What journey is your dream vacation? A week on Broadway in the Big Apple? Communing with kangaroos in the Australian outback? A cruise down the Danube with stops in world capitals of Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade?
Whatever your fancy, you’ll first need to save money to turn that dream into a vacation reality. If that prospect seems daunting, Opportunity Bank of Montana, Member FDIC/Equal Housing Lender, offers time-tested tips on how to go about it.
1. Research Your Trip
You won’t know what you’re saving for until you price it. Beyond airfare and hotels, make sure you consider all the fractional costs, like transfers, tips, transportation in-country, insurance, cell phone roaming charge, and kenneling costs for Fido. Information is easy to find, but don’t forget the best source – friends and family who have traveled to your destination.
2. Determine Your Budget
You can’t realistically commit to save any amount unless you’ve made a budget and determined how to make room for this new expense. Once you’ve identified your income and expenses, it will be clear whether or not you need to eliminate expenditures and how long it will take you to save up enough money.
3. Make the Emotional Commitment
Once you’ve identified what you’re saving for and how much you need, make the commitment to yourself to cut expenses and stockpile money on a regular basis. Hold yourself accountable to your goal by writing it down and posting it somewhere you can see it every day. Accept no excuses and make your commitment public. Tell your friends and family, and ask them to hold you accountable, too. Be prepared to succeed when you start budgeting and saving – nothing can stop you from achieving your vacation goals.
4. Start Now!
Here’s where that single step comes into play – the sooner you begin, the closer you are to your goal. You’ve done all the research, now start saving. Opportunity Bank of Montana can help with its Christmas Club accounts that automatically move money from checking into interest-bearing savings. The balance plus interest is withdrawn and either transferred to an existing Opportunity Bank account or mailed directly to you in November. Visit here for more information.
5. Find Small Ways to Save Every Day
That $5 latte, the unnecessary car travel, eating out at lunch – you know the drill. There are so many mini-sacrifices we all can make to trim our personal costs every week. Having a purpose and a goal makes passing on these extravagances easier.
6. Entertain Yourself at Low-Cost in the Meantime
The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts outside of Helena is always good for a free self-guided tour.
Bozeman and Missoula, host art walks that are 100 percent free to the public.
Visit the Western Heritage Museum in Billings for only five dollars, or wait for the free admission days.
Walk through the ghost towns of Virginia City or Nevada City.
Visit the free Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge.
Ride the free Missouri River ferry at Virgelle Mercantile about an hour north of Great Falls.
Take a Montana Brewery Tour – travel across the state and visit one of Montana’s many craft breweries.
Hike one of the many spectacular mountains in the Montana Rockies.
Spend 70 dollars on a Yellowstone pass and entertain yourself all year.
7. Plan a Themed Staycation for Inspiration
Saving for a trip to the Amalfi coast? Take your time off and learn Italian, eat Italian food and listen to Enrico Caruso sing. You’re having fun, preparing for your trip and saving money all at once!
Opportunity Bank of Montana has helped Montanans save for their dreams for 95 years. They can help you save for your dream vacation, too. To learn more, visit OpportunityBank.com or stop by one of the nearby branches.