Rochelle and I have been planning our Europe abroad trip since grade 10 which attests to how much planning has gone into this. Today I want to share with you our Top 10 saving tips for a dream vacation. Let’s dive in!
#1. Budget Plans: A rule I have implemented is to set a weekly and monthly budget plans using an Excel spreadsheet or just writing this down. I set out INCOME –> EXPENSES –> SPENDING –> SAVING/MONTH. Track your big purchases and place a designated amount of money away, be it in a piggy bank or a savings account to accumulate interest. Rochelle has also implemented a $5-10/ week on personal, small spending.
#2. Ways to Save: It is my cardinal rule that I do not buy anything if its not on sale. That goes for shopping at a mall and now extends to activities with friends like bowling. Groupon is your best friend for savings as it offers discounts for activities and services as well as goods. This is also a place to fish out cheaper airline tickets.
- Groupon: savings on services and goods
- Rewards cards: a percentage of every purchase is paid back to you
- Flyers: with digital flyers, there is no excuse to buy full price cereal
- SPC card: offers discounts for students in select stores
- Emails: combine all store subscription emails using this app: Unroll Me. Saves time
- Sales: hang tight, wait until its discount season like Black Friday
#3. Limit on card: It can be easy to swipe a card right and left because you do not physically see the money leaving your wallet. We also recommend setting a limit on your card. This way you are sure not to go over your spending limit and maintain great credit history.
#4. Luxury Spending: Try to limit luxury spending to necessities when saving for a big trip. It is way too easy to fall into the trap of purchasing a $5 frap every afternoon which is why constraining yourself with a budget is key. Finding ways to become more self sufficient is key and that comes from making your own cup of coffee, a healthy lunch, and patching up clothes. These activities can quickly become routines and serve a therapeutic function.
#5. Online purchase: I don’t think I have ever spent money on online shipping. Stores often set guidelines for a minimum purchase in order to get free shipping be it, spend $40 or $50 on average. As well, make sure to subscribe to your favourite stores to get VIP discounts and perks (I mentioned a useful app above– Unroll Me). I generally like to limit my shopping sprees by season to prevent unnecessary, binge spending otherwise. Cleaning out your closet and makeup drawer gives you a feel for new items you might want.
#6. Going out: Although this relates to Groupon, it needs a category of its own. Usually when my friends go out, it is to grab lunch or dinner. Although its a nice way to sit down and catch up, there are ways to avoid getting food out all the time. Start with suggesting free activities. Here are some of our favourites. As well, during week days or later in the evenings, museums and other attractions tend to give discounted entry, for example at the Ripley’s Aquarium and AGO.
- Walk in the park or biking: a social activity together, plenty time to talk (High Park)
- Sight seeing: discover a new neighbourhood: Distillery and Fashion Districts, Yorkville, Rogers Centre and the CN Tower area, Lakeshore, Harbourfront
- Doors Open Toronto: a day to enjoy Toronto’s museums and sights for free
- Movies: outdoor movie screenings in the summer
- Blog TO: check it out for daily updates about things to do in Toronto, including free activities
#7. Credit Card: Yes, there are credit cards for all those travel lovers. Aside from travel credit cards also read reviews for best hotel credit cards, and airline credit cards if you are a frequent traveller.
#8. Airline Tickets: The earlier you can purchase your airline tickets, the cheaper they will be. However, if you are doing things last minute, chances are that if an airline wants to sell the remaining ticket a day or two before the plane’s departure, you can save big. Using Groupon can help you save big. Yes you might have a layover, but I for example managed to tour Warsaw, Poland with my mom during my 24h layover. It was a fantastic day to discover the city. Of course 24h is drastically pushing it maybe departing at an unfriendly hour like 5am will be a good way to save. Use AirfareWatchdog to track prices and hello, here is the time to make use of those accumulated Airmiles!
#9. Off Season Travel: Yes, this suggestion is quite drastic but when deciding on a destination keep in mind when the tourist season is in that country and the exchange rate for currency. It is no secret that Disney World Resort or any other touristy destination will hike up their prices when the demand is high during the summer months from June to August generally speaking.
#10. Plan Plan Plan: Before letting loose and having tons of fun, plan in advance. Have a game plan ready. These tips are a great start but they do take time and diligence. Remember that its the small things (savings) that matter. We hope you have an awesome sauce time during your vacation and good luck.
I had a blast looking into smart ways to save. I truly hope that these tips were helpful.
If you have other suggestions, I would love to know ’em. Comment down below.
~ Kisses, Kvitka ~