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Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but it’s hard to unwind when you’re constantly stressing about how you’re going to pay for your time away.

Whether it’s a road trip, which takes you off the unbeaten path; a cruise, or another much-needed getaway to an all-inclusive resort, now is the time to start saving up for that vacation you’ve been dreaming of for months.

Michael Collins, sales development specialist at JN Bank, advises that persons should start saving for their vacation months or even a year in advance to ensure they don’t derail their lives, or finances, in order to enjoy their get-a-way.

“With a little creativity, you can bulk up your bank account and be ready to hit the road or beach in style, without going into debt to do it,” he said.

Mr Collins provides three strategies to save for your next vacation. “Saving money is something many of us struggle with, but a dream vacation is perfect motivation to get many of us started,” he said.

  1. Open a Dedicated Vacation Bank Account

One easy way to save for a special trip is to open a dedicated vacation savings account. If you choose a high-yield savings account, your money might even grow a bit while you’re looking forward to your trip.

You can open a savings or vacation account at your local bank.

“Some institutions, like JN Bank, offer a special vacation account for persons who want to save specifically for that purpose,” he guided. “The goal is to ensure that your vacation savings are kept separately from your regular savings to safeguard against you withdrawing the money.”

Set up automatic payments into the account, and, with a little restraint, leave that money there until it’s time for your trip. Further build up your vacation account balance by depositing any $100, $500 or $1,000 bills that you receive as change from everyday purchases. Funnel any extra money — like a work bonus or birthday cash — into your vacation fund as well.

“If you have a side job and don’t rely on the income to cover your essential expenses, then you can also save that money toward your upcoming getaway.

  1. Create a Savings Goal

If you budget for your trip in advance, you don’t have to spend time stressing over your spending while you’re on vacation.

Research the costs of your expected expenditures, such as airfare, rental cars, gas, hotel stays, meals, souvenirs, special excursions and tickets to attractions or events. After totaling those costs, you’ll have an estimation of how much you’ll need to save.

Now work backwards to reach your savings goal. Divide your estimated vacation cost by the number of months you have before taking your trip to figure out how much money to set aside each month. For example, if you’re taking a US$2,400 vacation a year from now, you’d need to save US$200 a month to fund your getaway.

If your vacation date isn’t set in stone, you could figure out how much you’d like to save monthly and divide your total estimated vacation cost by your monthly savings amount to figure out when you can afford to take your trip. Using the US$2,400 vacation example, if you could only afford to save US$150 a month, you’d have the funds for your trip 16 months from now.

  1. Cut Back on Your Monthly Food Budget

For many households, especially those with little ones or teenagers, food can be a huge monthly expense. Shave a little off the top and in no time, you’ll notice you’ve got some extra cash to put toward your getaway.

Save money by buying in bulk or by shopping at the local market. Better yet, shop at participating JN discount providers and access between five and 20 per cent discount under the JN Group’s “Show Your Card & Save” members’ loyalty programme. For more details, visit our website at JN Rewards for the over 200 participating merchants island-wide.

Also, start a garden in your backyard, or save on produce by re-growing vegetables, such as hot and sweet peppers, as well as escallion, at home. Or simply look for a few items you don’t really need, such as soda and sweet treats, and keep them out of your grocery cart, while you’re saving for your vacation. Wouldn’t that ice cream taste even better if you were eating it on the beach?

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