You have finally made it to Spring Break and a much-needed reprieve from the stresses of college life. Spring Break should be a fun time for sure, but it is important to not go overboard on spending during this week. There are many ways to go into Spring Break financially savvy and not come out broke. Planning your trip and expenses is essential to having a good time and not worrying about the impact your vacation will have on your finances. Here are just a few tips on how to prepare for Spring Break financially.
Start saving early. If you know that you want to go on a trip of any kind for Spring Break, it is a good idea to start saving up early. A good time to start thinking about saving is once you are getting back from winter break and planning for what the spring semester is going to look like. Any amount that you can set aside from each paycheck can help you get started. The earlier you start this the better. Once you have a solid idea of your Spring Break plans, then you can save accordingly. You will be more at ease knowing your trip is paid off rather than sitting on credit card debt.
Plan travel and lodging expenses early. The sooner that you are able to book hotels and flights the cheaper they will be. If you plan on going somewhere for Spring Break, be sure to look up good deals as early as possible and from multiple websites or companies. Travel and lodging are the most expensive parts of Spring Break, so it is a good idea to find any way to lessen the financial impact.
Set a limit on your spending. Once you have your expenses covered for traveling and lodging it is also important to set a limit for yourself on how much you are going to spend during the trip. Things like gas, air fare, and lodging are set prices but meals, souvenirs, and entertainment can also be very expensive additional costs. Limit yourself to a certain amount of money to spend during the trip. A good way of doing this is to have a certain amount of cash of hand specifically for the additional trip expenses.
Make your meals ahead of time. Depending on the trip you are taking, it can be very beneficial to make meals ahead of time and bring them with you. If meals are not included with your activities, you can make simple snacks and lunch food to have during the day so that not every meal is spent eating out. Eating out at every meal for a week can get very expensive.
Carpool and plan out stops. If you are going with friends and not flying, why not start the fun earlier by road tripping with them. Carpooling can save money on gas and help defray the costs between those in the car. Also a lot of popular Spring Break locations will charge for parking and having fewer cars will make parking costs less.
Spring Break should be a great time to get away and enjoy yourself with friends, but it should not bankrupt you. Hopefully these tips will inspire you to think of new and creative ways to be smart about your money during Spring Break!Adam Clement Peer Counselor I Powercat Financial Counseling www.k-state.edu/pfc