4 Things I Gave Up to Afford a Vacation

beach vacation
I’ve been living in Toronto all my life, but there’s something about the cold that I’ll just never get used to. The second that cold front hits, I’m immediately hoping to go somewhere exotic. I want to be on the beach, in my bathing suit, wearing sunglasses, holding a nice book, without a single care in the world.

After last year’s snowstorms, I decided that I just couldn’t handle another winter in Toronto. At the time, it seemed like a faraway idea, but I learned over the past year that saving for a vacation doesn’t have to be an impossible thing. So I looked at what I was spending my money on, and I realized one big thing: there were things in my life that I didn’t need. Making slight changes to my lifestyle resulted in some big savings, and I am happy to say that I’ve reached my saving goal.

Here’s what I gave up to save money for my winter vacation.

Buying lunches

With so many online delivery services, it became really easy to just say, “I’ll order lunch tomorrow” instead of dealing with an evening of cooking (and worse—dishes). Especially when I’m wrapped up in my work, it became the constant excuse. But after I invested in a few good cookbooks, I found myself not only enjoying cooking more, but also saving at least a few hundred dollars each month because I no longer ordered food.

I also learned that lunches don’t have to be very fancy. Some brown rice, roasted vegetables, and some roasted chicken from the grocery store takes less than an hour to make, and can last me a whole week. This has been one of my favourite lifestyle changes; it just so happens that I also got to see my vacation fund grow.

Online shopping

online shopping
This used to be an enormous expense for me. If you’re anything like me—an enthusiastic shopper who doesn’t like going to shopping malls—then there’s a clear appeal to online shopping. The convenience is unparalleled, but it became so convenient for me that browsing online stores became a nightly ritual. There was a disconnect—I just click, add it to my basket, and I get my item in four to six weeks’ time. But soon I was charge thousands of dollars to my credit card.

So, I picked up a different nightly ritual. After dinner, I take my dog out for a long walk and come home for tea and the Food Network. I’m not suggesting that cutting this habit was easy, but it also made me realize how I didn’t need many of the things I had purchased during my online shopping days. Trust me: if you like to online shop, this is one of the best things to cut out if you want to save money for your winter vacation.

Emergency snacking

I live two blocks from a 24-hour convenience store. Since I have a very erratic sleeping schedule (I’m a night owl), I would sometimes find myself wandering over to the store to pick up some snacks. These were, of course, items outside of my usual grocery store list, and I was never necessarily hungry when I got them either. But I realized that $5 every other night quickly added up—that’s almost $80 a month, and over $900 every year. Needless to say, giving this habit up really helped with my saving goals.

Indulging at dinner

dining
Going out for dinner is fun. Gathering with friends always a great time, but it also creates temptation that comes in the form of food or drinks that I probably don’t need. I used to find myself ordering at least two glasses of wine or glasses of cocktails, just so I would have a drink since my dinner companion(s) would also be ordering drinks. At the end of the day, these are indulgences. Going out for dinner is already a treat; I certainly didn’t need dessert. In fact, by skipping drinks and dessert, saves me around $30 every time I go out. I miss my desserts, but I miss sandy beaches more.

By giving up these little things, I managed to save over $4,000 for my vacation. It was a bit hard, sure. But at the end of the day, I’ll be a much happier person because I’ll get to go on my vacation. I really think these are totally reasonable things to give up, though some take a little longer to get used to than others. I hope my tips and tricks can help you save a bit of money for your dream vacation!

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