So you want to take a cruise this summer but don’t know if you can afford it? Start saving now, and the cost will be easier to manage later. Use as many of these tips as possible and a few of your own and watch the savings pile up!
First, make a comprehensive list of everything you spend money on. Include major items, such as rent or mortgage, insurance, food budgets, gas, and utilities.
Then list all the incidentals that you rarely think about, such as the cup of gourmet coffee on the way to work, newspapers or magazines, snacks, meals out, movie tickets, and rental fees.
Identify those areas in which you spend money that you don’t exactly have to. Stick to the savings plan and don’t spend as much—or any amount—in those convenience areas. When you’re tempted, just picture yourself aboard that luxury liner having a luscious meal in a swank restaurant.
Use the ‘money in the cookie jar’ routine. When you make a purchase, keep the receipt. When you return home, pay yourself the difference between the receipt amount and the next five- or ten-dollar increment. Put that difference in the ‘cookie jar’ of choice and periodically deposit in your savings account—not your checking account. Label the jar or envelope or box, whatever you choose your ‘cookie jar’ to be, even an actual cookie jar, with a label, ‘Cruise Jar,’ to make it a tangible object, not just an idea.
Round up your incidental expenses, grocery tabs, gasoline purchases, dry cleaning, and more. For purchases that you don’t get a receipt, round up to the nearest dollar and ‘penalize’ yourself $5 paid to the Cruise Jar.
When you deposit the accrued money, put the deposit slip in its place to help you keep track of your progress and accomplishment.
If you’ve incorporated all the possibilities that originate within the household, try looking outside the door.
Carpooling or public transportation to and from work can save a sizable amount each month. Notify your insurance company that you use the vehicle less, and you might save on insurance rates, too. Maintenance costs would also decline. A few dollars per week for carpooling or a bus pass always costs less than gasoline does. If you live or work just off the nearest bus line but find you’d rather not walk, ride a bicycle; most bus systems have bike racks for easy transport.
Beyond the Front Door
Look through the basement, attic, closets, storage bin, or spare room. How much of what you find have you carted from place to place or carefully packed away that you actually don’t need? Why not have a yard sale? You can even talk with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. Combine ‘clearance sales’ into one, track whose things gets sold and for what, and everyone can earn a little—or a lot.
If something is truly unique, try auctioning it online. Even baked goods can sell very quickly, and with express delivery, the buyers can enjoy the cake, cupcakes, cookies, pies or breads, for example, within a few days. The buyer pays shipping, too!
Dog-walking, lawn care, grocery shopping or errand-running can also supplement your Cruise Jar funds and can take relatively little time on the weekends.
With imagination and dedication, you can save a little or a lot toward your summer cruise vacation. Start early. Be diligent, and you’ll have it paid for before you know it.