How I Turned Coffee Cravings Into Travel Savings

Reverse budgeting is the key to your next vacation.

Now that autumn has arrived, it’s officially pumpkin spice season in coffee shops all across the country. Coffee enthusiasts can enjoy their beloved pumpkin spice lattes and other fall flavor favorites, like caramel, maple and cinnamon. What’s better still, on Sept. 29, coffee lovers around the world will raise their mugs in celebration of International Coffee Day.

For those who are keeping a close eye on their budget, though, curbing coffee cravings can be extremely difficult — especially when there are so many delicious flavors to choose from. But what if I told you that there’s a way to turn your coffee cravings into additional savings?

Read More: Dumb Expenses You Need to Slash From Your Budget Now

What Is Reverse Budgeting?

Reverse budgeting is a manual approach to saving money by tracking the funds that you do not spend. I first discovered reverse budgeting when I wanted to save more money for vacationing but thought that I couldn’t afford to save another penny. I’ve used this budgeting method ever since to trick myself into saving more money for travel.

According to CIT Bank’s new Summer Savings Survey conducted by The Harris Poll, despite the majority of people spending up to $5,000 a year on vacations, a quarter of them say that vacation savings aren’t a priority. What’s more, 44 percent said saving for vacations was a low priority.

The survey further revealed that while people are spending a significant amount of money annually on vacations (and yet, not prioritizing saving for them), how they’re willing to fund them are extreme. Twenty-nine percent said that they had done things such as take out a bank loan, go into debt or borrow money just to travel.

For me, travel is essential, but it’s important that I’m smart about it. I don’t want to exceed my credit card limit or take on debt just to have a memorable vacation. Instead, I choose to save for travel by reverse budgeting.

Related: 10 Most Effective Ways to Budget Your Money at Any Age

How I Turn Coffee Cravings Into Travel Savings

A budget is simply a detailed spending plan for your money. In this plan, you set money aside for bills, day-to-day living expenses and savings. However, when all is said and done, your actual expenses might be less than budgeted. If this is the case, use reverse budgeting to immediately capture those unspent funds.

Every time I think about buying a pumpkin spice latte and decide against it, I immediately transfer those savings into my savings account or travel fund. I pull out my phone, open my bank app and transfer $6 into my savings account.

You can even open a savings account where you deposit all of the money you saved specifically from reverse budgeting each month. At the end of the year, use that money to treat yourself.

You can also apply reverse budgeting to coupons and discount codes. For example, since T-Mobile offers periodic T-Mobile Tuesday app discounts at Dunkin’ Donuts, I use the T-Mobile Tuesday coupon to get $2 off anything on the menu. As soon as I make a purchase, I immediately transfer $2 into my savings.

More on Saving for Trips: 50 Easy Ways to Save for Your Next Big Vacation

Reverse Budgeting Pros

  • An easy way to see your unspent savings
  • Reduces the likeliness that you’ll spend your savings elsewhere
  • Rewards you for being frugal
  • Identifies additional saving opportunities in your budget

Reverse Budgeting Cons

  • Not an automatic savings method
  • Have to be mindful of urges to spend
  • It may be hard to take action immediately
  • Requires lots discipline to keep track

Although automatic saving strategies are currently very popular, I still find lots of value in manual budgeting approaches like reverse budgeting. Reverse budgeting helps you save by highlighting money that you might not have noticed otherwise. With that said, I’m confident that if you try it, you’ll see your savings grow.

Read More: Strategies My Family Uses to Stick to Our Budget

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