Ballin' On A Budget
We all wish that we could go on vacation, not worry about money, and just life our best life and spend, spend, spend...unfortunately, if you are anything like me and my friends, you're ballin' on a budget. It's not that we don't have the money to do the things that we want to be smart with our money. so we have to plan. So for all my homies, who want to travel it up during the spring and summer months, let's talk about some ways that you can best manage your money on your trips.
Plan of Action
Before you even get into how you're going to allocate your budget, where you will eat at, blah blah blah, you need to have a set number of how much you want to spend on your vacation all together. Now, this is a goal spending amount, just something to keep in mind throughout the trip, and something that will keep you on track when deciding how, when and where you will spend your money.With this, don't be too hung up on staying under this goal amount, because things happen (like emergencies), and plans change. Also, don't set an unrealistic money goal. Like if you're going to L.A., don't try and make your budget less than 200 because L.A. is expensive, and you defs wont stay under 200. SO make you goal based on where you go.
Staying on Track
One of the hardest things about staying on budget during a trip is remembering all of the purchases that you have made. Yeah, online banking is a thing of beauty, but sometimes it can take a while for it to get up-to-date with all your recent transactions. So how do you stay on track without completely relying on technology? Easy. Save your receipts. I know, I know it's kind of "old school" but it's a really great method to keep track of all your purchases, especially when you pay with a card a lot (like I do, because I never have cash). So here's how you go about saving your receipts:
First of all, always ask for a receipt when you are paying with a card...and if you're paying for cash as well.
Label your receipts: Make sure you know what days you got each receipt on, and what they were for. This way you won't be looking at these pieces of paper confused because you can't remember when you spent 25 dollars at Chick-Fil-A.
Circle the numbers: Make sure you circle the cost on your receipt, just to know what amount you're looking at.
Finally, record them on a separate sheet, like an excel spreadsheet, so that you can total up your expenses throughout your trip.
The Art of Finessing the System
Staying on budget while traveling means that you gotta learn the tricks and secrets that will keep you from paying out more cash than you should. So figure out where you can get in free, where the cheapest places to park are, and the best places to eat at on a budget. Trust me, you can defs bust the code to traveling cheap as long as you take the time to do some research beforehand.
Probably the biggest thing that will help you in staying on budget for your trip is practicing self-control. If you say that you are only going to spend 50 dollars on clothing, then stick to it. If you keep making exceptions and changing what you want or what you had originally planned, then you won't stay on track and you'll just end up hurting your wallet. So put down the 100 dollar camisole and step away from the over-priced coffee, and really go through these following questions when spending on a trip:
Do you need it?
Will it add value to your life?
Did you budget for it? If No, Are you okay with spending Money on it?
What will you have to sacrifice in order to acquire this item/ Particpate in this activity?
If after asking yourself these questions, you are still sure about purchasing whatever it is, then go ahead. But if you aren't, then don't do it. I also practice the whole model of "only buy it if you love it" (Shoutout to my mom Kim on that one), so I encourage you to practice that.
In the end, budgeting on a trip is honestly the wisest thing that you can start practicing as a young 20-something. I mean, you spent all that time saving and preparing for it, that it would be a same for you to blow all your money on one thing. So don't be scared! Break out your folders, open your excel sheets, and let's get to budgeting!
*Check out my excel sheet below to see how I went about making my budget sheet and some tips to make your budget sheet work for you.
Make sure that you make a not of all th expenses and what they are for.
If you are traveling with a friend, make sure to keep track of who payed for what if you are splitting the costs of certain things. And also make sure that you pay each other back! (traveling is too expensive to be all "Oh I'll just pay you back later, or I'll just buy this if you buy that")
Record whether you paid for the items or activities with a debit or credit card.
Record everything spent, even if you didn't spend anything for a certain category, make sure you make a note of it an dput in $0.00 for amount spent.
Things to know about Excel: starting off a cell with an "=" means you are starting an equation, so you can add upp cells like that, or you can put the "=" and using the "SUM()"equation to add together cells. This is especially useful when you are doing column totals.
Finally, put a calendar of activities you plan to do on the excel sheet. This way you'll be able to make a note of what you did on what days.