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Empty wallet after overspending on vacation

Vacation Recovery: How to Bounce Back

You make the trek home post-vacation with memories, photos and souvenirs to boot. But your wallet is a little lighter than you originally planned.

Here are nine ways to help you recover from overspending on your last vacation and get back on track.

  1. Put your money where your mouth is — literally
    Whether you’re entertaining or eating alone, choose to eat at home until you make up the difference. Start by using what you already have in the pantry and freezer. When you do go to the grocery store, though, limit your spending by ordering online. There’s usually free pickup, and you can make sure you only get what you need.
  2. Put credit card points to use
    If you got cash back for the money you spent on your trip, now is the time to use it. Apply points to your statement to cut down on your monthly bill. Even though you overspent, the points are money back in your pocket that can help make up ground.
  3. Set goals and keep track
    Odds are, you’re going to need a few months of low-key spending to make up the difference from your trip. That’s OK. Take a look at where you’re at, how much you spent over your budget and what goals you want to achieve. Saving a little at a time will keep you accountable without being overwhelming.
  4. Audit your spending
    Sit down and go through all of your expenses. The process will help you notice patterns of spending that can lead to changes in how you spend. You may even see unnecessary expenses, like unused subscriptions, that could be canceled to help you save some money. Our budgeting worksheet can help you get started.
  5. Organize your funds
    Consider splitting your paycheck between two bank accounts. One can be a designated savings account for vacations, emergency expenses or a down payment on a car. Use the other account for your day-to-day spending. This can help you save and show you how much you have available for your monthly budget.
  6. Embrace DIYing
    Being in a money-conscious mindset doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun. Use social media to your advantage and find ways to do things yourself. Whether it’s repurposing an old item of clothing or discovering a new way to kill a few hours one afternoon for free, the opportunities are endless.
  7. Reduce utility usage
    Take advantage of milder fall temperatures and leave your AC or heater alone to save. Each utility company runs a bit differently, so look into your provider to see how they do things and maximize savings.
  8. Start a side hustle
    Whether you can freelance your design skills or sell your crafts online, turning a passion project into a money-making endeavor will help cut down your vacation debt. Look into the legal requirements of starting your own side business, notably the tax implications.
  9. Take the No-Spend Challenge
    Last but certainly not least, push yourself to try a no-spend challenge. The goal is simple: Only spend on what you’ve budgeted for and nothing else for as many days in one month as you can. Try to go one day, then three, then five, and see how many you can get consecutively.

When all is said and done, you enjoyed your trip for all it was worth. Now, it’s time to channel that same energy into updating your household budget to help recover from vacation spending.

Allison Scott
By Allison Scott, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Allison Scott is committed to steering people in the right financial direction. When she’s not shifting gears at work, you can find her listening to John Mayer, cracking “dad jokes” or watching the Dallas Stars.


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