smart spending

5 tips to map out a frugal dream vacation

Break down the numbers
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To calculate a trip's total cost, the more you break it down, the better. Dig through the details for transportation, food, lodging and fun.

"If you're just saving with a general goal of going to Paris for a week, that's a good start. But thinking about other factors -- what time of year, how much hotels and flights might cost -- will give you a specific number to work toward," says H. Jude Boudreaux, CFP, owner of Upperline Financial Planning in New Orleans.

Any lingering credit card debts should be taken into account when planning a vacation. If you have $3,000 in credit card debt and want to take a $4,000 dream vacation, you really need to accumulate $7,000 to address both, says Boudreaux. A total of $7,000 may seem like a large amount, but if you can set aside $100 a week, you could reach your goal in less than two years.

"With smart decisions, you could take that dream vacation and return debt-free, and that should be a powerful motivator," says Boudreaux.




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