Tired of all those New Year's resolutions you can never seem to keep? Don't set yourself up for failure. Here are five money moves that are actually attainable.
Create a Budget
It's kind of like joining a gym -- you've talked about creating a budget, but time after time, laziness has gotten the better of you. It's time to stop the madness and get serious about keeping track of your spending. Create a budget and set up a year's worth of calendar notifications reminding you to check your spending against it each month. Following a budget will help you see where you're overspending and identify more opportunities to save.
Pay Off Holiday Debt
So you racked up a huge credit card bill in your attempt to shower friends and loved ones with holiday cheer. You wouldn't be the first. But don't make the mistake of letting that debt linger all the way into 2017. Instead, commit to paying it off as early as possible. Cut corners, go out less or get a second job for a few months if need be. Do whatever it takes to get the freshest possible financial start to the new year.
Save Your Raise
If you're among the lucky folks getting a raise to welcome the new year, you may be tempted to spend that money on things like electronics, clothing or entertainment. Saving it, however, is a much smarter move. The average employee can expect to receive a three percent raise in the coming year. That figure accounts for rising cost-of-living expenses, but if your company dishes out performance-based pay increases as well, you could be looking at a much higher bump. Unless your rent or another major recurring bill happens to go up at that exact same time, you can capitalize on your pay increase by setting it up to automatically land in your savings account month after month. After all, if you're currently able to live without that extra money, there's a good chance you can continue to do so.
Learn to Cook
Eating at restaurants is fun, and ordering in is easy and convenient. But while both habits are okay as an occasional indulgence, they're less than stellar as a way of life. First of all, restaurant and takeout meals are always going to be more expensive than making food yourself. Plus, when you let somebody else control the ingredients, you're likely to consume more calories than you'd otherwise intend. Here's a better idea: Why not learn to cook some of your favorite meals? You'll save money and feel good about the fact that you're actually using your kitchen for something other than storage. Plus, when you prepare your own food, you can control your portions, which means your new habit will not only be better for your wallet, but for your waistline as well.
Take Care of Your Health
Being healthy isn't just good for your body; it's also good for your bank account. By staying in shape and scheduling your preventative care appointments, you'll be less likely to lose money in the form of medical bills from getting sick and missed work due to illness. You don't need to start training for a marathon or commit to five gym visits per week; even little changes can make a big difference. Walk the half-mile to work instead of riding the bus, or pledge to skip the elevator and take the stairs. You can tone up, lose those extra holiday pounds and save some money to boot.
What money-related resolutions are you hoping to keep this year?
After graduating college it became pretty clear that the "real world" is an expensive place to be (especially if you have student loans to pay back). Even with a job this realization hit me hard. I was quickly forced to do some critical thinking about how I was spending my money and what my budget needed to look like.
So, I decided to give up driving -- or at least avoid it as much as possible. Doing so has made a surprising impact on my budget and has afforded me the ability to pursue new hobbies and experiences that have greatly enriched my life. Here's how it went down:
My biking commute ended up being about 7 miles (35 minutes) each direction as opposed to 9 miles (20 minutes) by car. I calculated that I was saving nearly $15 a week in gas and other car-related expenses, like parking, just by riding my bike to work. Although this doesn't sound like much initially, it really started to add up. For instance, having that extra $60 a month in my pocket was enough to pay my portion of the internet bill.
In the U.S., the average personal-vehicle commute is about 11.8 miles and 25 minutes. Depending on the car's gas mileage, the savings accumulated by biking can be really substantial. Furthermore, biking instead of driving has positive impacts on air quality, lowers the number of fatal car accidents and promotes public safety within a city by lowering crime rates.
What many people may not realize is that when you become a bike commuter, you become a part of a community. Most bikers take the same route around the same time every morning, which means you tend to see the same faces over of over. After my first week biking, I constantly received smiles and waves from resident dog-walkers and other locals. While these relationships tend not to develop past that point, that positive interaction can set the tone for the rest of the day.
Plus, at biking speeds you're really able to see a lot more of your city in a completely different way. Biking gives you the time see a new neighborhood or notice small restaurants and businesses that are worth exploring. And multiple economic studies have even linked bikers and bike friendly neighborhoods to significant economic growth and development. Bikes really are good for small businesses.
