Summer days and cornflower blue skies are just around the corner. A good summer vacation is like a refreshing drink of cold brew coffee: invigorating, sometimes desperately needed, and full of pep. We’ve collected a few ideas to get you started on that trip to the islands or national landmark. Here’s how to pinch pennies:
1. Trick yourself into saving money
Use an app like Digit that tricks you into saving by automatically transferring small amounts of money into a side account. Its tagline is: “Save money without even thinking about it.” Digit looks at your checking account every day and transfers a small amount of money into your Digit account, depending on what you can afford. By siphoning off funds, you accumulate a sizable chunk of change. Personally, over the course of six months, I was able to save a few thousand dollars using Digit. Now you won’t have to worry about racking up credit card debt; you’ll have paid for your vacation before you go.
2. Vacation with a friend
One vacation savings tactic is to crash with a friend who lives in a tropical haven or interesting locale. Consider asking your friend in San Diego to spend some R&R together in exchange for a visit to your place. Chances are, they’ll love taking a break to be with you. Offer to host next time and maybe they’ll take you up on being a tourist in your own town. Rather vacation with a group? Renting a house and splitting the cost will set you back far less than a hotel stay.
3. Save cash in stages
Once you’ve committed to saving for a vacation, go all in. Buy the plane tickets, or put down the deposit on your vacation rental a few months prior. That way, you’ll be forced to save for secondary costs over the following months. The goal is to get excited for the trip and start putting aside the money you’ll spend, without procrastinating. You’ll need to save up a good amount for ancillary costs. This could include food, drinks, travel around town, and exhibit/museum costs. Use Groupon or other deal sites to find inexpensive events and restaurants to plan into your itinerary.
Even better? Digit will send you a text with the balance of your savings account on a daily basis. Accessing your funds is as simple as texting Digit to cash in on your vacation fund when you are ready. Digit isn’t the only sweet money-saving app. A variety of apps — Acorns is another example — help you save for a summer vacation or for larger expenses like a new ride by rounding up your charges to the nearest dollar and investing the spare change.
Preparing for a vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s a matter of using a few tricks to get yourself in the mindset of saving and planning ahead.