Vacation budgeting is a must when times are tough, but there are things you can do to cut costs when planning your trip. In this Fox 4 News segment, “Can you afford your vacation?”, Cathy DeWitt Dunn discusses ways to make your vacation affordable.
Jenny Anchondo: Gas prices are lower, compared to this time last year anyway, but before you set on a cross country road, financial planner Cathy DeWitt Dunn is here to discuss some ways to make it affordable. Good morning, Cathy.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: Good morning.
Jenny: Okay, so we found this crazy statistic. According to a consumer survey done by Tripping.com, one in six people would forgo paying their actual bills to save up to go on a vacation, which I’m way too paranoid to do that, but it sounds like a lot of people really want to go on vacay, and you have the plan to keep things from getting crazy.
Cathy: I hope I do, but I’ll tell you what. By doing that, you’re going to reduce your credit score, so one of the challenges is that if you have one 30 day late payment, you can reduce your credit score by 100 points. That’s going to interfere with your ability to get a mortgage, a loan on a car, higher interest rates on credit cards and that’s just not really the way you should go out and about and having a vacation, by going past due on your debt.
Jenny: Sure. So you really want to think about it in a long term way. Okay, yes, you want this vacation that’s happening this summer, but the long term ramifications of a low credit score sounds like can be awful.
Cathy: Yeah, and very expensive.
Jenny: So, let’s talk about what we need to do if we’re thinking “I’m going to ignore just that, I want to go on a vacation anyway.” How can you make it affordable, and really doable?
Cathy: Well, I think what you have to do is you’re going to take a look at your budget. What can you afford? And take a look at your bills. I’ve got a great budget worksheet at WomenMoneyAndPower.com. Take a look at how much money you’re bringing in, what your obligations are, and then put some money away towards a vacation budget. Put that money away, have it automatically debited out of your checking account, out of sight, out of mind, and that’s a great vacation fund for you.
Jenny: Okay, so plan on funding it. Then, also, I know you say to be realistic. So, if the budget is tight, now may not be the year for your dream vacation. You could do something smaller.
Cathy: Absolutely. One of the things you could do is a lot of people are looking at stay vacations, which is really something where you could go and utilize a resort here in town versus staying at their hotel during the night, and utilize their entire property. There’s lots of great websites. You could also take a look at running some homes versus staying at a big resort. So, there’s lots of great options. You can go on the internet look for all kinds of deals.
Jenny: Yes, rent a home in town, one of these beautiful mansions that you’ve always driven by, and wanted to stay in, that sort of thing. The other thing you say is “Sleep Cheaper.” What do you mean by that?
Cathy: Well, that’s one of the big things, is everybody thinks you always need to stay at a resort. What you want to do is maybe take a look at going to a bed and breakfast or maybe going camping or doing some things that you wouldn’t normally do. If you really have to get away this season, you could really save a lot of money.
Jenny: Camping is such a blast. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s always fun. We always did that as our family vacation. The other thing you say is “Eat for less.” Spend less money of the food while you’re out.
Cathy: Absolutely, because that can actually be sometimes more expensive than the lodging. Take some snacks with you, take some food away in a cooler. If you can find a hotel that has a little kitchenette, make your meals in the room. Set a budget for how much you really want to spend on food, and stick to it. If you fall off, just get right back on track, but really watch how much money you’re spending on food.
Jenny: Yeah, I know you were saying that you’re somebody who does take the food, make it yourself.
Cathy: I do, I love it. One of my little deep dark secrets, take my hot plate and my little pan. I’m saving money, and saving calories.
Jenny: I love it. Well, it’s all out there now. Okay, Cathy DeWitt Dunn, thank you. Her website is up on our website, Fox4News.com.