Your Vacation Planning Can Help with Your Financial Planning in 10 Easy Steps

10 Steps Vacation Planning

Who does not dream of going on a great vacation with family or friends? At least I know I enjoy taking a vacation each year. Planning your vacation can take some time to plan.

However, we always seem to find a way to make it happen.  We find a way to save enough money, we shop around for the best deals, and we know where we are staying and what we will be doing while on vacation.

But when it comes to our personal finances we seem to forget how to plan. We can spend more time planning our vacation than planning our financial future. Why not apply the same excitement and get it done attitude to financial planning as you do to your vacation plans. Doing this can have just as much impact on your life as a vacation or even a greater impact.

I know planning can be a daunting task. You probably ask yourself: Where do I begin? What’s step one? How can I save more?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning, especially when you haven’t planned before.

Here are 10 steps to help you create a financial plan like you were planning your vacation:

Visualize the Perfect Situation

When planning your vacation you have to decide what’s the ideal place for you to visit, activities you want to do, how you plan to travel, and what time of the year you want to travel.

The same as planning your finances. Write down what you would like your financial life to look like.  What would it take to get there? What time frame do you have to get there?

Set a Budget

You usually set a budget when planning for your vacation at least I hope you do.  Same with your finances, set a budget to manage your monthly expenses. Having a budget is the key to a good financial plan.  A well prepared budget enables you to have a clearer picture of your spending.

Decide Where You Want to Go

You have a picture of the perfect place and have set your budget. Now you have to decide where you want to go. By deciding where you are going it sets a goal to work towards. A lot of people talk generally about what they want their finances to look like but never set a specific goal or put a plan in place.

Deciding where you want to go is important as it forces you to set a definite goal. Having goals in place makes it easier to commit to.

Determine Your Time Frame

When vacation planning you usually decide if you’re traveling by car or plane and how long you will be on vacation so you can plan appropriately.

The same can be applied to your financial plan by determining the time frame it will take to reach your financial destination you desire. To help achieve your goals establish long-term and short-term financial goals.

Start Saving Money

Time to start saving! When vacation planning I am sure you save over time to cover the cost of your trip. I try to allocate funds throughout the year to my vacation fund. It makes it easier to save that way.

Same with your personal finances. Establish a saving plan. Having a saving plan in place will provide you with a financial peace of mind. Here are three savings you should consider establishing if you do not have any savings in place:

Retirement Savings

Emergency Savings

Future Spending Savings

Automate Your Bills

While you are traveling you don’t want to forget about your bills so automate them. Same is true with your personal finances get rid of your mail, go paperless, and set up online bill payment for your recurring bills to ensure you won’t miss any.


When packing for your trip you try to consolidate as much as you can. The more suit cases you bring adds additional cost and hassle so you consolidate the number you bring with you.   You do this by reduce the amount of items you bring with you.

Consider doing the same with your financial accounts. Consolidate your bank accounts, investment, accounts as well as providers. Consolidating will help:

  • Reduce the number of statements you receive
  • Easier to keep track of your accounts
  • Possibly reduce fees

Buy Insurance

When planning your vacation, you may consider purchasing travel insurance. This will help protection you if something occurs and you have to cancel your vacation. Maybe some occurs while you are traveling travel insurance may help cover some of the cost of this unexpected situation.

Same is true with your personal finances. You want to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage. You do not want to be left standing uninsured when a medical, natural disaster, or other financial situation occurs which can place a significant financial burden on you.

Hire professional help

When planning a vacation you may hire a travel agent to help you arrange your travel plans and accommodations.  So when preparing your financial plan consider hiring professional advisers to help you reach your financial destination.  The ride to your destination will be smoother and quicker if you hire good financial professionals to help you.

Stay Focused and Inspired

The planning process can be long and time consuming but stay focused at the goal at hand. Here are some inspiring stories how other have simplified their finances which will help you:

Simple Inspiration Interview – How Creating a Budget Helped Mr. CBB Simplify His Finances

Simple Inspiration Interview – Taking a day off helped Peter Anderson Simplify his Finances

Simple Inspiration Interview with Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker

Use these 10 steps as a guide to help better organize and simplify your personal finances.

But no matter what your financial goals are, these steps will help you stay organized as you begin to put your financial plan in place.

So take action now by applying these simple tips to design your financial future and begin to simplify your personal finances.

