In my other life (well, one of them) I’m a frugal blogger, so I am all about the power of budgeting and saving for the good things in life. I love to travel but with two kids and a third on the way there is not much extra money kicking around for trips.
So I was intrigued by TravelMuse’s new Yaycations calculator, which promises to help “discover the vacation budget you never knew you had,” by helping you save money on other stuff. Then the site inspires you to follow through by showing you actual vacation packages you could purchase with your planned savings.
The calculator walks you through common spending categories and asks you to select certain things to sacrifice. For instance, you can choose to sacrifice one $3.50 latte a week and earmark the saved $182 for your vacation budget, then forgo one restaurant lunch a week to sock away an additional $364 to $2500.
Once you’ve worked your way through the 20 spending categories, Yaycations helps you figure out what kind of vacation you could buy with what you hope to save. Promise to give up a lot of expensive restaurant meals, and TravelMuse has you in Kauai; only give up a few lattes and it will suggest something more local.
I tried the Yaycations calculator to try to find vacation money for my own family, but unfortunately our budget is already so close to the bone that there is little I’m willing to give up. I love cafe lattes but rarely buy them (in fact I am thinking of cashing in my SwagBucks from an online promotion for StarBucks cards just to give myself the occasional treat). I don’t currently have a gym membership, and I don’t have cable. I get most of my beauty and personal care supplies for free by using coupons and working the rewards system at CVS.
I did manage to find a couple things to give up: taking my kids out to lunch once a week (estimated cost of $7), a monthly DVD rental ($4), one tech toy per year ($200), 1 pair Payless shoes ($25), 1 beer per week for my husband to give up ($5).
Those hypothetical sacrifices gave me $897 for a vacation. Then Yaycations showed me where I could go for that. Actually, it gave me a range of choices including Carmel and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. The only problem is that I was talking about our whole household budget, and the choices it gave me were under $897 PER PERSON.
So I guess by making a few sacrifices, I could take myself on vacation and leave the husband and kids at home. Which actually doesn’t sound too bad.
I think TravelMuse’s new tool is a fun way to get you into the mindset for budgeting for a vacation, and would work great for folks who have room in their budgets for discretionary spending. Of course, YOU’RE the one who has to follow through with going out for lunch one less time each week or skipping your monthly mani/pedi.
Photo by Carrie Kirby.