4 Smart Ways To Pay For Your Next Vacation

4 smart ways to pay for your next vacationA recent survey conducted by American Express determined that the average American spends $1,180 per person on vacation. For a family of four the cost is $4,720 per year.

While that seems a little high for my frugal tastes the number doesn’t really surprise me.

Even though do I agree we all need a vacation from time to time, I don’t think you should take out debt to do so. Instead here are four smart ways to pay for your next vacation.

Save $23 Per Person, Per Week for a Year

Since the average vacation costs $1,180 per person you could save $23 dollars per week for one year to account for the cost. Just multiply the number of people in your family by $23 and you’ll have your weekly target amount.

By saving now you’ll have accumulated enough money to take your family on vacation debt free next year. Plus if you’re able to develop the discipline of saving a weekly amount for vacation you’ll have much more appreciation when vacation day rolls around.

Become a Travel Hacker

There’s a lot of buzz around travel hacking right now. In fact, it seems like everyone is doing it. And since so many people are jumping on the travel hacking bandwagon it might be a good idea to take advantage of it now before it all comes to an end.

Here’s how it works: you look for credit cards that have sign up bonuses for free hotels, flights, or other travel accommodations. When you find a sign up bonus that entices you you’ll simply get the credit card and make sure you complete the spending requirements in the allotted time.

Just make sure you’re not spending more money by using the credit card or paying annual fees. You’ll also need to pay your balance off in full each and every month or you’ll cancel out your rewards in terms of interest paid.

When you are rewarded one sign up bonus just rinse and repeat. Do make sure that you cancel your credit card before the annual fee kicks in.

Start a Vacation Side Hustle

There are some super simple things you can do online to earn vacation money. You can take surveys, read emails, and even rack up points for searching the web. If you’re looking for an easy side hustle that will allow you to accumulate money to go toward vacation, try signing up for Perk or Bing Rewards.

The above options aren’t going to make you a ton of money but if you have another skill or hobby you can turn that into a more lucrative side hustle.

For instance, you could freelance write, tutor, sell items online, or offer another type of service. You should be able to generate $50 a week in just a couple of hours. That will be enough to fund a trip for two after saving for a year.

Have a Huge Yard Sale

Having a yard sale is an awesome way to pay for vacation. You might not make the full amount needed for your trip but you can put a good dent in the balance.

Go through your house and start collecting all of the items you want to get rid of. You can start selling the items now on Facebook Yard Sales or Craigslist or you can let the items accumulate and host a traditional yard sale next summer.

Conclusion

Taking a vacation is expensive – there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re smart and willing to do a little work now you can make sure that you don’t have to take on debt to fund your trip.

The Nearly Passive Way I Earn $100+ A Month

How I Passively Earn $100 Per MonthI love finding new ways to earn money. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and I’d prefer 3 ways to earn $100/month than one way to earn $300/month. I like diversifying my income streams, so while I have a day job that provides the large majority of my income, this blog and my blog carnival submission service also help me achieve my high savings goals. I recently found a new way to earn a couple hundred dollars a month, and the reason that I’m so excited about it is that it requires barely any work! To cap it off, the “initial investment” amount can sometimes be a negative number, meaning it costs nothing to start, and you can actually make money just getting the tools ready!

 

How I’m Earning $100+ Per Month – And How You Can Earn Even More!

Through Reddit, I was introduced to Perk, an application you can install on your phone that displays videos and ads and rewards you with points. It only pays out a few cents per hour per phone, but if you follow along, watch how quickly it can add up.

I don’t use my primary phone for this, rather I bought a phone (no plan required, simply connect to WiFi) specifically designed to run the Perk app. Actually, I bought 4 (so far). I don’t have to pay much attention to it, just reset it every once in awhile or interact with a video or ad. At most, I spend 3 minutes a day on these phones, but most days it’s significantly less, maybe just a minute or two to get the phones optimized for maximum earnings. With 4 phones running, the numbers start to add up. Perk allows each user to have 5 phones, and you are allowed to have multiple accounts per household, so we could potentially get up to 10 phones running Perk.

I tracked my earnings with my phones the past week and I earned about 20,600 points, which translates into $20.60 in Amazon gift cards (I shop there often enough, it’s as good as cash for me). There are lots of other gift card options, but the PayPal option has too many fees that I don’t think it’s worth it. There was one day where I didn’t set the phones to run at all, so it was completely wasted. Typically, I’d expect a bit more, and if I added in a 5th phone (I’ll be doing that soon), I’ll easily be over the $100 mark each month. And if it continues to work as expected, Lauren may get an account of her own.

