PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 5, 2012) - For most people, summer vacation is an annual fixture on the calendar. It's that carrot dangling after a stressful winter and spring, and that much-needed break to help recharge, refresh and re-energize. However, the beneficial effects of a summer break may be short lived if there are holiday bills waiting at home.
Saving for a splurge like a summer vacation is like saving for anything else, it requires a plan, a budget and discipline, says Valley First's Connie-gay Boyce. Following a few simple but effective tips can help keep the post-holiday blues at bay.
"If a summer vacation is something you really want, you need to plan for it," says Boyce. "Even though there are a growing number of last minute deals, planning is still necessary. The longer you plan the more time you give yourself to build up a healthy holiday budget."
One of the quickest ways to kick start vacation fund is to start saving early by putting a small amount aside regularly. While it will take longer to add up, Boyce advises the smaller amount will make less impact on your everyday life and will give you the short-term satisfaction of seeing your savings grow.
As for calculating the dollars and cents you need to save, Boyce says it's wise to over-estimate rather than underestimate your expenses.
"Map out where you want to go, how long you want to go for and what you want to do," says Boyce. "From there you can get a pretty good idea of how much it will cost. Add 20 per cent to that figure and you are probably getting close to the real bottom line and determining if your dream vacation is something you can realistically afford."
Once you calculate your realistic travel costs, it's time to connect the dots with a budget. While similar to a household budget, a vacation budget is less about controlling expenses and more about saving.
"It helps to think of a vacation is a reward," says Boyce. "You may toil hard at work all year and feel entitled to some time off, but you should also work hard at sticking to a budget, especially if you're planning a getaway. Planning, budgeting and discipline will also help people avoid financing their travels with high-interest credit cards or dipping into their long-term savings accounts.
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees.