The Spendthrift’s Guide to Traveling on the Cheap – Tip #2

Start saving money whenever and however you can!

It is never too early to start saving for your trip. As soon as you think that there may be a possibility of your leaving town, you need to set the wheels into motion that will assure that you will have enough discretionary income squirreled away to ensure that you will have a fabulous time.

* Re-evaluate how you view money in general. Are you fast and loose with a dollar or are you in the habit of questioning the necessity of a purchase BEFORE you buy it? I think developing a frugal nature in your everyday life helps to pave the way for more traveling in general. That is where it all begins, if you learn how to value every dollar that you’ve earned, you will see your savings account grow exponentially. Give up that daily visit to Starbucks, start making your lunch and take it to work or learn to start shopping in discount stores instead of the high priced ones. These are good habits to develop in general, not just if you are trying to learn how to save for a vacation.

* Get in the habit of putting your spare change in a glass jar at home at the end of every day. Whenever you break a dollar bill, save the change it will add up before you know it. If you are feeling particularly thrifty, drop the whole bill in. Once the jar is full, visit your local grocery store to have the change converted into dollars via the Coinstar machine. BTW, Coinstar once had a promotion where they gave customers $10 if they converted $40.00 in change! There are similar savings programs that banks like Wachovia and BOA have developed. It’s a way to save without having to think about it.

* Stay on top of your finances, pay all of your bills on time to avoid late fees, balance your checkbook to avoid overdraft fees, only use your bank’s ATM so that you won’t be assessed out of network ATM fees. Add all of these fees up an they can almost pay for your vacation over time. Never use a credit card that has an annual fee when there are perfectly good ones that don’t.

* Don’t live above your means just to impress others. You know the old saying about keeping up with the Joneses. It doesn’t make sense to run yourself off into a ditch to live a life that you can’t possibly finance. Be smart and leave the grandstanding to someone else.

* Buy used goods whenever possible. From consignment shops, to eBay to half.com, there are usable items that you can buy at a fraction of the original cost. Conversely, to make extra cash, you can sell YOUR usable items through those same outlets.

* Try to spend more time at home. Think about how much you can spend during the course of a night out on the town. When you add up the cost of dinner, a movie, a concert, etc. you could find yourself out of a couple of hundred dollars easily. A great alternative would be to entertain at home with like-minded friends enjoying a movie rental, a couple of bags of popcorn or just playing cards and enjoying each other’s company.

The bottom line is that you must identify ways in which you can modify your spending behavior so that you can realize concrete ways to help

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