The Easiest Way to Save Up For Your Annual Vacation

I’m constantly amazed how quickly we’ve replaced spending on things with spending on experiences.

One big reason for this is the rise of Facebook. As we scroll through our feeds, we see friends who have spent time in all sorts of exotic locales. Their pictures are beautiful, always filled with smiles. These same friends gush about their vacations when they get home. “The food was amazing! The scenery was breathtaking! The hotel was phenomenal!”

It’s little wonder people so desperately want to travel the world when they’re up against that. Some of us take it to a new extreme, quitting our jobs to pursue a life of full-time travel, even if it is temporary. Most do things a little more responsibly, choosing instead to contain our travel to a two-week window of allotted vacation time.

Many of us have trouble saving up for a vacation, so we finance it instead. That’s a terrible idea. Even a $1,000 vacation financed at regular credit card rates can cost $1,200…$1,500…or even more before it’s paid off.

That’s not what you want to do.

If you’re having trouble saving up for anything, try this trick.

Brown bag your lunch

It doesn’t seem like a big change, but packing your lunch can add up to some serious savings over the course of a year.

Say you’re currently spending $10 on lunch out every day at work, while you could pack something for $3. That translates into savings of $7 per day, or $35 per week. Based on a 50 week annual schedule, that works out to $1,750 in annual savings.

That might not be enough to finance an entire exotic vacation, but it’s a nice start. It’s definitely enough to pay for a week away that’s a little closer to home.

Even if you just eat in four days a week and go out with your office buddies each Friday, it still adds up to significant savings. You won’t quite end up with $1,750, but you’ll still save $1,400.

The powerful reason why

We’ve all heard about the latte factor, which states that little recurring expenses have a way of really screwing up your budget. The latte factor can mean different things to different people. Some people might drink a lot of alcohol. Some might buy too many clothes. Or some might go out to eat too often.

The solution is usually pretty simple. Figure out what you spend too much money on, and cut it out. Or at least reduce it quite a bit.

There’s a problem with that. Restricting ourselves doesn’t generally work. There’s a reason why we crave whatever our latte is. We enjoy it. If we start telling ourselves we can’t have it, guess what we’re going to want even more?

Brown bagging our lunch is a little different. Yes, you are restricting yourself when you do it. But you’re also giving yourself an opportunity to really think about the benefits of doing so.

If you sit at your desk brooding about how your lunch sucks, this plan has no chance of succeeding. You’ll talk yourself into going back to Wendy’s or Subway in no time.

If you take the opposite approach, it’s got a great chance of succeeding. Thinking about your next vacation while munching on your 132nd consecutive sandwich will make the sacrifice seem worth it. You’re making yourself uncomfortable for a specific reason, not because it’s the right thing to do.

Tricking ourselves 

The average person is terrible with money. They need tricks like this to get them to save.

It’s even valuable for those of us who already save a big portion of our income. Saving 10% is great. Saving 15% is even better, especially when you can do so without changing your life in any big way.

A big part of saving is tricking ourselves. Try it today and see how far it gets you.

16+ Ways You Can Earn Passive Income

Passive income might be the holy grail for many of you reading this. There’s nothing more powerful than getting paid to do (almost) nothing.

Many people would love to start earning passive income, but just don’t know how to get started. Here are 16+ different ways you can start earning passive income, today.

Dividend stocks

This one is simple. You accumulate a little capital, put it to work in stocks that pay dividends, and collect a nice stream of income. Be careful to not be distracted by unsustainable high yields.

Real estate

Being a landlord is much tougher than many people think, but real estate has traditionally been a great source of passive income. It’s easy to borrow a lot of money to buy real estate, which is nice for people without much capital of their own.

REITs

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are fully passive ways to invest in real estate. They may not pay as much as traditional rental properties, but they come with far less work.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Such a service isn’t available to Canadian readers, but U.S. citizens have been collecting returns of between 8% and 12% for years now. Plus, it’s easy to diversify, putting a few bucks in many different loans.

Private mortgages

Banks turn down plenty of solid borrowers every day. Work with a mortgage broker and you can collect returns of between 6% and 15% on your capital all while having solid collateral.

AirBnb

Most of us have an extra bedroom, so why not rent it out for cash? AirBnb makes the process easy; you’ll be up and running in no time.

Blogging

Blogging is probably the least passive way to earn income on this list, but it can still be fairly passive. It will take a lot of time up front, but the rewards can often last years.

Buy websites

Once you understand the basics of making money online, leverage those skills. Small or medium-sized websites sell for as little as 12 times monthly revenue. You’ll make your money back in a year.

Write a book

Self publishing on Amazon is a cinch these days. Just do your research, pick a good topic, and you could earn a nice recurring income for just a little upfront work.

Build an app

This one takes some specialized skill, and will likely take some luck to actually turn into a hit. Many apps are downloaded fewer than ten times once they hit the app store. Find the right app and it can be a nice money maker.

Flipping

Flipping can be both fun and lucrative. Many people focus on one particular niche for best results.

Drop shipping

Drop shipping is ridiculously easy to get started. Just find a product direct from China, take some pictures of it, and post it on Amazon or eBay. Thousands of people make their living doing just that. It shouldn’t be hard for you to make a few hundred bucks a month.

Laundromat

I know someone who recently added a laundromat to his portfolio. He’s currently raking in 2% of his purchase price in profits…every month, with very minimal maintenance.

Become the silent partner

I often run into good employees who would do well as the owner of a fast food joint, specialty store, or other business. If you supply the capital and they supply the elbow grease, it’s a win-win situation.

Sell pictures

Can you take stunning pictures? All you need to do is upload them to certain websites, and you’ll get paid if anyone decides to use them.

Be a broker

Say you know someone who would like a website built. So you agree to do it for a certain fee. You then hire the project out to someone in another part of the world. That’s a nice profit for a very small amount of work.

Bonus: tracking down deals

Saving money is just like creating passive income. Each method puts cash in your pocket in exchange for very little work.

So do what I do. Before you buy anything online, simply Google “‘x product coupon code”. I just about always save at least a little.