As I ponder on the $15,379.53 credit card debt I eliminated in June 2012, I can honestly conclude that 50% of it was due to my travels in and out of the country. During my psycho spending days, I did waiver between the feelings of uneasiness for charging my trips to the mindset of ‘WHATEVER!!! I DESERVE this, no matter the cost.’ As I found out later, arrogance is costly…literally. Back in the day, looking at my credit card balances would make me feel defeated even before charging so much on them. My mentality then was ‘oh well, I already have $1,000 on the card, what’s $200 more?’
Well, those of you who are familiar with your own debt can predict what happens with that stinkin’ thinkin’- $200 turns into $250 which leads to $1,000 until finally, in my case $15,379.53.
While I knew I wasn’t going to stop traveling, I also knew I had to be smarter about my financial decisions before and ESPECIALLY during my voyages. So, I decided to implement these two simple techniques and I must say, my budget has definitely benefited from them both!
-The Travel Fund Fund
Gone are the days of my mind deceivingly convincing me to rely solely on my ‘weak willpower’ to set aside funds from my paycheck for my travels. That deceit ran its course after seeing my credit card balances! I now have my employer deposit a set amount every pay period into a bank account I call ‘The Travel Fund’ Fund. Flights, lodging options, and spending money comes strictly out of it. It truly determines if I stay home or go on.
-The Envelope Method
Those of you who are familiar with financial no-nonsense guru Dave Ramsey probably practice this method or know someone who does. I decided to extend this technique from my everyday spending to my travels. The pictures of the envelopes below are from my voyage to Belize. I stashed money into each of these envelopes based on what I planned on doing while there. I even took it a bit further and estimated how much I could spend on transportation, food, and even tips while there. It really kept me financially focused from overspending and relying on credit.