrowing from your community and family. Many neighborhoods have Buy Nothing Facebook groups where you can request and donate items.
Find ways to get frugal with necessities, too, such as by cooking meals at home instead of going out or using public transportation instead of spending money on gas, (if that ends up being cheaper). Finally, check your accounts to make sure you aren’t paying for subscriptions you aren’t using, and scale back on luxuries like streaming services.
Boost your income
Having additional income can speed up the process of debt repayment and allow you to build savings. Explore side hustles that align with your talents and interests, such as tutoring, nannying, walking dogs, or doing some gardening and yard work. If you have a closet full of clothes you aren’t wearing, consider selling them on a platform like Poshmark or at your local consignment shops. You could even opt for a part-time job temporarily.
Build a vacation fund
Once you feel like you’re back on stable footing, you can think about squirreling away some extra money each month to go toward future trips. Having this cushion means you won’t need to lean so heavily, or at all, on credit cards or loans for vacations.
Learning how to recover from vacation spending is important for preserving your financial stability and dodging the anxiety that comes from living past your means. And with a little forethought and budgeting on next go-around, your transition from vacation back to reality will be a lot less bumpy.
This article was prepared by ReminderMedia.
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