You want to travel but you can’t afford it If you want to travel without getting in debt, you will need to plan ahead. If your income is already stretched to the limit, you will have to get creative to pay for your next trip. And most of all, you have to make travel a top priority. Here are a few tips to taking your next vacation without getting into debt. Start by writing down on a piece of paper everything you spend for a week from Monday to Sunday. Coffee, newspapers, magazines, lottery tickets, drinks, phone, everything. At the end of the week add it all up and multiply it by 52, that is how much you are spending a year on things you can most likely live without or cut down on. Your travel fund Half your income is most likely going to pay rent or mortgage, utilities, car, insurance, and everyday living. Another part is going to pay down student debt, or save for your kid's education, retirement and more. And whatever money is left can easily turn into a shopping spree to buy something you don’t really need. That is why you need to set up a separate savings account or a jar, that is only to be used for vacations. Set up a certain amount each week or month to go into this account. Cutting costs You have to cut costs to put extra money into your travel fund. Credit cards If you have any credit card debt, you should eliminate that as soon as possible, check your bank's website to see what lower interest cards they have and switch today. If you owe $10,000 on a 20% credit card, you are paying $2000 a year on interest alone, that’s enough for a trip. Cable Television A lot of people love watching cable TV, and for some people, it would be impossible to give up. For sports fans, cable TV is a must have, and some people will opt to pay for a premium sports package to get access to all the sports channels. If you can’t do without Cable TV call your cable provider and tell them you are trying to cut your monthly bills. Ask if they have any deals on offer. A lot of people are leaving cable TV, and if they think you might leave they will try to negotiate a better deal for you. After having cable television for years, I decided to cancel my cable and installed an HD antenna on the roof of my home. The quality is better than cable, I get about 25 channels since I live near a couple of large cities. I also subscribe to Netflix. I am now saving $80 a month, that’s $960 a year. Over 10 years I’ll save over $9600. And, I don’t miss my cable TV or the bill. Home phone If you have a cell phone you don’t really need a home phone, unless you are running a business with it. I was paying $70 a month for a home phone with call display, answering machine, call waiting and other options. I switched all my calls to my cell phone and have not missed my home phone at all. Saving $840 a year. Cell phone plan Call your cell phone provider, see if they can reduce your bill. I was paying $100 a month, I now pay $40 a month. That is a saving of $60 a month, that’s $720 a year. I use my wifi for data at home. Internet I checked online for the cheapest internet plan in my area, sometimes the cheapest is not always the best. So make sure you check reviews before you switch plans. I am now saving $10 a month, not a lot but that’s $120 a year, and I went from 25mbs to 50mbs double the internet speed. Coffee If you're spending $2 for a coffee a day, over a year you are spending over $600 a year. If your paying for more than one coffee a day that will quickly get over $1000 a year. If you need a really good coffee in the morning, invest in a coffee maker at home or even at work. After the initial purchase of your coffee machine, savings will start to add up. I used to get a coffee every day on the way to work (I no longer work), I was spending about $600 a year on coffee, I bought a Keurig coffee machine and have reusable filters. I save about $500 a year now. Eating out Add up how much you are spending eating out, on fast food, vending machines, dining out, see if there is a way to cut down to put more cash towards your next trip. You might pick up something on your way to work, or after work, it’s quick and convenient but adds up. I was spending about $50 a week on food eating out. That has mostly stopped, I do once in awhile dine out, but saving to travel became more important. But still saving about $40 a week is over $2000 a year. Alcohol If you like to drink, going out all the time can get expensive. Add up how much you're spending every night you go out and see if you can cut costs or stay home more often. If you're picking up a bottle of wine, see if there is another bottle in the same price range and type you want that is on sale. Even if you only save a couple of dollars it helps towards your next trip. Smoking If you're spending $10 a day on cigarettes your spending over $3655 a year. Think of the trips you could do with that. Groceries Groceries can be a big part of your weekly expenses. If you can use coupons that is a great way to save money. If you live in a large city you have a lot of options, you can shop at high-end grocery stores that have beautiful displays, fresh pizza made, fresh sandwiches, a bakery, butchers and more. But to save money you can go to a basic grocery store with none of the frills. I shop at both depending on what I need, but I will always look for the great sales of 50% off or more and buy those items first. Entertainment If you like to go to the movie theatre see if you can find a way to get discounts in your area or go less often. Some restaurants near cinemas offer free movie tickets or discounts with a meal. Lottery tickets If you buy lottery tickets try to have a monthly limit to how much you spend. Gym I used to go to a gym for $40 a month, it was a great gym but I didn’t need to take spin or yoga classes. I now pay $10 a month for a very basic gym that has everything I need, no extras that I never used anyway. If you don’t go to the gym very often you could cancel your membership and just exercise at home. Newspapers and magazines I used to have a newspaper delivered every day for $30 a month. Another $360 a year. Extra income Sell some of your things on Kijiji, Craigslist, eBay or have a garage or yard sale. I have sold a few things on Kijiji and it worked great for me. You could also work overtime or get a part time job. Now go and enjoy your vacation, with no money worries. This page will be edited when we find new ways to cut costs and save money. Please leave your comments. 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