Summer Vacation Saving

For many families, summer means vacation time. Financial professional Dale McCarty, President of Retirement Designers Financial, says it’s not too late to start saving and planning for a trip this summer.

1. What advice do you have to make that trip happen?
- First, you want to figure out what your vacation is going to cost. You’ll want to look at hotel, transportation and dining costs among other things. Once you know that number, you can figure out a savings plan.
--Also, it sometimes pays off to book at the last minute! [i]Expedia just came out with a new survey that shows the time to book summer airfare is 21-30 days out from your trip AND Sunday tends to be the day to find deals.
---Also, the study found it pays to book your hotel room at the last minute, if you can. Now this won’t work for everyone, but those who book less than six days before traveling typically save more than 15% on their hotel room. And Expedia found the day to book is on a Friday.

2. How do we start saving money? It’s not too late?
- The first thing I’d recommend is setting up a separate vacation savings account. Have that money directly deposited from your paycheck into a vacation fund you can’t touch!
- Next cut back on unnecessary expenses. We all have things we waste money on whether it’s expensive coffee drinks or gym memberships we aren’t using. Then deposit that money you aren’t spending, straight into your vacation savings account.
- Finally, maybe look into getting a side job. You can find a host of part-time jobs online to earn extra money. Everything from pet sitting to caring for seniors, a couple hours a day, in their homes.

3. You mentioned budgeting. Do you have any favorite budgeting smartphone apps or computer programs?
- Yes! It’s so important to keep track of your saving and spending and there are a lot of resources to make it easy to do. Mint and Every Dollar are a couple good smartphone apps. It allows you to see where your money is going and adjust to stay on track.

4. Any other advice for cutting down the expense of a trip, without sacrificing fun?
- You might want to consider applying for a credit card that offers rewards for things like airlines or hotels. If you know you can pay that balance off, it could help save money.
- Don’t forget to check home-rental sites like vrbo.com. You can save money on lodging, especially if you have a large group, and you can cut down on expenses by cooking your own food.
- Look for inexpensive entertainment in the cities you visit. Parades, festivals, outdoor musicians, and even zoos and museums can offer great entertainment for your family.