There is currently $400 in my vacation savings account.
So far this year, I have taken the following trips:
- All-inclusive resort in January and a side trip, at a total cost of about $2,100 (all but about $270 was paid for in December 2011)
- Sports tournament trip in February at a total cost of about $880
I am planning the following trips for the rest of this year:
- Weekend trip later this month at an estimated cost of $800
- Week-long trip in June at an estimated cost of $1,500
- Weekend trip in August at an estimated cost of $500
- Week-long trip in January at an estimated cost of $1,200
Total estimated cost for this year including the trips I’ve already paid for: $5,150
My vacation savings account started at $1,180 at the beginning of January, which means that it needs to be funded with about $3,970 to get through the year with my vacation plans. I’ve put $500 into it so far this year ($250 at the end of January and $250 at the end of February). I’m going to increase this amount to $3,470 / 10 = $347 and round up to $350 per month for the rest of the year to cover all of the vacations that I have planned.
Last year, I spent nothing on travel, so my vacation savings account accumulated happily at $166.67 per month and some minimal interest. Since I have decided this year that taking vacations is really important to my sanity, I’m accepting that is going to cost more money than the $0 I spent on travel last year. This is obviously going to reduce the amount that I can save towards a down payment, but I would rather put off buying a place for a few months and take more vacations than buy a place sooner. We’ll see how I feel about that after the June trip.
I’m not really a huge fan of having sub-accounts for budget categories – it just doesn’t work for me. So at this point, travel is essentially a budget category and I’m going to move it into my regular budget instead of being separated into savings. This means that I’m going to transfer that $400 from my vacation savings account to my checking account, where I keep my monthly budget and cash flow amounts. One of the nice things about the way I run my budget is that if I go over in one category, there is generally enough slack in one or more other categories within my checking account in addition to the reserves I keep in my checking account so that I will never overdraft.
There. Now I feel much less stressed out about my travel spending. The amount I had budgeted was really not in line at all with the trips that I want to take and that was starting to stress me out.