What are Your Budget Busters? How Do You Avoid Them?

Simple Financial Lifestyle Budget Busters

Have you decided not to create a monthly budget because every time you create one you always bust it.  Why waste my time when I know I will bust it before the end of the month. Creating a personal budget is important to your personal financial health.  Sticking to your personal budget can be challenging but it is key to living a simple financial lifestyle.  You are  probably asking what do I need to do to stick to my budget.

One key to sticking to your budget is to make sure it fits right. Maybe your budget is too tight or too loose. Make sure you design it just right for you. Once you have had an opportunity to review your budget to make sure it fits.

Here are a few common budget buster you should be aware of to prevent yourself from busting your budgeting:

Splurging or unplanned purchases

We all do it but we must limit it or at least budget for it.  If you know you have a tendency to buy things at the spur of the moment instead of planning just put it in your budget.  Hopefully you are not buying high ticket items every month.  If you are you may need to look at your spending habits. If this is a issue you want to make sure you are budgeting your monthly savings. Your monthly saving should be automatically transferred to another account before you go on your shopping spree.

Medical cost

Unplanned medical expenses are usually something you cannot predict. But you know they will occur each year.   Having adequate medical insurance in place and a reasonable deductible or co-payment will lessen the impact of those unplanned medical expenses. Also establishing a HSA will help with these expenses.

Unplanned repair bills

Similar to having medical expenses you cannot always predict when they will occur.  To lessen the impact on you budget have preventive maintenance performed on your car, appliances and home as recommended. You can schedule these out as well as prepare for them in your budget.  Many  times even if you do preventive maintenance things will still need repairing.  This is why you should have an emergency fund in place so your monthly budget is not impacted.

Eating out

This is a big where I could use some work.  It’s so easy to just go out to eat instead of planning ahead and have dinner at home or even bringing your lunch to work.  Try limiting the times you go to dinner each week. I know what we may spend on a dinner for four we could easily prepare several meals at home.

 Increase insurance expenses

We cannot control how much our insurance premiums will increase each year.  But what you can do so your premium does not bust your budget is to review your insurance policies each year to make sure your coverage is appropriate.  You may want to even shop for another insurance providers if the increase is significant.

Anticipating these potential budget busters will help you stick to your budget as well as put things in place to help lessen the impact on your budget when they do occur.

What are your budget busters and how do you avoid them?


Take action by reviewing your spending and think about what is causing you not to stick to your monthly budget.

Til next time take one step at a time to simplify your finances.

How Does Your Budget Fit You?

Budget Fit


Budgeting is a key tool to help you simplify your finances. It helps you see where your money is going and coming from. Making a few small adjustments to your budget can have a significant impact on your future.
You are probably saying yes I know having a budget would help my finances but my issue is not creating the budget its sticking to the budget. That’s where I am failing. If that is the case you should look to see how you have designed your budget. How you design your budget may be preventing you from sticking to it.

Consider how your budget fits you. Finding the right budget for you can be similar to finding the right pair of jeans. Think of your budget like a pair of your jeans. How does your budget fit you? Some jeans may fit too tight, some may fit too loose and some may fit just right.

So let’s determine your budget is designed:

Tight Fitting

If you try on a pair of jeans that are too tight it’s unlikely you will wear them because you feel crammed and cannot move around comfortably.
Your budget maybe designed a little too tight. If your budget does not allow you much room to move around. It’s not a comfortable feeling. You feel trapped by it and not enjoying yourself which causes you to not stick to your budget. This type of budgeting usually does not leave much room for error. If you make one simple miscalculation for the month your budget is shot. You put so much pressure on your budget it cannot breathe. You have your fingers crossed at the beginning of each month hoping that your budget does not pop.

Loose Fitting

If you try on a pair of jeans which are too baggy and loose. They may keep falling off and you have to constantly pull them up. You don’t like to wear them either.
This type of budget allows you a lot of freedom. It’s loose and baggy. There is a lot of room for error just in case you do plan to overspend one month and you probably would not even notice the impact on your budget. But it does cause you to overspend in some area since you just pool all of your money in to one large category. It enables you to hide your overspending in some categories since its loosely maintained. But you will never break your budget since it loosely maintained.

