Article provided by Nerdwallet.com
Extend Vacation Happiness, Not Your Budget
Relaxing on vacation sometimes can make people too relaxed about their spending. Psychologically it’s common to take the notion of freedom too far and shed money constraints. But in reality, people are happier when they’re in control — and losing control of the budget on vacation can lead to stress and unhappiness after it ends.
Here are some ways to enjoy your vacation and extend your happiness, not your budget:
Set a goal for the vacation. Before you go dragging a reluctant spouse sightseeing, decide what you really want from a vacation. Maybe when you think about it, you simply want some down time, so find that in a place you can afford. Lying by the water and listening to the kids happily splashing around can still make most people smile, no matter the place.
Make a budget and factor in all the costs. Account for all expenses big and small, at home and at your destination: food, airfare, transportation, hotel, tips, admission fees to activities and baggage fees. Seeing the whole picture can not only help you plan for what you’ll spend, but it may also determine where you go and what you can do.
Add a little extra. It may sound like an oxymoron, but budget for overspending. Adding 10% of your vacation budget gives you some financial freedom, and you may find yourself more psychologically able to stay on your spending plan.
Use one credit card. Charging all your vacation expenses on one credit card lets you track spending easily online and can help you make sure you’re sticking to your budget. Another option is to get a prepaid debit card and load it with the budgeted amount so that you can’t overspend.
Take home memories instead of mementoes. Photos of your trip will remind you of the fun times and bring back happy feelings long after the vacation is over. Consider printing the best ones to hang in your home and give as gifts instead of buying overpriced souvenirs. Do your parents want you to bring them another trinket, or would they adore a framed photo of you, smiling and relaxed, instead?
If necessary, take a short-term loan. If this year’s vacation is set and you’re short on money, you may need to consider a personal loan from a lender such as Community First Guam Federal Credit Union, if you can get a low interest rate and pay it back quickly.
Save for next year’s vacation. Get a head start and open a Share Master savings account dedicated to your next excursion. Often you can get a better return on what you save by opening a savings share certificate, which means agreeing not to touch the money for a set period of time in exchange for a higher rate.
Psychologists say that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions, so don’t begrudge yourself a vacation. Just remember that your spending is in your control. Stay within the budget and you’ll come home a happy camper.
Terri Kaufman, NerdWallet
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