It’s possible to stretch a tight budget to pay for many different types of last minute expenses. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and a solid plan. At this time of year, many people are focused on going away for the summer. You can go too, even if you’re having trouble paying your regular bills, with just a few weeks of preparation.
Here are a few ways you can prepare financially for a summer vacation:
Get your budget on track.
Sites like Mint.com help you get a handle on your budget by tracking your bank accounts and credit cards. The system automatically files transactions into “income,” or any number of bills, including “home phone,” “groceries” and other normal expenses. If one is categorized incorrectly, you can edit each entry. However, at the end of the day, this is an excellent way to track your budget, and see where your money is really going.
The system is easy to use and setting goals and budgets is very easy. The site also gives you the opportunity to see your credit score—for free—and offers recommendations on how to save what you need in order to reach the goals you’re saving for. You won’t know how much to save unless you know how much is coming in and where it’s going, so using a program like Mint is one of the easiest ways to get started.
Save money on items you’re already buying.
Today’s economy provides consumers with many ways of saving—and earning—whenever those regular, everyday purchases are made. Apps like Snap by Groupon give you a heads up on rebates you can collect simply and easily, and after you’re done, you can peruse the other specials currently going in your area. Ibotta and Check51 are also popular programs that pay out once you reach a reasonable minimum balance.
Give up a luxury item.
Some of us live on very restrictive budgets so coffee or chocolate may be your only vice. Want that summer vacation? It may be worth a few weeks of sacrifice. Instead of hitting Starbucks every morning, log into your bank account once you’re at work and move that $7 from checking to savings.
If you honestly have nothing in your routine you can ditch, consider putting certain bills on hold for a while. The weekday paper, cable or your cell phone can be put on standby for a month or two. Once it’s turned back on, you resume service and billing, though your contract—if you’re tied down by one—will naturally extend itself based on the length of time your account was on hold.
Carpool to work for a few weeks.
Is there someone you can ride with to work for a few weeks? You can save a significant amount of money just by sharing your transportation costs for a short time. You’ll stockpile even more for your vacation fund if you put a bike or your feet to work. Bonus benefit? You’ll be able to enjoy your vacation more after a few weeks of getting fit.
Declutter and sell your old, needless items.
Marie Kondo and her life-changing tome on reducing clutter has made a mark on the American homeowner, but you can put the Japanese art of tidying up to work for your vacation fund too. After clearing your home of all the extras that aren’t adding joy to your life, celebrate in style while you sell them at a garage sale, on eBay or through a Facebook buy-and-sell group.
It can take time and practice to learn how to stretch a tight budget. If you need a bit of wiggle room, a title pawn can help. Click this link to locate your nearest Title Tree store to call us or visit today to learn more about how to stretch a tight budget.