Choosing to bike also provides a number of amazing monetary benefits outside of cutting down your gas bill. For example: Biking a minimum of 14 miles every day reduced my need to pay for a gym membership. Since I was getting my daily exercise while commuting, I no longer had to take additional time out of my day to exercise, which made getting up earlier much easier.
Additionally, getting regular exercise has been linked to improved mental health including reduced stress and increased productivity. Even when I biked during the winter, I found that my immune system was stronger and I was sick less frequently than my coworkers. That early morning endorphin kick from my commute also made it easier to jump straight into a project without waiting for any caffeine to kick in.
For many people (myself included), biking regularly started out as a chore and a challenge. But after a couple of weeks it became a thoroughly enjoyable part of my day. The added benefit of saving a substantial sum of money on car-related expenses, gym memberships and healthcare made choosing to bike an easy decision and a long-term life goal.
Between classes, coursework and other school-related responsibilities, finding the time for a part-time job can be difficult. But when you add in the extra expenses for textbooks, rent, groceries and other items you'll need to survive while taking classes, you'll probably need one.
Even if you're already working part-time but find your funds constantly wearing thin, there are ways to maximize your paycheck so you'll have money to pay the bills plus a few extras. Sure, you'll be tired from the lack of hours in your day, but your wallet will thank you. Here's how to get stared.
Open a Checking Account
If you still don't have one, get one. Checking accounts make it easy to see how much money you actually have. You better open a savings account while you're at it. Put away a small chunk of your paycheck and don't touch it. Seriously. If you put just $10 into savings each week, after one year you'll have saved more than $500. That cash could come in handy, especially when the holidays roll around.
Utilize On-Campus Resources
From workout facilities to discounted concerts, the resources available on campus will save you money you'd have to fork out otherwise. Take advantage of on-campus entertainment, including speakers, shows and concerts. Tickets might not be free, but it'll be cheaper than what you would normally pay. And why pay for a tutor when you can work with one for free? Writing and math resource centers and tutors for all subjects are there to help you ace your classes.
Become a pro in the Kitchen
I hate to break it to you, but you're going to have to learn how to cook. And college is the time to experiment, right? Making a sandwich for lunch is much more cost effective than ordering out, and it's healthier. Try buying in bulk and freezing individual servings of your favorite meals. That way, you'll always have food available and won't be as tempted to dine out as often.
Strategize Your Job Hunt
It's inevitable you need to work, but try to find a job where you can get some extra benefits plus a paycheck. Working at a residential restaurant on campus or at another restaurant could get you a free meal once in a while, or at least some sort of discount. A job at your university's bookstore could mean cheaper clothing and textbooks, and working in a retail store could get you discounts on a variety of items.
Every Cent Counts
Remember that piggy bank you used as a kid? Time to bring it out of retirement. Saving loose change and small bills will add up over time, and saving that money regularly could give you a nice financial cushion when you really need it.
Needs vs. Wants
Yes, you need food, but you need money to pay your bills each month, too. Do you really need to eat out twice a week? Or buy a coffee on your way to class each morning? By reevaluating the expenses in your life, you can see where you can cut back and your paycheck will last longer. You don't need to eliminate all of your wants, but reducing how often you indulge will make that extra coffee feel like more of a treat (without the added guilt).
So instead of counting down the days until your next payday, try some of these tips to finance your life like a pro while you're still in school. You might even end up with a little extra to store away -- or spend -- we aren't here to judge.
If you're lucky, your wedding was a magical day filled with fine food, festive dancing and lots of generous gifts.
Marrying the love of your life is great and all, but let's be real: There's nothing like the feeling of going through piles of envelopes and tallying up all that dough.
If you're in the enviable position of having accumulated a fair chunk of wedding day change, here are some ways to make the most of it:
Pay Off Wedding Debt
In 2013, the average cost of a wedding was nearly $30,000. If you helped foot the bill for your affair, get ready for those vendor invoices to start rolling in once your wedding is over. Rather than racking up a huge balance on your credit card -- one with unfavorable interest rates that'll cost you more over time -- use your gift money to pay off those expenses.
Put a Down Payment on a Home
Thinking about buying a place? You'll need a decent amount of savings to swing it. In 2014, the average down payment on a home was roughly 14 percent, or $32,000. If you and your spouse are ready to take on the responsibility of homeownership, consider using your wedding gift money to fund what will possibly be the single largest purchase you’ll ever make.
