Money at 30: The Unexpected Places I’m Storing Cash for My Next Vacation
September is set to be kind of a strange month for me. In just a couple of week, I’ll be heading out to Orlando for FinCon while my wife is away in Paris. Although both of us will be traveling, these are decidedly business trips and not exactly vacations. Thus, what we’re really looking forward to and are starting to plan now is our next big getaway earlier next year.
As we’re nailing down the details such as which city (or cities) we want to set off to and when we want to go, we’re of course keeping our budget in mind too. However during this process, I realized I had mindlessly been stashing away “fun money” for just such an occasion — and in some pretty unconventional ways. Like what, you ask? Here are three funding sources I look forward to tapping for our next epic vacation:
If you hadn’t noticed, I end up doing a lot of reviews for this site. In most cases I actually continue to use the apps, tools, and services I review well after I’ve already written about them. This is exactly what happened with Clarity Money and, as a result, I now have nearly $300 set aside for my next vacation.
Among the many features that Clarity Money offers is the ability to automatically set aside money in an FDIC-insured account on a monthly or weekly basis. Incidentally I set up auto-transfers to test them out before penning my review and just never bothered to turn them off. Once again, you could argue that these funds (while relatively small) would serve me better if placed in an online savings account or the like. Then again, I do kind of like the “surprise” element that comes with this method and how painless it was to save the money in the first place. Ultimately it really comes down to preference and, personally, I think it’s worth it.
Credit card rewards
I know I talk about my Uber Visa card an awful lot but, in my defense, there’s good reason for that. It’s not quite been a year since I first obtained my card and I’ve managed to accrue more than $500 in cash back, while still utilizing other cards as well. Although I could technically just use this balance for anything, I think that earmarking it for a vacation seems like a smart enough play.
Meanwhile, I also have a couple hundred dollars saved up on my Discover It card. However, in this case, my goal is to find a gift card I can utilize for my trip. That’s because Discover has special deals on gift cards from more than 100 retailers, allowing me to essentially get more for my money.
Recently I came across an article (via Jon’s latest Top 10 list) that suggests cashing out your credit card rewards and placing the money in an interest-bearing account. Admittedly this is something that hadn’t really crossed my mind but does make an awful lot of sense. Perhaps for future trips I can employ this technique to ultimately achieve the same goal.
While I do love Square Cash and other P2P services, there’s no doubt that PayPal is still my most-used method of sending and receiving money outside of the traditional direct deposit. Because of this I tend to just leave a balance sitting in my account when my friends and others do send me money on the service. Sure, this surplus might sometimes come in handy when I don’t feel like using a credit card on a random website but these unintentional savings are also looking mighty attractive as we’re building our trip budget.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that part of that balance comes courtesy of referral bonuses I earned from Dosh. And speaking of that cash back app, I definitely plan on finally trying out their travel tab this time around and earning more cash back that I can throw on top of my PayPal savings.
Whether we end up in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo or all three cities next year remains to be decided — but one thing I do know is where a nice chunk of our travel budget will be coming from. Thanks to my habits of not immediately emptying my PayPal account, saving up credit card rewards, and letting Clarity Money set aside money for me, I’ve unintentionally built an interesting little slush fund for myself. Hopefully you can find similar (unconventional) savings solutions for yourself and maybe even plan your own epic vacation!