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Budgeting For Your Summer Vacation

people with a car on the beach
By: Kevin Brauer
President and Chief Executive Officer

Date: April 27, 2022

Having a budget is essential to success in meeting any of life’s financial goals, whether it be affording expenses in college, navigating a pay cut or planning out a summer vacation. Organizing your budget ahead of time will allow you to relax and enjoy a stress-free vacation without derailing your financial wellbeing in the process.

Budgeting for a summer vacation can appear to be a daunting task at first but taking it in bite size pieces will help you successfully navigate the process. There are many strategies and tips to follow when diving into financial planning for a fun summer vacation, and the below points are some of the most important to consider.

Consider the economic environment

In a time of high inflation, such as this upcoming summer, it is crucial to consider that prices won’t be the same as they were for your last vacation. This includes travel, food, and entertainment. In February 2022, the cost1 of flights were up almost 13 percent year over year and hotel rates were up 40 percent from March of 2021. The data, which came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also found that food, shelter, and gasoline were among some of the highest goods to increase.

Taking the economic environment into consideration when planning a vacation is especially important. There are ways in which you can cut costs on this front by grocery shopping instead of eating out, considering the cost of flying vs. driving to your destination and other creative ways to reduce the overall price tag. This can become stressful, especially if you are vacationing with your family. Focusing on quality time together instead of packing in as many activities as possible is key. For example, turn one of your family boardwalk nights into a family game night on the beach instead. Do your best not to let the increasing prices around you keep you from enjoying your time on vacation.

Decide on what is most important to you

Deciding what is going to make you and those you are vacationing with most happy is important when writing out your budget. If you are traveling somewhere where you are particularly interested in trying new foods and experiencing the culture, make sure you incorporate more restaurants and related activities into your plan. Focus on what means the most to you about this particular trip and cut back in other areas.

Deciphering between needs and wants is also essential. The obvious two are food and shelter. However, there are many options available when it comes to those two things. Research hotels that are clean and good quality but might not have the hot tub or sushi bar that a more expensive one has. Extra perks are great but won’t contribute to your goals for the trip or your overall financial wellbeing. Once your priorities have been determined, allocate your budget accordingly.

Track your spending in real time

Budgeting for your summer vacation is not over once you write your expenses out. As tedious as it sounds, tracking your spending as you go will ensure that you stick to the budget that you created. That’s not to say that you have to jot down “french fries” in your budgeting book the second after you order them but save your receipts and take 20 minutes at the end of each day to sit down and subtract what you spent from your total funds.

Don’t lose sight of the end goal of returning from a relaxing vacation feeling stress-free and on track with your financial goals. Keep in mind that the little things can add up and take you by surprise. That can be avoided completely by sticking to your budget. Tracking everything you spend money on can take some of the stress off of your shoulders about wondering how much you have left to spend before you are in dangerous territory.

According to a survey2 by, 8 in 10 respondents said that they track their monthly income and expenses. 85% of those respondents also noted that the simple process of budgeting has helped to get them out of debt or keeps them out of it. This shows the power that budgeting can have over the way you spend your money.

Your financial wellbeing is not just about the money in your wallet but is directly related to your mental and emotional wellbeing as well. Having a relaxing summer vacation that recharges you and makes you truly happy should be top priority when creating a budget. Before you put pen to paper, consider what is going to make you and your family happy and create a budget around those needs.

For help determining how to make the most of your vacation budget, get in touch with a trusted financial professional to help you create a plan that will be best for you. Our Affinity team is ready to help, by appointment in our branches3 and online4.

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments.

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