Furnish Your Place
Whether you're looking to buy a home, rent a new apartment or stay where you are, the need for some new furniture will likely come up -- especially if your next place is larger than your current one. These days, even a basic, put-it-together-yourself furniture set can set you back many hundreds of dollars, and unless you're willing to resign yourself to a lifetime of IKEA-style fiberboard, you'll probably want to upgrade some of your existing pieces. You can use your wedding gift money to buy a new bed, replace your beat-up futon with a functional sofa and trade those folding snack tables for a real dining room set.
Buy a Car
Unless you and your spouse are city-bound, you'll probably need a car to get around. But cars are expensive, and financing one means adding a payment to your list of monthly bills. If you've got enough money to work with, consider using that wedding dough to purchase a new car outright. Otherwise, use some of that cash to cover a down payment.
Pay Off Student Loans
Tired of looking at those monthly student loan statements and counting the days (or years) till you'll finally be free of that nagging debt? You can use some of your wedding gift money to knock out a chunk of what you owe. Even if you can't pay off your debt in its entirety, you may be able to shorten the lifespan of your loan so that it goes away sooner rather than later.
Take a Fabulous Honeymoon
Your honeymoon is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime event, so treat yourself to something exceptional. If you're tired of staying in budget motels and booking multi-connection flights to keep costs down, use that gift money to get a taste of the good life. Indulge in a five-star hotel and order room service as you please. Take a direct flight, and if you can't swing first class, at least try upgrading your seats for some added legroom.
No matter what you ultimately choose, before you spend your wedding gift money, sit down with your spouse and discuss how to allocate it. After all, that money is yours to share, and you should use it in a way that makes both of you happy.
After I graduated from college, all I wanted to do was travel to Europe. Unlike several of my friends, I didn't study abroad and I unfortunately didn't have family living overseas to help pad some of the travel costs. If I wanted to travel outside of the U.S., it would have to be on my own dime.
So once I got my first job, and after I paid off my student loans, I started planning my trip with one rule -- it had to be cheap. My goal was to spend no more than $2,500 for the whole trip. I knew I would have to make sacrifices, but it be worth it in order to see more of the world without accumulating debt in the process. Here's how you can do it, too.
Find Airfare-Inclusive Packages
Flying internationally doesn't come cheap. In my experience, the cheaper and more convenient option was to utilize a travel agency that offered packaged deals that included round-trip flights. For my travels, I found a great deal for $1,900 that included 14 days, five cities, airfare and Eurail tickets. With those major expenses out of the way, I figured $600 would be plenty for out-of-pocket expenses. Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial usually offer affordable packaged deals for thrifty travelers. Also, it helps to travel during the offseason as cities tend to be less crowded and vacation packages are usually cheaper.
Track What You Spend
Luckily for me, my travel partner was also all about saving money, so it wasn't hard for us to agree on keeping things cheap. We brought snacks from back home, which turned out to be a huge money saver. I recommend bringing granola bars and a sturdy water bottle, especially on days when you'll be doing a lot of walking past tempting bakeries and cafes. I was able to get by using my credit card, but there were definitely times when I spent more than I expected to and then had less to spend in the next city. Personally, I think having more cash on hand would have helped to keep my budget on track since I'd be able to physically see how much I was spending instead of mindless swiping.
Ditch the Euro
We decided to add Hungary and the Czech Republic to our itinerary. Since both countries don't use the euro, but instead use the Hungarian forint and Czech Koruna, this helped our budget tremendously. What we spent on drinks, food and taxi rides was only a fraction of what it cost in other European cities. These were the countries where we bought the most clothing and ate the best food.
The Daily Budget
Before my trip, I had read a blog that suggested budgeting $100 per day for a vacation in Europe. In my opinion, that's overdoing it. For some people, looking at a monument and snapping a picture is satisfying enough. Others don't mind spending the extra dough to hear about the history of the landmark they're visiting (or you know, you could look it up on your phone). Just keep in mind that if you're sticking to a strict budget like we were, you're going to have to make some sacrifices. We gave up touring through the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, but we had two days in Paris and wanted to spend our time seeing other, more wallet-friendly sites. If you're only paying for yourself, then $50 a day is certainly doable.
