NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s easy to spend and impulse buy while on summer vacation, but those added expenses follow you back home once your trip is over.
The average vacation for an American family of four costs nearly $4,500. Many turn to credit cards while on a trip to pay for impulse buys.
“You’re not really thinking about that, you know what I mean, while you’re here on vacation,” vacationer Jamie Mazzola said.
“Hey, I’ll put it on my credit card and worry about it later,” vacationer Frank Dinapoli said.
“I’m on vacation, so why not? Let’s do it,” vacationer Annette Kinsley said.
All that leisure spending may surprise your bank accounts on the journey back home. Keith Smilowski, a father of two, told CBS2 he gave himself a limit while vacationing on the Jersey Shore.
“I withdrew a certain amount of cash before I came down and that was my spending cash,” he said.
That’s a plan credit repair specialist Paul Oster says is ideal. The first tip he has on saving money is to cut down on the number of days you’re going to be away.
“Plan for a staycation, one or two days before and a staycation one or two days after,” he said.
Oster, the president of Better Qualified, also encourages families to make a separate savings account for their vacation. Never use a credit card while on your trip; instead, use one debit card.
“So you can actually check your balance while you’re away. Am I overspending? How am I going to pay this back?” Oster said.
Oster says if you haven’t already saved up spending money for your trip, set up an aggressive post-vacation payment plan.
“I suggest no more longer than 3 to 6 months to pay back the expenses that you’re going to occur,” he said.
Look for last-minute coupons online. You don’t want a dream vacation to turn into a credit nightmare.
Oster says the one thing most families forget to budget for is food. A family of four on vacation needs an average of $132 per day for meals, but that doesn’t factor in tips, snacks or alcohol.