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Avoiding a Spring Break spending spree

Whether you are like thousands of families getting ready to head out for spring break or you are spring breaking at home, the week of Spring Break is a potential financial crisis caused by overspending.  Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep your spending under control.
Where do most people end up overspending on Spring Break?
Interestingly it is usually not on the destination or lodging choices or even the travel.  Most people research and find good deals.  The financial miscues often come once they have arrived at their destination. Or if they stay at home, their choices during the week of staycationing that seem completely justified when making them.
What are some of the typical financial mistakes that people make?
One of the biggest is centered around food and eating. Most don’t have a plan for this part of the vacation. It is very easy to end up eating at expensive locations for most meals, which can be a serious financial setback. A family of 4 can spend $200 to $300 per day on food, which over the course of 7 days could be nearly $2,000.
What are other times people make poor choices on spending while on vacation?
When we are on vacation, many people want to be entertained so they start looking for activities each day. These impulse activities can get expensive very quickly and add in the souvenirs that come with these activities and before people realize, they have spent an unplanned $1,000.
Why do so many people spend like this on vacation?
It starts with the fact they use their credit card while on vacation and just don’t realize how quickly it all adds up.  Most people don’t keep a ledger on what they are spending each day.  Another contributing factor is that most rationalize all of the expenses because they are on vacation. Vacations can create a feeling that carefree spending is okay.
What are your suggestions for avoiding vacation overspending?
Develop a spending plan for the entire vacation, not just the transportation and lodging. Set a budget for daily food expenses, activities and souvenir expenses. Once you have a budget, then plan your meals and activities accordingly.
The hard part seems to be staying on budget.
That is absolutely the most difficult part, mostly because no one wants to track expenses while on vacation, however this is vitally important.  You don’t have to be precise but rounding to the nearest $10 will keep you mostly on track and that is enough to avoid a bad financial surprise later.
What do you say to the people who want to be more spontaneous on vacation?
You don’t have to follow your plan on activities and eating to the letter, you just have to not overspend. If you decide to spend more on an activity or dinner, just make sure to make adjustments and do something less expensive for the next activity or eat a less expensive meal.  It is all about having a balanced budget at the end of the week.

Posted: 3/9/2017 with 0 comments

Categories: Money Matters, Planning, Spending

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