Bottom line: If someone tells you Europe is too expensive, just remember that with careful planning and budgeting, it's more than possible to take that dream trip.
There's something fun and magical about the holiday season that serves as a welcome break from the usual grind. The downside, however, is that once the holidays are over, it's back to reality. That means hitting the gym again, rethinking your budget and, if you're looking for work, embarking on an aggressive job search.
While hiring tends to slow down significantly during the holiday season, once the new year kicks in, companies tend to start looking for new employees. In fact, January is one of the biggest hiring months across major businesses and industries.
The reason is simple: Many companies' hiring budgets refresh once the new year kicks in. That, coupled with new projects and initiatives, means January is a great time to capitalize on job opportunities. Here's how:
Have your resume and cover letters ready to go by the start of the new year. You may prefer to focus more on the festivities than tweaking your resume and writing cover letters, but the key is to be ready to go come the start of January so that you can jump on those new job postings. While you'll probably have to tailor your cover letters to the specific opportunities you're applying for, you can start by putting together some strong basic letters and adjusting their contents accordingly as you go.
Update your LinkedIn profile. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, create one immediately. And if you do have one, make sure it's as up-to-date as your resume. According to a 2014 study by Jobvite, LinkedIn is the top social network used by recruiters to find job candidates, so be sure to take advantage by keeping your profile current.
Look for jobs daily. January is when the hiring frenzy tends to get into full swing, which means you're likely to see new jobs posted every single day. If you're serious about snagging one, commit to searching on a constant basis. This means checking general career sites like Indeed.com and Monster.com, plus reviewing the career pages for the companies you're most interested in working for.
Network like crazy. Many companies encourage employees to refer qualified candidates for open roles. If you're serious about landing a new job, now's the time to reach out to your contacts and put the word out that you're available for hire. Don't be afraid to exhaust your social and professional networks, as the more people you communicate with, the more opportunities you're likely to find.
Check in with recruiters. Remember that headhunter you met with a couple of months ago? Now's the perfect time to touch base. Most recruiters are eager to start the year off on a strong note, which means getting candidates placed right off the bat.
Read up on your dream companies. You know that company you always dreamed of working at? Now's the time to research it thoroughly. After all, you never know when a job might get posted, and you'll increase your chances of getting hired if you approach the interview process already prepared.
Of course, just because January tends to bring more job openings doesn't mean you'll find one right away, so don't get discouraged if you're still looking come month's end. Remember, too, that companies need time to review and respond to all the resumes they get, so while it's best to be prepared, you may be looking at one of those "hurry up and wait" situations. You may need to strike that ideal balance between being patient and persistent, but with any luck, you'll land the perfect job early on to start 2016 off right.
The holidays are an exciting time of year. The good food and even better company make the anticipation for the holiday season all the more worthwhile. That is, until you open your wallet.
The pain of financing gifts for your family and friends sure can put a damper on your holiday cheer more than your uncle's bad jokes. But, there is a way to enjoy the holidays and keep your bank account intact (as for your uncle's jokes, well, you're on your own).
Make a Plan
The key to controlling your spending this year is to make a plan. Determine how many people you will be buying gifts for and the amount you are willing to spend on each person. Keeping track of people and prices will help you to keep your budget on track.
Start before the Snow Falls
To avoid holiday prices -- and a mad dash to get gifts on time -- start planning before the holiday season rolls around. Think of potential gifts for your loved ones all year round to keep ahead of the game and to snag sweet deals.
Try Your Hand at Homemade
The best gifts are the ones that take time to piece together. What better way to show your love for someone than to make them a gift from scratch? Tie blankets, mason-jar goodies and other knickknacks can easily be turned into one-of-a-kind gifts that won't leave you scrounging for this month's rent.
Participate in a Gift Exchange
Secret Santa and White Elephant gift exchanges are around for a reason. It's the perfect way to still give (and, let's be honest, receive) gifts without having to buy for multiple people. Plan a gift exchange with a group of friends or family so you only have to buy for a few people. To save even more, set a dollar amount everyone must stay under. You save money and get a holiday treat. Everyone wins.
Don't Go Overboard
It's easy to feel like you need to purchase multiple gifts for people -- but you don't. Take your time, do your research and give one gift that really suits the person. No one likes to receive five mindless gifts. Do your homework and hit your loved ones with a thoughtful gift that they'll be sure to love.
