12 Week Travel Savings Plan ($1,000)

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: February 11, 2021

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12 Week Savings Plan | Be The Budget

If you’re in desperate need of a vacation, but don’t have the money to pay for one, this post is for you. What follows is a 12 week travel savings plan to help you pile-up at least $1,000 and satisfy your wanderlust.

You see, this morning I woke up to about four inches of snow on the ground. Now, if I was in the mountains skiing, I would welcome this kind of weather. However, today it meant spending 20 minutes scraping ice off my car, freezing my butt off, and carefully navigating a slippery drive to work. Not my favorite.

You know what’s better? Soaking up the warmth of the sun by a pool, or beach; or actually heading up to the mountains and skiing. But both of those cost money.

So, if you’re like me and need to escape the cold, or you need to get away from work, or just take a break from your day-to-day life, I hope this 12 week savings plan will get you there.

Week 1 – Save $89

Ok, so this is going to be the toughest week of the 12 week travel savings plan. Why? Well, first of all, you are going to need to save more than any other week in this challenge. Secondly, this first week requires a little more work than any of the others.

The good news is, this should be the week that you are most excited about saving. So, let’s capitalize on that enthusiasm.

To start off the challenge, I want you to get on a tight budget, and find any expenses you can cut. Head over to EveryDollar.com, sign up for a free account and create your first budget. Or, if you are more of a spreadsheet kind of person, go set one up now.

Your new budget will help you figure out where all your money is going, and hopefully trim the fat from your spending. That’s good, because you are going to need to find $89 of expenses you can cut.

Remember, your goal is to take a vacation in 12 weeks, so you don’t have to cut these expenses forever. If after 12 weeks, you want to go back and add a few things into your budget, you can feel free, but for right now, focus on your future vacation, and cut that budget!

Important: for the rest of this challenge, it is critical that you track your spending every day and log your expenses. So, set aside 10 to 15 minutes every day to work on your budget. This little exercise will keep you on track, and maybe even ahead of schedule.

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Week 2 – Save $88

Ok, so week one is behind you, and you found a way to save $89. Good job!

This week, you only need to save $88! I know, one-dollar isn’t much of a difference, but over the course of the next 12 weeks, it will add up.

Now, If you think you can save more than $88 this week, I want you to try. The goal here is a minimum of $1,000, but the more you can save, the better of a vacation you can take. So, don’t let up.

The more you save now, the easier time you will have later in the challenge.

Week 3 – Save $87

Week 2 is over, and we are moving into the toughest part of the challenge. At this point you might be getting a little tired of cutting expenses, but don’t get discouraged. This is the time when you really need to buckle down and keep saving.

By the end of this week you will be a quarter of the way through the 12 week travel savings plan. Don’t quit now. Figure out a way to save at least $87 this week.

12 Week Travel Savings Plan To Satisfy Your Wanderlust | Be The Budget

Week 4 – Save $86

Ok, this challenge might be getting a little dull at this point. But if you quit now, you can kiss that vacation goodbye.

Sorry for the tough love, but you will thank me when you are sitting on a beach 2 months from now.

Your savings goal this week is $86. You can do it!

Week 5 – Save $85

Ok, so week 4 is over, and up to this point, you have saved at least $350. Nice work! It’s important to look back on your effort and allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Hopefully you have kept up with your budget to this point, but if you haven’t, it’s time to get back on track.

This week, you need to save at least $85. Oh, and you are more than a third of the way there, so keep truckin’! That vacation isn’t going to pay for itself!

Week 6 – Save $84

You are halfway there! Can you believe it?

This savings challenge is not for the faint-hearted, and you are doing awesome. Up to this point you should have at least $435 saved, and this week you will be adding an additional $84.

If you need a little motivation, take some time to start looking at travel destinations. It’s important to remember what you are working for.

Week 7 – Save $83

This week you need to save $83. You are more than halfway there, so don’t stop now!

You are entering the stage where your savings is big enough to tempt you into buying things you shouldn’t, so stay laser-focused on that vacation.

If you feel yourself getting tempted to spend your hard-saved vacation money, go work out, read a book, or go for a drive. Do whatever you have to do to keep you from spending your money impulsively.

Your vacation called, and it wants you to buckle down and focus.

12 week travel savings plan checklist | Be The Budget

Week 8 – Save $82

After this week you will be in your final month of the 12 week travel savings plan. It hasn’t always been easy, but up until this week, you have managed to save at least $602.

I know it might be getting a little tiring to live so frugally, but you don’t have much longer to go.

Keep up with your budget and don’t let any of those expenses creep back in. You are too close to the finish line to get complacent. Keep up the awesome work!

Week 9 – Save $81

You are in your final month of the 12 week travel savings plan, and it’s perfectly normal to start imagining yourself on vacation, and free from all this frugal living. However, don’t let your imagination run too wild. You still need to save $81 this week

At this point I would like to point out that in week one, you had to save $89. You know what that means? This week, you can buy an extra Chipotle burrito! And you thought the one-dollar weekly difference wasn’t going to add up to anything significant.

Week 10 – Save $80

You have 3 weeks left, and you only have to save $80 this week. Oh, and your total savings is about to crest the $700 mark.

Can you believe it has been 10 weeks already? It feels like I just started writing this post like an hour ago. Funny how time flies!

Week 11 – Save $79

If you quit now, I don’t have anything to say to you. You have 2 weeks left, and you only have to save $79 this week.

Though, I think you’re better than that. Just 10 weeks ago you saved $89. In fact, I am going to lay down a challenge for you this week. Instead of saving $79, try to make this your best week of the whole challenge.

If you go scorched earth on your expenses, and cut your budget to the bone, do you think you could save $100 this week? $150? $200?

It’s time to spice things up. After all, you only have 2 weeks left to save as much money as possible. The harder you work now, the more money you can put toward your vacation.

Week 12 – Save $78

It’s week 12!!! You have done an amazing job, and it is just about time to plan your vacation. But before you do, you need to break the tape at the finish line, and save at least $78 this week.

Well, technically, you only need to save $76 this week in order to hit the $1,000 mark, but what’s the point of a challenge if you don’t finish the whole thing. I mean, if you run a marathon that’s 26.2 miles, would you just stop at 26? I don’t think so.

Finish strong, and complete this challenge like the boss that you are!

Savings Total = $1,002

12 Week Travel Savings Plan (Satisfy Your Wanderlust) | Be The Budget

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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