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A vacation is great for so many reasons. It’s a break from typical daily life that can sometimes wear on you. On vacation, you get to take time away from the daily commute, cleaning the house, business meetings, stressful decision-making, and so much more. 

But what about a break from your finances? You know, the reconciliation of expenses, tracking how much money is coming in and how much money is going out, daily discipline with spending–when do you get a break from that?

Along with time away from daily tasks, I also take a break from my finances on vacation. 

It needs to be done with intention and pre-planning before the vacation. Many of us have been on those vacations that follow us home in a bad way. The credit card bill is racked up higher than anticipated and now you have to hit the rat race even harder to pay that sucker off. We don’t want that. Instead, we want to be wise, protect our finances, but take a break from the daily management of them while on vacation. 

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Set aside money each month.

Part of my monthly financial routine includes setting aside money for expenses or things that are a priority. I tithe, give money away, save, and allocate various amounts to other expenses that I know will happen in the future. One of these areas of allocation is the “vacation fund”. Each month my wife and I put a set amount of money aside in this fund. This is not only going toward paying for travel, hotels, and other reservations we may want on the vacation, but the fund is also for spending money and daily expenses while on vacation. 

  1. Estimate how much you will need on vacation.

Before you leave, do a little research and some math. Set a high estimate for the maximum amount of money you think you would need for day-to-day spending while on vacation. This is different from the amount you already set aside for lodging, rentals, and/or airfare. This is only an estimate for daily spending for things like food, desserts, coffee shops, tips, parking, admission to events or parks, shopping, and more. Once you know a worst-case scenario number, make sure you have at least that amount left in the vacation fund. This will give you peace of mind going into the next step.

PRO TIP – Estimate high–really high. Again, one of our goals for this process is to take a break from the daily discipline you have in your expenditures. Estimating high or adding a “limited discipline” buffer to your numbers is good here.

  1. Enjoy your vacation with financial confidence.

Because you did the work ahead of time, you can spend the money in your vacation fund without tracking, reconciling, or being extremely disciplined. You finally get a break from the mundane, tiresome chore of managing your finances daily. Yes, you can continue your vacation with peace of mind because you did the work needed before your vacation started. 

This is one of my favorite things about time away. As a finance expert who owns various financial services companies, I have a natural bend to be disciplined and detailed with finances. That proclivity has served me well! But, that doesn’t mean it is always easy or fun. I enjoy my break when I take vacations, and it’s something that helps me continue financial management more effectively when the vacation ends. 

For more information on what you can do to help you win with finances on vacation, check out this previous blog: