How to plan your holiday budget – without losing sight of important commitments

December is generally a hectic month. And it creeps up on us – catching us in mid-stride as we strive to finish projects, tackle school holidays and (for those who celebrate Christmas) shop for all those last minute gifts. And then there’s that time to take a break and, if you’re able, get away on a well-deserved holiday.

And like much else of December, that holiday can be upon you quite suddenly, leaving very little time to plan and save costs on a host of discounts already snapped up by the early birds. Here are some tips on how to plan better, save better and ensure that you are still meeting your financial commitments on the first of January.

  • Financial commitments. This last consideration is key – and therefore your holiday planning should be as much a part of your financial planning as anything else. You should budget for it right at the beginning of the year so that you know what to save, what you can spend, pick up early on discounts, trim back so you can enjoy a holiday without that nagging feeling that you might be going home to difficulties at the end of it. So plan and save.
  • The earlier you establish your budget, the easier it is to pick up on valuable accommodation and flight options. Secure your places early and check out the special offers. Especially if you have school-age children, as holiday times always set the prices higher for last minute planners.
  • Do the necessary research. Investigate and compare prices well in advance. There are some good deals out there, usually wrapped in worthwhile packages that cater for all requirements. A package saves you money as the deal often includes tour operators who will arrange deals in conjunction with partners such as hotels and airlines.
  • Sometimes it’s okay to cut down on the accommodation allocation and give yourself more spending money. There’s often surprising good value in cheaper hotels.
  • And if you can avoid the school holiday times, even better. Perhaps giving the traditional December break a miss and opting for autumn or spring may mean a less frantic travel time with some great cost savings as well.
  • When you book, get your travel insurance sorted at the same time. Also ensure you have cancellation cover for peace of mind should anything disrupt your plans.
  • When planning a low-budget holiday, the internet is a mine of information. Keep an eye on all offers regarding your intended destination. If you plan early enough, you can change options and score savings well in time. Travel apps are very useful in keeping you up to date – from flights to hotels to general travel tips.
  • Create a holiday budget planner. It’s easy to forget what you’re spending when you’re enjoying yourself. Once you have worked out the main expenditure such as travel costs, accommodation, food – then put together a daily budget of spending money. What you don’t spend on one day, you can use on another. But spending money is one of the big dangers when holidaying. Your mind slips into a relaxed, fun mode – and suddenly you’re spending way more than your careful budget that looked fine when it was on a piece of paper in the kitchen. It’s one thing to plan, it’s another to stick to that plan accurately.

Planning accommodation

  • Avoid extra transport costs by booking your hotel near to the action. If you’re wanting a lazy beach holiday, try to be within walking distance of the ocean. If it’s the buzz of shopping, city sights and nightlife – then check out the best options that will give you both value for money and proximity to the best of city life. A cheap hotel that forces you to spend on bus, train and taxi fares may turn out to be false economy.
  • Consider combining your holiday with family or friends. Sharing accommodation can save considerable cash. That goes for self-catering as well. Buying and cooking your own food is a very good way to save and keep an eye on what you’re spending. You can save on a simple supper one evening and splash out on a restaurant the next.
  • One of the best ways to save on accommodation costs is to arrange a house swop. This can give you both a lovely home to stay in – and save you hugely on costs. Some deals even allow for car swopping – so all you need to budget for is your travel costs and spending money. A really easy, fun and super-saver way to travel! Visit House Swap South Africa for more information.
  • And finally, the packing plan. Make sure you have any visas, vaccinations, etc, well in hand. Also plan your packing to include some items of clothing for any weather. You don’t want to have to fork out for an expensive jacket simply because you didn’t plan for inclement weather. And be careful of weight. Paying for unnecessarily heavy luggage should well off your budget agenda.

Working all year for best results

Foster Private Clients, backed by the proud 28-year history of the Foster Group, believes in working for only the best results in all areas, from investments through to retirement planning, and including insurance matters. Creating a personal partnership with each client – and mindful of every individual’s plans, dreams and goals – we are there to guide and advise you on each milestone of your financial journey, not only during your working years but well into retirement.

For us it’s about more than just generating income and retaining capital in investments, it’s about the quality of your life each step of the way and your peace of mind. That’s why we focus on building sound relationships based on professionalism, experience, and friendship.

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