Classes are in full swing, the first round of tests are over with, so that means it’s time to start thinking about the next time our brains will get to rest, spring break! Spring break is the half way point of the spring semester and is intended to give students a week to relax, collect themselves, and finish the second half of the semester strong. Although, many students are worried about how they are going to fund this big trip their friends are planning. And of course, there’s no way you can miss it, right? I’m going to elaborate on a couple tips I have for you to have an enjoyable spring break, yet a financially responsible one.
First, create a budget for your trip. This will allow you to put a limit on each category of spending and get more out of every dollar. Not only should you create a budget, but ask your friends if they want join you as well. If so, you’ll be more inclined to stick to it throughout the trip. You’ll have an easier time staying motivated and less of a chance to overspend if you can get the group you are going with to budget with you. Getting together weeks in advance of your trip and creating a budget as a group would be very beneficial to the overall financial burden of the trip.
When traveling for an extended period of time, food expenses start to add up quick. For example, if you get up and have coffee and a quick breakfast ($5), go out for lunch ($12), and then eat a nice dinner ($16); you’ve already spend around $30 for the day. Throughout the week, the total amount you end up spending on food could be well over $200. To avoid costs like this, the simplest thing to do is plan ahead. Before heading out to your destination, throw in some lunch meat, granola bars, peanut butter, or anything else that would make for a quick and easy meal. Not only will quick meals be less of a burden on your budget, they will also allow you to spend more time on the beach, on the slopes, or wherever else you decide to go. It creates a win-win situation! With that being said, no one wants to go on vacations and eat ham sandwiches the entire trip. Budget for a night out at a restaurant in the area, but stay within the limits you set for yourself. Allocate your money ahead of time to save yourself the headache (and possibly heartache) when you return home.
If you are looking for a cheap place to stay, Airbnb and VRBO are both good options. They are both an online marketplace that lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms. So instead of staying in a hotel room that has exponentially raised their prices because of spring break, you can save money by splitting rooms with the group you’re traveling with through Airbnb or VRBO. Not only is it cheaper, but it also provides more of a “home” feel. You are legitimately staying in someone else’s home, apartment, condo, etc. for the week. Besides the cheaper price, the best part is they are often found in prime locations (right next to that expensive hotel). Another plus would be that you have an “in” with some locals. Not only would they offer you a place to stay, but they might cook a few meals for you, have some recommendations on restaurants, or know some fun, extra activities that may not be too popular among tourists.
Next, I have a couple road trips tips to help you save money and prevent potential problems along the way. GasBuddy is a free app available on Apple and Android phones that allows you to enter your location and find the lowest price gas in your area. A couple cents might not feel like a lot at the time, but if you fill up a couple times throughout the week it will add up to a substantial amount. To prevent problems while you’re on the trip, it’s a good idea to have your car maintenance up to make. Get an oil change, check your tires, and double check to make sure you have any emergency equipment you might need. Having a car breakdown will not only ruin your break, but also leave a hefty dent in your bank account.
Finally, make sure you attend our Spring Break NOT Spring Broke event on Thursday, March 1st from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm in the Union ground floor courtyard. There will be games, prizes like Yeti tumblers, and more opportunities to learn about budgeting, saving, and many other financial topics. If you would like assistance starting your budget for spring break, or have any other financial related questions, make an appointment with us by going to https://ksu.edu/powercatfinancial and click ‘Request an Appointment’. Have a safe, enjoyable, and financially responsible spring break!