Do you want to stop dreaming about that holiday of a lifetime and make it become a reality? Well, now you can with our top savings tips from expert bloggers, which will help you cut unnecessary costs and give you the motivation you need to achieve your goal.
So, if you are willing to make a few sacrifices, or simply be savvier with your spending, you’ll be heading on a deluxe European river cruise in no time.
Open a savings account
The first step will be to open a savings account with your bank, as this will give you a safe place to store your money, which should hopefully be less easy to access than your current account. Choose an ISA that cannot be accessed via ATMs, internet banking or phone banking, and that way your money will stay put where it’s meant to, unless you encounter an emergency.
“Open a separate bank account that is just for your holiday funds and put any spare money at the end of the month in the account.” – Emma Bradley, Mums Savvy Savings
Set a deadline
Pick a realistic date which you must reach your goal by, as this will help you to remain motivated, and will give you something to aim for. Also, this way you will be able to see if you are not saving as much as you need, and it will give you time to find other ways in which you can cut your spending to get back on track.
You can even book your cruise with a deposit – with the final balance due 90 days before the cruise in most cases, you can set yourself a savings deadline and know that you’ve got a good reason to stick to it.
Decide how much you are able to save each month and set up an automated bank transfer that will happen a day or two after you get paid. It can seem like a good idea to leave the money in your bank account, with the aim of transferring this into savings at the end of the month, but this can be too tempting and may mean you dip into what you should be putting aside.
"When saving for a big, audacious goal, you want to make it another line item in your budget alongside monthly bills and everyday expenses. This reminds you to treat it like you would another expense, and also encourages you to cut back in other areas to make it happen!" -- Kalyn Brooke, Creative Savings Blog
“Go through your monthly budget and set aside what you can afford to save in the first instance and set up a standing order to a separate savings account for that amount so that your savings grow seamlessly in the background. Then top up your savings in every way you can.” – Hayley, Disease Called Debt
Keep a spending diary
There’s nothing like a shock to the system to spur you on, and keeping a spending diary can certainly have that effect. Whether you choose this tip as a motivational tool to show just how much unnecessary spending you do, or use it to record your cash splashing habits, it can often highlight areas which you may have been unaware of previously. The odd pound here and the odd pound there soon adds up, and this can be a great eye opener to this problem.
“If you’re a ‘spreadsheet’ person and you’re motivated by tracking your progress, set up a tracker in Excel that you can update when you reach a new savings milestone.” - Hayley
Sacrifice a luxury item
Did you really need that new pair of shoes you bought at the weekend? Was that magazine that you picked up in the supermarket really necessary? The answer is probably no, and these are the purchases that you really could do without. Just think, if you were to take a packed lunch with you each day, rather than buying a £5 meal deal, you could save up to £100 a month.
“Give up something that you do regularly, like buying that weekend take away or a coffee on the way to work. Pop the money into a jar and watch it soon mount up.” – Emma Bradley
Stop buying branded items
This is similar to the above tip, but rather than sacrificing the item completely, you can just buy a cheaper version. While many of us reach for the premium brands on the shelf, or household names that we regularly see on TV, all major supermarkets will provide their own alternative, which we can guarantee will save you a large amount on your weekly food bill.
Sell unused belongings
Homes tend to store a mind-boggling amount of items that we often haven’t used for months or even years. Why not have a clear out, and see if there is anything worth selling, as the money you make could all be put straight into your account to help you reach your goals sooner. There are numerous ways to get money for your unwanted possessions, such as eBay, classified adverts in the local paper and car boot sales, to mention just a few.
“Sell your old or unused items and put the money towards your holiday.” – Emma Bradley
“You could supplement your income by selling your old things on eBay. Also, if you know that family or friends are likely to buy you a gift for your birthday, Christmas or other special occasion, why not drop a few hints that you’d appreciate money for your holiday of a lifetime instead? You could ask for holiday gift vouchers too.” - Hayley
Keep reminders of your holiday destinations to hand, using them as your computer background, or stuck to the fridge with magnets. The scenery found on Rhine river cruises is not just beautiful to look at around the home – a frequent reminder of being able to see it in person will ensure you stay on track, as you’ll regularly be able to see your goal visually, which works as an incredibly powerful incentive.
Image Credit: Pictures of Money, GotCredit, Dafne Cholet, Images Money, Kristin Nador, N i c o l a, Kai Hendry, allispossible.org.uk (Flickr.com)
This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.