Just Right Fit

But if your jeans fit just right your comfortable you usually want to wear them as often as possible.
This budget is perfectly maintained. It fits just right in all categories. There are no worries if you overspend in one category because you have a planned for it. You are not pulling your hair out at the end of the month wondering where you money was spent or your fingers are not crossed hoping that you use This budget allows you to relax and not stress. It fits perfectly and helps you achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Take Action Step

Now it’s time for you to review how your current budget is structured and decide if you have a tight, loose, or just right fitting budget. Then be honest with yourself and make some adjustments where needed. By designing the perfect fitting budget it will enable you to more likely stick to your budget and stay on course.
Remember take one step at a time to simplify your personal finances so you can live the financial lifestyle you desire.

Copyright: fberti / 123RF Stock Photo

4 Action Steps to Take Now to Prevent the Christmas Hangover

Simple Financial Lifestyle - 4 Action Steps take to avoid hangover
Yes, I am aware it is only October.  The temperature is beginning to drop and leaves are beginning to change depending on where you live.   It also means you only have about 13 more weeks before Christmas is here.  But that is more than enough time for me to purchase gifts and decorate the house.  Right? Yes it is but now its time to turn your attention to your Christmas budget before you make those purchases.  If you have not done so already.  By focusing on your Christmas budget it enables you to plan your finances for Christmas as well as helps you prevent that Christmas money hangover in January.  We have all experienced the post Christmas money hangover before when you receive your credit card bills and wonder how and why did I spend so much money.  It may have felt great while you were shopping before Christmas but it catches up with you in January.  If you spend more than your finances can handle it may have long term impact on your finances.
So here are 4 things you can do now to avoid having that Christmas money hangover in January.  It will make your holidays less stressful.

Pre budget planning

First step is to set a budget,  But if you don’t do a little pre-budget planning and consider the all expenses you will occur during the holidays you will probably bust your budget and end up spending more then you anticipated.  You do not want to bust your budget and then end up adding more debt to your balance sheet.  By doing some pre budget planning, you can then put together a realistic budget for yourself and hopefully stick to it.  You should list all of the possible holiday expenses you may incur during the upcoming holiday.   The obvious budget items will be the gifts you plan on purchasing which will probably be your largest expense.  However, there are other expenses you may overlook and not consider.  Here are a few others which you want to take into consideration:
  • New Christmas decorations for you home.  (We always seems to buy something new every year and don’t forget the cost of your tree)
  • Holidays cards
  • Wrapping paper (Maybe you are an after Christmas sale person like us and have already purchased these)
  • Food for holiday parties or family gatherings

Set your budget

Now that you considered what expenses you will incur during the holidays now is time to set a realistic budget.  Set a budget for each of the categories of expenses you expect to incur during the holidays.  Hopefully you have budgeted for a portion or maybe all of your upcoming Christmas expenses. If not ask yourself how much am I willing to spend or how much can I afford to spend without adding additional debt to my balance sheet.  You do not want to put it on credit card that you are not able to pay off in January.  Remember you are trying to avoid that post Christmas hanger over.   Here are few tips to help with your Christmas budget.

Set goals

Setting a goal to have all of your shopping completed by specific date.  This will help you avoid those last minute shopping trips which usually cause us to overspend because we are usually rushing to make those purchases and do not always think about the budget.  It also causes more stress then you need to put on yourself.  So getting your shopping done sooner than later is better for you and your budget.

Track your process

Do you go shopping and forget to purchase a gift for someone?  Do you forget how much you already spent on a gift for someone?  or Do you forget who you purchased a gift for? I know I forget some of these while I am shopping.  Instead of trying to remember everything you have purchased and how much you have already spent, establish a tracking system.  A tracking system will help you track all of your purchases you have made and track how much you have spent.  This will help keep you on budget.  Do not forget to also keep track other holiday related purchases to stay within the budget you set.  There are a few apps to help with this so you can take your track system on the go and update as you are making purchases.

Doing these simple action steps now will hopefully prevent you from experiencing post Christmas financial pain and frustration when you realize you have spent more than you planned and don’t have resources to payoff the credit card in January.  It will only add to your stress levels which is not a good way to start the new year.  If you do overspend have a plan to pay it off as quick as possible so it does not linger and become a long term financial issue.  Having  a plan in place will help you simplify your holiday spending.

What do you do to help you avoid the post Christmas financial hangover?
Til next time take one step at a time to simplify your finances.

PHOTO CREDIT: Copyright: danienel / 123RF Stock Photo