Saving Money to go on a Cruise Vacation
If you have a dream to go on a vacation such as a cruise, there's no time like the present to start saving. Do the math first to have a guideline to help plan and save.
The first step should be to look up your dream cruise online. To do this, go to the website for each cruise line, such as Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, etc. The two cruise lines that have the best pries, in my experience, are Carnival and Norwegian, so those two websites would be the best places to start to look for cruise prices at a good value. Also compare the prices you find there to other cruise savings websites such as smartcruiser.com or American Way Cruise Vacations. Find what your expenses will be, including round trip airfare and hotels before and after you start your cruise adventure savings plan. I know that Princess cruises lines now has a combination price for the cruise and airfare. Then find your preferred cruise destination, desired cruise line and dates. ( See the video clip below for more help with money saving ideas before booking). Cruise vacations can differ in price depending on a variety of choices such as:
* Time of Year
* Type of room you require (such as an inside cabin, balcony room, mini suite or full suite)
* Length of cruise
* Cruise line
A Dream Vacation Needs Careful Planning
Your best bet is to not wait till your year is up but start saving immediately and book the cruise as soon as you see the best price for your selected cruise because often the cruise prices go up as time nears the cruise start date. The exception to this is for those with very flexible schedules who can leave within 2 or 3 weeks notice when the cruise companies drop their prices to get last minute cruisers to fill up the ship. This type of plan is not recommended for a dream vacation. Dream vacations often need more planning in order to cover all the details needed to go off without a hitch.
Do You Have a Dream Vacation You want to Save For?
Add Up Potential Expenses to Put Your Savings Plan in Place
Add up the expenses to reach your total. To give yourself enough time to save plan at least one year in advance. Once you have your total, you can determine how much you need to save each week to reach your goal. We will use a seven day cruise to the Caribbean on Princess Cruise lines just as an example. As you can see in the table below, the estimated cost per person will come out to $3199. Multiply it by two if you want to bring along a significant other and you have a total of $6398. Divide that total by the amount of time between when you begin saving and your departure date. If you give yourself one year, that is fifty-two weeks and that means you would need to save $123.00 each week to reach your goal? Not sure you can do it? Give yourself even more time and plan 15 to 18 months in advance.
Cost of the cruise
Taxes and fees
Airfare and hotel before and after
Spending Money/extras for cruise excursions
Total Needed to be Saved in 52 weeks:
Concrete Ways to Cut Expenses and Save For Your Vacation
Once you figure out how much money you need to save per week for your dream cruise, the next step would be to find out what you can cut out or cut down to save money. It's easy to start with the smaller items.
Start With the Extras
Do you visit a coffee shop each day on your way to work to purchase a cup of Caramel Macchiato for $4.95? Replacing that with brewed coffee in a travel cup from home five days per week, could save $24.75 each week. If you also stop by that same coffee shop on weekend days, and replace that with coffee from home, you'll save an extra $9.90, or $34.65 per week. And if you spend $8 on lunch each day, bringing a bagged lunch from home five days a week saves you $30 because it still gives you $10 worth of lunch food to add to your weekly grocery budget for sandwich fixings from the grocery store.
Now on To More Essential Items
Another way to cut down on expenses is on groceries. Do you shop by entering the store and buying whatever looks good at the moment? Purchasing weekly groceries by buying only what is on sale saves shoppers 30% off the cost of their normal grocery bill. And that's before adding coupons to the mix. Add to this the savings by using coupons on what one would normally buy, and you can save another $5 to $20 each week. There are many websites that can give you money saving tips on using coupons. There are also some that lay out the deals and the matching available coupons for you. They take out all the heavy duty work of finding the sales and just let you take your coupons to the store and save. My favorite website for this feature is couponmom.com
Take a Look at Your Monthly Bills
If you have monthly bills, are there things you can go without? If you pay for both cable television and an internet connection, cutting out one of those for a year will help you save $50 each month. Do you still pay for a newspaper to be delivered to your home each day? Stop that for a year, read your newspaper on the internet instead and you can save approximately $5.50 per week, which doesn't sound like much till you figure out it will actually save you $280 per year.