Sounds Cool, How Do I Get Started?

This is my favorite part. With most businesses or hustles, there are start-up costs that can deter you from starting. But with Perk, you can get phones for free (and sometimes even earn money getting started)! My first phone cost me $20 to buy, but TopCashBack.com had a promotion that was giving $35 back for the purchase (keep reading for instructions on how you can do this, too), so I actually made $10 on that, too! $10, a free phone plus nearly $1 a day from the phone? Score! I’ll update this page with any deals I find. Right now, TopCashBack.com is giving $10 just for signing, up, so you can guarantee a profit before you even receive your phone. Simply sign up through one of my links, and we’ll both be rewarded with $10 for our (lack of) effort.

Current Deal:

Once you’ve registered on TopCashBack.com ($10 credit just for doing so):

  1. Do a search for ‘Virgin Mobile’ and you’ll see they are offering $35 cashback for a purchase.
  2. Click the orange buttons until you get to the Virgin Mobile homepage.
  3. Search for ‘awe.’ It should show up as $39.99, but promo code AWE9CJ15 will lower the price to $24.99. That’s an instant profit of $20 for the cost of reading this article!

Next, go to Perk and sign up. Once your phone arrives, connect to your WiFi network, install the Perk app, and you’re set! If you’ve got any questions, drop them below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy Perking!

Facing Reality Head On

Facing Reality Head OnLindsay S. Bourkoff is a financial advisor at Shrier Wealth Management LLC, a boutique wealth management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, CA. Read more about Linsday at the end of the article.

As a teenager, my father would tell me stories about how my grandparents went from riches, to rags, and riches again… many times over. My Grandfather Harold passed away a successful entrepreneur, but his road to success was paved with many financial challenges. At the height of his success, he built a mansion in Beverly Hills, only to have to sell it less than 1 year later, when he lost much of his fortune.

I write this story, not to dredge up the trauma that my grandparents faced back then, but to emphasize the importance of taking action and adjusting one’s lifestyle when faced with a prolonged financial change in one’s life.

When my grandfather lost much of his wealth and realized that his loss was not a temporary situation, instead of ignoring his new financial reality, he and my grandmother made immediate changes to their lifestyle to stem further losses. They sold their brand new house, moved to much smaller, more humble home, and made drastic cuts to their spending level.

But while this may have been an extremely difficult choice, their rapid response to their deteriorated financial situation allowed them to preserve the wealth that still remained and helped them to eventually re-build their savings.

A Real Life Example

As a financial advisor practicing in Los Angeles, I advise many clients on wealth building strategies. But all of the investing and financial planning advice is useless if an individual is in denial of his or her financial problems and unwilling to confront a change in that reality.

This week I was reminded of the virtues of my grandparents’ decisive action as I coached a long-time client through a difficult personal financial period. Her income had been seriously decreasing for nearly five years because her industry was in secular decline. For many years I had advised her to sell her luxury home (with a $7,000 monthly mortgage) and use the equity in the home to pay off expensive credit card debt. I reminded her of the necessity to reduce her spending and cut out her exorbitant restaurant bills until her income stabilized. But unfortunately, none of these changes ever occurred. My client was intent on keeping her house no matter the cost and continued spending in the manner in which she was accustomed. This past week culminated in what I would call her financial ruin. She had spent down most of her liquid assets, even taking the drastic measure to withdraw all funds from her retirement account before retirement eligibility age – 10% penalty and all.

Make A Change Before It’s Too Late

Many people in their lives will encounter a stressful financial period such as losing a job, or having a business in decline. But the key to coming out on the other end solvent is foreseeing when the problem may be prolonged and then taking action. That might force someone to make the painful decision to sell a beloved home, sell expensive artwork, or re-train to a different profession.

Part of the difficulty in convincing my client to make the necessary adjustments to her lifestyle was her consistently positive attitude that her “situation would improve soon.” Each day, she hoped that her finances would turn around. For anyone going through financial problems, this mentality is certain to help keep one’s spirits up and prevent a downward emotional spiral. But when it comes to keeping and building wealth, it is crucial that one is not blinded by optimism. Most importantly, confronting financial problems head on and making the necessary lifestyle adjustments gives one a chance at making a come-back some day and leaving a legacy that grandchildren may even talk about.

Mrs. Bourkoff graduated from Columbia University cum laude. In addition to her work as a financial advisor, Mrs. Bourkoff volunteers her time with the SIFMA Foundation dedicated to investment education for children. Lindsay can be reached at lindsay@shrierwealth.com.

Securities Offered Through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.