It's the Most Wonderful Time to Say No
So all of your friends want to exchange gifts this year, and a group of coworkers would lik to swap gifts for the holidays, too. News flash: You don't need to buy gifts for everyone in your life. Suggest starting a holiday tradition of doing something fun -- like checking out a movie your group has been dying to see or making dinner plans at that new restaurant downtown instead of exchanging gifts. That way, you can spend quality time with the people you care about without the sting of overspending.
Remember the True Meaning of the Holidays
If, despite your best penny-pinching tactics, you still find yourself strapped for cash, just remember the real meaning of the holidays is to spend time with family and friends -- not to give and receive presents. If you just can't fork out the money this year, be honest with yourself and with your loved ones -- you'll feel better and they'll understand. Besides, we all know that it's truly the thought that counts.
There's a crisis brewing in our country, and many of us are caught up in the thick of it. Students these days are borrowing more money than ever in their quest for higher education. The latest data reveals that 69 percent of 2014 graduates took out loans in order to attend college. Of those who borrowed, the average take-home debt pile was $28,950, up two percent from the previous year.
There are so, so many problems with these statistics. For starters, those who borrowed money for college didn't just turn to federal loans, which at least come with a number of flexible repayment programs. Many students had no choice but to borrow money from private lenders to attend college -- a good 17 percent of 2014 graduates, in fact.
It's Going to Cost You
The problem with private loans is that they tend to come with higher interest rates and far less flexibility. Federal loans, by contrast, allow borrowers some wiggle room -- especially when outstanding student debt represents a ridiculously large chunk of their income. There are also forgiveness programs for federal loans. Granted, you need to meet specific criteria to qualify, but if you're a teacher in an underserved district, for example, you may be eligible to have your federal loan balance forgiven. Similarly, if you work in the public service field, you may able to wipe out your loan balance once you've made a certain number of payments.
Those who borrow money from private lenders aren't quite as lucky. Plus, when you take out private loans, there's a good chance you'll wind up with a higher interest rate than you would with a federal loan, thus dragging out the repayment process even further.
Here's the other really disturbing piece of the puzzle: Students these days are borrowing over 50 percent more than they were 10 years ago. Those who graduated college in 2004 came away with an average outstanding student loan balance of $18,550, compared to $28,950 for last year's class. Believe it or not, that translates into double the rate of inflation.
Campaign Strategies for Student Debt
The problem is so bad that student debt is actually taking a lead role in presidential campaigns. With Americans owing a cumulative $1.2 trillion in student debt, today's leading candidates are taking a strong stance on student debt.
Hillary Clinton believes that the government needs to intervene before the crisis gets worse. If elected, Clinton would pledge $350 billion over a 10-year period to make college more affordable. Under her plan, the federal government would provide grants to states offering free tuition at two-year community colleges, as well as those pledging to help students attend four-year colleges without having to take on debt.
Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, introduced a bill earlier in the year that would make public colleges free for students. Under his bill, the federal government would cover the majority of tuition costs, leaving individual states to pay the rest. The federal portion would be covered through tax increases on investment firms.
Republican Chris Christie wants to reform the student loan system, particularly in regard to low-income borrowers. He also wants colleges to be held more accountable for their rising costs. And while Donald Trump is no stranger to making money, he believes that the government should not be profiting off of college students who have no choice but to take out federal loans.
Either way, until someone steps in or this crazy college bubble bursts, next year's students are going to have a very tough decision to make: Forego their dream schools, or prepare for many years of nagging loan payments. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
Now that you've decided to start searching for graduate programs and have possibly found a few you'd like to apply to, you may have noticed that the application process is a little daunting. Each university has specific expectations and requirements, so it's important to follow the right steps when submitting your applications.
Remember these tips as you dive into this exciting process:
Know Who the Program Is Looking for
Be sure to research each universities program requirements before you submit an application. For example, Clemson University clearly states its graduate admission requirements like grade point average, experience and test scores. But requirements often range past the basic list of essentials. You'll want to tailor your application materials to highlight some of the program's main objectives, values and culture, along with how you feel the program is the right fit for you.
Set an Application Budget
Let's face it, applying to graduate school is expensive. By setting a budget, you can compare application fees and the travel costs for visits and interviews. You can even start planning ahead for potential moving costs if you know that graduate school will take you out of your current area.
