Americans were recently asked to rank their future financial goals and vacations came in fourth on a list compiled by NerdWallet. It is no wonder why holidays are so important to so many parents. Many can barely muster two hours together after work and school, and that means that many dreams, experiences, and thoughts are shared during the rare times that the clock stops ticking - holidays. Cruises are a great option for families wishing to bond yet also enjoy the luxury of massages, entertainment, water sports, exercise classes, and more. If you think a cruise might be right for you, how can you start saving to make your dream a reality?
Choose an Affordable Cruise
Cruising is one of the most advantageous ways for families to travel, taking into account the fact that flight prices are continuing to increase, and cruise prices include everything from accommodation to snacks, group classes, entertainment, etc. Of course, you will have to factor in extra costs such as day tours, shopping, and such, but there are many ways to enjoy your ports of call without paying extra. The key is to plan way ahead and make a list of free and affordable family activities. Some of the most affordable liners include Princess Cruises, Holland-American Line, and Norwegian Cruises.
Don’t Stash It, Bank It
Once you work out your goal and how much you need to set aside to achieve it, don’t be tempted to stash your money in a jar. Informal savings such as these can easily get spent. Rather, a savings account is the way to go, since it will be easier to align it with an app like Mint, to track savings, spending, etc. Some banks allow you open an account with small amounts, regardless of your previous history. Aim to find a high yield savings account if possible. Some offer as much as 2.25% and do not require a minimum balance. Download Mint, and use some of its most savings-centered features. These include the receipt of reminders if you are approaching budget limits for specific expense types, advice regarding your spending habits, and reminders of bills to be paid. Staying on top of monthly expenses is key if you are to avoid accruing interest and other expenses that can put a dent in your savings in the long run.
Determine the Amount You Need to Save
Saving becomes disorganized when you don’t have a specific number to work towards. This is why you need to come to a grand total, adding up ticket costs, day excursions, museum entrance costs, etc. All of this information is available from the sites most popular sites, so make it a point to visit each site and list down exact amounts. Only this way will you glean a good idea of the amount you are looking at for the size of your family.
Do you have a gym membership that costs you $50 a month? Do you like to treat yourself to a fancy dinner, spending in the region of $50 or $60 per person? Add these and other costs up to a full year; they could amount to the price of a cruise ticket. It is easy to still enjoy life while cutting back on luxuries. After all, you are saving for something much more satisfying in the long run. There are many ways you can enjoy similar experiences. For instance, you might take turns with your spouse to enjoy one gourmet homemade meal a week, or find an exercise buddy who will run, swim, or play team sports with you - all of which involve no expense at all. Whenever you feel tempted to spend, remember what you are saving for; use image boards or watch videos of your chosen cruise and dream of the moment when you actually sail away.