For past vacations, my wife and I would typically take less than $100 cash for the vendors that might not accept plastic, and then just depend on our credit cards and debit cards for the rest of the purchases. This worked out alright, but it occasionally resulted in tension between us. ‘Should we really eat at this restaurant? It seems expensive. I haven’t been able to look at our account lately, but I think we are over-budget.” Vacations are essential for relaxation, but when I was left wondering if we had any money left, my anxiety was even higher than when I was juggling 4 projects at work!
Since my wife and I are recently more focused on our personal finances, we decided to do something a litle different for our vacation to Mackinac Island. Instead of depending on our debit cards (we no longer have credit cards), we took cash. Based on what we wanted to do there, we decided that $400 was plenty for the entire trip (not including the hotel. This was booked online ahead of time). This was the best vacation I ever took! First of all, it was a great place to vacation, but when Dar and I looked at the money we had left mid-vacation, it made it so much easier to decide if we truly wanted to spend $10 on that half mile carriage ride back to our hotel.
Reasons to pay cash for your next vacation:
1. Pre-vacation Communication. If your family decides that you’re going to use cash for the vacation, you must also decide on what the amount will be. Families spend a lot less on their vacations when they decide on the budget ahead of time.
2. Cash is Visual. When you’re in the middle of the vacation, you can easily lay out the cash and know exactly how much you have left. Some of you may be nervous to carry a large amount of cash, but yet you aren’t nervous when you give an 18-year old waiter your debit/credit card to take to the back-room at a restaurant? Spread out your cash, some in the suitcase, some in your pocket, and if you trust your wife perhaps you can give her some to put in her purse (for the record, I gave my wife half of our vacation money. Love you hunny!)
3. Keeps the Peace. There’s always that point in every vacation when one person hints that they want to spend “X” amount of dollars and asks if there’s enough in the budget. Rather than fighting about how much each of you thinks is left, you can quickly count it and make the decision immediately. It’s worked great for us!
4. You Don’t Have to Track it. Once the withdrawl is made from the bank, you no longer have to keep track of all those expenses! When we would use our debit/credit card, I had to go through every single transaction and verify that we indeed did make that purchase. No matter how much my wife thinks I enjoyed it (since I’m the numbers nerd), it really wasn’t at all exciting.
5. Cash is Accepted Everywhere. Credit Cards may not be accepted everywhere, but cash sure is!
Utilize these steps and you’re sure to save money on that next vacation and hopefully will soon be debt free!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.