Even with the powerful incentive of the trip of a lifetime, saving can be tough: but follow our tips and you'll find your coffers fill much faster.
Plan your trip
The first step towards realising a goal is seeing it clearly. To set effective targets, you need to know the details. Estimate the cost of:
- Flights Accommodation
- Travel: taxis, car rental, train trips
- Holiday essentials (cosmetics, clothes and kit)
- Food and drink
- Excursions and treats
- Phone costs
- Travel insurance
- Contingency fund (at least 10% of your total)
Now you know what you want, decide when you want it. Choose a time that suits your schedule, but also a realistic timeframe to save.
Next, break your target down to work out how much your need to be saving per month and week. For example, if you wanted a £2,600 luxury trip to Italy next June, you'd need to save £200 a month, or £47 a week, starting May this year.
Make daily savings
Breaking down your savings targets into manageable, short-term goals helps you to identify the small savings that make a difference.
Try adding up the cost of small luxuries you don't really need - whether it's a drink after work or a chocolate bar at lunch, you'll find it all adds up. Tools like Thomas Cook's resolution calculator can help give you an idea of things you can cut down on in order to save up.
See the big picture
Changing small habits makes a difference, but for real savings it's vital to look at all those direct debits and bill payments that automatically exit your account every month.
Use our free Money Dashboard budgeting software to collect all of your account details in one place, and monitor where the money goes. Once you have a clear view, you'll soon spot the areas in which you can save; whether it's reducing energy usage, eliminating late payment charges or cutting grocery bills.
Assess your suppliers
Can you negotiate a lower credit card rate? Get more from your bank? Find cheaper groceries? Get cheaper gas? Ask yourself all of these questions, and more besides. Make the most of price comparison tools, promotions and price wars to get the best value on every essential.
You may find some suppliers are already offering you the best deal, but just one change might make a big difference in meeting your savings goals and earning your dream holiday.
Make the most of rewards
Once you've got the cheapest deal and the best batch of extras, use them wisely. If you've got a cashback deal on your credit card, and you pay it off every month, use it for your essentials to earn extra money. Likewise, loyalty points can add up to substantial savings. Some sites, like Quidco, will even pay you to shop there.
Leave no stone unturned
The most intrepid exploring comes before you set off, when you're seeking out value and hunting for savings. Our list is a great start, but it's by no means exhaustive, and we'd love to hear about other tactics and tips you uncover. Let us know about them in the comments field below.
Posted by Marc Murphy