How much money do you spend each month just to look good? Do you spend $40 on a haircut on a regular basis when you could get it cut for $17.95 at Cost Cutters and save over 50%? Even guys can save money on this one at Cost Cutters instead of paying $25 for a haircut at a fancier salon. Do you get your nails done when you could invest in some nail polish and manicure tools and give yourself a manicure?
Watch For Late Payment Fees
You may not realize it but unless you are conscientious about paying your credit card bills on time each month, you might be getting socked with late fees. And also, paying off your card in full each month prevents interest charges which can add up to a hefty sum. Even $29 per month from late fees will run you $348 for the year. A hefty sum like that would be better put toward your dream vacation rather than given to a credit card company.
Without realizing it, many people spend a large part of their paycheck each week on entertainment. Do you eat out every week? Go to the movies? Go to concerts or pay a cover charge somewhere on weekends? This money is runaway money that if corralled correctly can be put toward your dream vacation. Instead of eating out, picnics can be prepared and eaten at a park and the money saved put toward your vacation goals. If you love eating out, even just staying home one Friday night a month will save $40 to $100 per month, depending on where you like to eat and how expensive it is.Putting that extra $40 dollars per month in your vacation account instead will save you $480 to $1,200 that you can put in your vacation account instead. Just make sure that if you do decide to forgo a meal out like this, that you take the money you would have spent and put it in your vacation account instead of using it for something else.
Instead of paying expensive prices for movie tickets, rent DVDs from Red Box for $1.29 a night and save. Popcorn and soda can be purchased much less expensively with coupons and sales and you can still have an enjoyable night at the movies. If getting out of the house is the desired effect, find hobbies to do that don't cost money such as hiking or ice skating on a pond in the Winter.
Make A Vacation Dream Board
Encourage yourself and your significant other or family by creating a vacation dream board. Put inspiring pictures of your vacation destination on a bulletin board in an area of the house where you all can see it. If you worked with a travel agent, ask for brochures from your destination or print colored pictures off the internet.
Don't Get Off Track
* Keep a vacation board posted where you can see it. Post pictures on a regular basis on it. Send for brochures from the cruise company you have chosen to find new pictures for added incentive. Surprise your spouse with new pictures and vacation phrases as youa re saving together toward your goal.
* Keep a weekly tally sheet of how much money you have saved that week toward your dream cruise vacation.
* Have a separate savings account so you can watch your savings add up. Each week put the money you have saved from other things into it, and post the new bank statement each week where you can see it.
These tips will help you stay focused on your vacation goal!
Stick With Your Plan
* There are many ways of saving money to go on your dream vacation, cruise or otherwise. The trick is to find what works best for you and stick with the savings plan till you have the money. The tips listed may not work for you, but brainstorm with friends some others that will, and stick with them.
* Don't forget to put the money you have saved each week into your savings account. Keep a jar handy in the kitchen and each day you don't buy coffee out at the local Starbuck's, add that money to the jar. At the end of each week, add that money to your savings account.
Money Saving Tips to Consider When Planning For Your Cruise
Money Saving Tips Once You Are Onboard
Once you get on a cruise ship, there are other ways to save. Head over to Cruisecritic.com where many long time cruisers chime in on the pros and cons of certain ships and cruise lines. Here's some ways you can save once on a ship:
* Some cruise lines like Princess will allow adults to bring on on bottle of wine when boarding, and one from each port. They just have to be consumed in your stateroom or on your balcony and not in public areas as the ship sells alcohol in those areas.
* Most cruise lines over to do your laundry for a set price but Princess Cruise Lines has washers and dryers for passengers to use for a nominal fee.
* Many cruise lines charge a set fee of $10 - $12.50 each day for tips for their workers. A passenger can actually dispute that on some lines and that will be taken off their bill with the understanding they will tip their servers on their own.
* While many cruise lines sell soda cards for unlimited soda during the cruise, ice water, iced tea, coffee and tea are offered for free, and lemonade is complimentary on some. Orange juice is also offered complimentary at breakfast. If you aren't a big soda pop drinker, save your money and stick with the free beverages. Water is better for human consumption than soda anyway.
Hopefully this article has given you enough tips to save for your own cruise vacation!
This article is dedicated to my friend Joe...I hope you and your wife go on that cruise!
Save Money Once On Your Cruise
What type of dream vacation do you want to save for?
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