Holiday budgeting part three: How to recover your savings after a holiday
You’re back from holiday and hopefully you had a fantastic time! But before you start planning your next adventure, it’s time for a little money admin. If your finances are feeling the burn from all that fun in the sun, we’ve got your first class ticket to savings recovery!
Step 1: Face the facts and do a spending deep-dive
Like they say, knowledge is power. So, if you want to get back on track after a holiday, you need to face the music and take a look at how much you really spent. According to this study, the average Brit overspends by 54% on holiday, so even if you think you stayed on budget, it’s worth checking. To get started, check-in on your spending across all of your accounts and credit cards - you can easily do this in one clear view using Yolt. Head to the Transactions page to see exactly what you spent across all of the major spending categories, from ‘Eating out’ to ‘Transport’. This is great for a more granular understanding of how you spent on your holiday. For example, did you splurge on ‘Leisure’ or ‘Shopping’? For a single top-line view of your total spending, you can re-categorise any transactions related to your holiday to the ‘Travel’ category.
How does that number measure up against your original budget - or what you assumed you’d spent? It’s important to compare the expectation and the reality, especially if you want to plan another holiday in the future (more on that here!).
That covers any money you’ve already spent. Now it's time to tackle any money that’s still owing. If you travelled with friends or family, make sure to follow up on any shared costs. If you used a credit card during your trip, double check when your statement is due and start preparing to pay off any debt. That brings us to step 2…
Step 2: Pay off any holiday debt
A 2018 survey of 2000 people found that 22% borrowed money to go on holiday. This included relying on credit cards, personal loans, and borrowing money from family and friends. So, if you did dip into debt for your holiday, you’re not alone. But you should try to pay this off as quickly as possible, otherwise your holiday will end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for. Not only do you end up paying interest on a holiday that’s already over, but it could also impact your credit score and any other long-term money goals with it.
The next two steps can help you get on track with paying off that holiday debt…
Step 3: Follow up on any outstanding money that you’re owed
It’s not the most fun task, but it’s an important one! And if you have any holiday debt to pay off, this money can go a long way in making that happen. It’s easiest to break this step into two parts:
1. Money owed by friends or family
We’ve all been there. You plan a holiday with a few friends, and you kindly offer to book everything. Everyone will pay you back, right? If you've waited until after your holiday to settle the holiday fees with your group, get on it quickly. No one likes chasing their friends to pay them back, but it’s only going to get harder as more time passes. And we’re not just talking about big ticket items like flights or hotels. Even if it’s just bits and bobs, like groceries or sun cream, every little expense adds up.
If you didn’t keep a list of travel purchases, you can use Yolt to review all of your travel expenses and track down what you’re owed.
2. Official financial claims, cashback or rebates
We admit it - these aren’t the most exciting tasks, but a bit of time spent on filling out a few forms could mean hundreds of pounds back in your pocket.
Here are four things to settle up post holiday:
If you used any of your travel insurance while you were away, make sure you file any claims as soon as you’re back. Different policies can have different expiration dates, so it’s best you do these straight away while your memory is fresh and all of your paperwork is in order. The same goes for mobile insurance, car insurance, and more.
If your EU flight was delayed by over three hours - or cancelled - you could be looking at a pretty sizable refund. But you have to make an official claim. Make sure to check your airline’s website for any forms - most will let you claim online.
If you used any cashback sites for purchases related to your trip, it might be worth withdrawing your cashback right away - it could go a long way in paying off any of that holiday debt we mentioned in step 2.
Did you know that you can reclaim the VAT you paid on purchases while you were abroad? In most cases, you have to make your claim before you’re back in the UK (so if you’re already back, keep this tip in mind for your next holiday). To claim back any tax:
i. Find out if your holiday destination offers a VAT or GST rebate - most countries have slightly different rules.
ii. Hold on to all of your shopping receipts - you’ll need these to make your claim.
iii. On your way home, give yourself time at the airport to file your claim. Most have dedicated reclaim desks at the departure gates.
Step 4: Set recovery budgets
You’ve made it through the first three steps. You’re finances are on the road to recovery, but like they say: sometimes things get a bit worse before they get better. Your coffers may be looking a little depleted, but now that you know where you stand, you can start working towards getting things back to normal.
To get started, have a think about where you can realistically rein in your spending. By spending smart, you can save smart, too. Set a monthly spending target, factoring in your your salary, bills and how much you want to save by the end of the month - you can do this in Yolt using the ‘Left to spend’ tile on your dashboard. Then you can set budgets for different categories to keep you within that total target. A good starting point is cutting back on extras, like daily trips to your favourite coffee shop or Tuesday takeaways. There are lots of little ways you can cut back and save every day, week, and month - we have a whole blog about it here with lots of tips.
And there you have it! Your finances are now in recovery mode - with a little time and effort, you’ll be saving up for your holiday!