Seek Professional References
Weeks prior to submitting your application, seek out professional references to write you a positive recommendation. While your grandma and best friend would probably have a laundry list of nice things to say about you, it's now time to take a look at key people you've worked closely with throughout your prior experiences. This could be an organization advisor, employer, professor or professional mentor. Provide them with the basic information on your program, a resume of your experience and a copy of your personal statement. Check out this article about how, when and who to ask for a recommendation letter. Just don't forget to send a thank you note to your recommender because as much as they would love to talk about how great of employee or student you are, they're probably taking time out of their day to do so.
Organize Your Materials
Each school will require a different set of materials for you to submit along with your application. Transcripts, resumes, test scores, recommendation letters and a personal statement are common with most programs. This application is going to contain all of the information that will either get you into the program, or not. Don't let typos or silly mistakes affect your admission chances. Have someone else proofread each piece you submit to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors, and submit everything at once so you don't run the risk of leaving anything out. Since most applications are now submitted online, you shouldn't have to worry about any postage costs.
Ace Your Interview
Interviewing for graduate school is not like an interview for your average job. How you articulate your educational background and transferrable skills is essential. You're choosing to take the next step with a new degree, so show passion for why you've chosen this university as an important step in your life. USA Today notes some additional interview-acing tips that include remembering that you’re always being interviewed. From the moment you step foot on campus, each student, faculty member and university employee you interact with could end up having a say on whether you're in or out. Stay professional, calm and collected during your visit, and try to see if you can picture yourself succeeding at this university.
If you organize well and go in with a plan and confidence, applying to graduate school can become the first step toward achieving those life-long dreams.
One of the best parts of traveling is getting to experience all sorts of new cuisine. This especially holds true if you're visiting a city known for its fine dining and unique culinary offerings. Here's the downside though: Eating out is expensive, and if you blow too much of your travel budget on meals, it can limit your ability to do other things while you're away or, worse yet, leave you with a massive credit card bill you can't pay once you get home.
Here are some tips for keeping your food costs to a minimum:
Make Your Own Meals
It may be tempting to treat yourself to nightly restaurant meals, but most restaurants are said to charge as much as a 300 percent markup, which means you'll almost always pay more to eat out as opposed to cooking at home. If you rent an apartment, house or cabin with a kitchen instead of a hotel room on your next trip, you can prepare some of your own meals to avoid dining out every night. As an added bonus, there's a good chance your rental will be cheaper than a hotel, so you'll save money there too.
Find a Hotel Room That Includes a Mini Fridge and Microwave
If you can't find a rental or would just rather stay at a hotel for convenience purposes, try to find a room equipped with a small refrigerator and microwave. This way, you have the option of storing and reheating restaurant leftovers instead of throwing them away and paying for full meals the following day.
Book a Room Where Breakfast Is Included
Some hotels offer free breakfast as part of your nightly room rate. However, don't make the mistake of overpaying for the convenience of having breakfast on-site. When you shop around for hotels, compare the rates of those that do and do not serve breakfast to see where the difference lies. If you find that you can book a room for $100 without breakfast versus $120 with breakfast, it pays to go with the cheaper room and buy your own no-frills breakfast for under $5. But if you find that the cost to have breakfast included is only a few dollars more, it might pay to add that $5 to your nightly rate, fill up on a good meal and save money by not needing such a heavy lunch.
Try Street Food
Though food trucks and carts are more ubiquitous in some cities than others, many offer quality meals at affordable prices. When you buy your food on the street instead of at a restaurant, you don't have to worry about tipping a waiter, and the cost of your meal will most likely be less to begin with.
Pack Your Own Snacks
It's natural to get hungry when you're out and about doing awesome touristy things, but buying snacks on the fly from newsstands or corner shops can cost you. Instead, stash some energy bars or trail mix in your suitcase before you leave, and dig into your supply as needed while you're away.
Look Into Online Restaurant Certificates
Sites like restaurant.com allow you to purchase certificates to local eateries at a discount. Though these certificates do come with certain restrictions, if you're visiting a new city, it pays to see what kind of deals you can snag.
Unless you're taking a truly food-centric vacation, there's no need to spend tons of money on meals while you're traveling. Besides, the less you spend on food during your next trip, the sooner you'll be able to take another one.