Saturday, August 29, 2015

Asking Yourself: "How Could I Possibly Pay For A Cruise?" Well...

How Can You Pay for A Cruise?

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It’s one thing to say that you are going to take a cruise, choose the perfect package, and even get prices for your dream vacation, but it is a whole different thing to actually save up the money to pay for it and hand it over to your booking agent. It’s during this part of the vacation planning process that most people give up on taking a sea voyage and end up taking a short excursion inland.

When asked, many people admit that taking a cruise has always been their dream vacation, but they have not been able to quite pull it off. Why? While some simply just can’t get the time away from work and responsibilities, most people are locked out of taking a sea vacation because they cannot afford to pay for it.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Cruises are more affordable than you think, and there are ways that you can pay for the vacation of your dreams without maxing out your credit cards or taking out a second mortgage.

The first thing to consider when trying figuring out how to pay for a cruise is the actual cost for the cruise. Many people take one look at the fare pricing and view it the same way that they would hotel pricing. (I write about this in a previous article: "Are You Saying You Can't Afford A Cruise? Think Again!") In their mind they are visualizing this as the base cost of the vacation with extras like food, entertainment, and other expenses added on. But the truth of the matter is that cruise packages include all of these costs. This means that the vacation that you have always wanted could be just as affordable as or even more affordable than the land-based vacation that you have always taken.

And if that’s not enough, you can cut the cost of your cruise vacation even further by cashing in on special promotions, booking and paying for your trip well in advance, and taking your cruise during the off-season. Booking passage on a smaller ship rather than the largest, most luxurious ship will also save you a great deal of money. You can even cut costs by choosing a smaller stateroom located on the inside of the ship over a room that faces outward and has a terrace or other amenities.

Even after you take off all of the possible savings, you will still have to come up with something to pay for your cruise. And just how will you do that? Well the key to saving for anything is early planning. If you save throughout the year rather than just for a few weeks or months before your trip, you will be better able to put something away toward your trip without having to let other financial obligations slide.

You should never finance a holiday with credit. No matter whether or not you get a great interest rate, funding vacations with credit is never a good idea. This is because you will end up paying much more for your vacation over a longer period of time than you would have if you would have saved for your trip before hand. Financing a vacation often makes it impossible to take future vacations until the financed holiday is paid for, and it may even create financial hardships. This can lead to resentment and hard feelings over a time that was supposed to only generate happy memories.

So unless you have a very generous aunt, paying for your cruise is going to be all up to you. Don’t worry, though. Paying for a vacation is possible even on the stingiest income if you know how to save.

The key to saving up for anything is consistency. You can’t simply say I’m going to put back any extra money that I have until I have enough saved up to take a cruise. If you go about it in this way, you will never save anything. When’s the last time you had “extra” money? And if you did have it, how long did it stay in your pocket? To save you need a plan, and you need discipline to stick to that plan.

The first step to making a savings plan is to decide when you will be taking your vacation and how much it will cost. Divide the amount of the vacation by the number of weeks you have until you have to have your cruise passage paid in full. This will tell you how much money you will have to put back each week in order to pay for the holiday. If you cannot possibly afford the amount that you need to tuck away each week, you may have to postpone the date of your vacation or make some adjustments to your living expenses.

Next, look at your budget. If you don’t have one, make one. Include everything that you spend money on each week. Don’t leave out extras. You would be surprised by how much income slips through your fingers only to be spent on frivolous purchases. Look for areas where you can cut expenses to free up some income to put toward your trip. Do you stop for a latte every morning or eat out frequently? By simply cutting out these extras, you could free up enough income to pay for your trip and then some.

Now that you have figured out where the money is going to come from, you will need to decide on a safe place to put it. This should be a place that you cannot raid if you feel the need to splurge. A savings account is a great idea if you can deposit money into it and forget about it. You and your significant other can check up on each other. If you think that you may be tempted to make withdraws from the account, you may want to have a trusted friend or relative open an account for you with the stipulations that they are not to withdraw any money for you for any reason. If your vacation is going to be well into the future, savings bonds are also a great idea.

Here's a simple saving tip: At the end of every day any change PLUS any one dollar bills you have go into a jar for the cruise fund. That's it, just be disciplined about it. $3 dollars a day for a year is more than $1,000. Don't buy something everyday? Then step it up a notch? Never pay for anything with dollar bills so you will accumulate them throughout the day. If something is $2.50, than you have to pay with a $5 or $10 and get $2.50 in coin change and one dollar bill change that you will save. So now every single purchase will contribute to your cruise fund!

But no matter where you decide to keep your holiday savings, be sure that you make weekly deposits and stick to your savings plan. Don’t give up. The vacation of a lifetime is within your grasp. It's up to you. Make the dream a reality.

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