Saving for Vacation When You Are “Rent Poor”

couple planning honeymoonMany of us have dreams of traveling the world while we are young and have our whole lives ahead of us. But if you are living on a budget in an expensive city, most of your income may be devoted to rent, utilities, paying off student loans, and everyday living expenses. How can you afford to take a vacation when your money goes towards your apartment? My boyfriend and I are in this situation right now, planning a trip to Italy on our graduate student salaries. Here are some of the strategies we have figured out to help us save up for a trip.  Feel free to copy them to satisfy your wanderlust!

Open up a separate savings account just for your trip, and enroll in automatic payments

Many banks will allow you to open a separate savings account without having a minimum balance requirement or maintenance fees. Look for one of these savings accounts, especially one that has a high interest rate to build your vacation funds. You can also enroll in automatic payments and have part of your paycheck transferred to this account. Your account will grow faster when the money doesn’t touch your checking account and risk being spent.

Set a time limit for when you will be extra frugal with spending

Nobody likes to hear this, but it may be time to nix shopping for new shoes and going out on both Fridays and Saturdays in order to save some extra cash. However, if you set a goal that you will only have to live frugally for a specific time, it’ll make saving money easier to accomplish and making sacrifices more bearable. “Save for 3 months” sounds a lot easier to stick with than “save every penny”.

Find ways to reduce living expenses during your savings “spurt”

Try shopping at a cheaper grocery store for the time being. Cancel Netflix or HBO for 2 months. Every little bit helps with saving for a vacation and because it is only temporary, you’ll barely have the time to miss these luxuries! And once you meet your savings goal, you can reward yourself by binge watching Game of Thrones or Stranger Things!

Sell some old stuff for extra cash

Selling items you no longer use online or in person will also help you allocate money toward a vacation! Try Craigslist for old furniture, Crossroads/Threadup/Poshmark for clothes, and Network or Gazelle for old electronics. You will be amazed with how much money you can receive for your old stuff!

Happy travels!

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Author My First Apartment
Anna R.

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Anna R. is currently a research assistant in a biology lab in the Bay Area and is interested in pursuing a Ph.D in Genetics. When she’s not daydreaming about food and browsing recipes on Pinterest, she likes to spend her free time dancing, paddle boarding and swimming. She’s been through a number of different housing situations and is eager to share her experiences with other MFA readers!

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