Set up an automatic savings plan and sell some stuff...

Set up an automatic savings plan and sell some stuff you don't need to pay for your vacation. Credit: Getty Images / iStock

Summer vacation is a lot like Christmas: It comes around every year and yet somehow, you’re not financially prepared. So, what do you do? Just like the holidays, you charge, charge, charge.

Shake the cycle. Today, start saving for a debt-free vacation.

Save on autopilot: “Contact your human resources or payroll department to help you automatically send a portion of your paycheck to a savings account,” says Danial Tariq, vice president at Quontic Bank in Astoria. This account should be designated for vacations.

Hibernate: “Stay home during the winter. Invite friends and family over instead of going out. Netflix and board games are great entertainment. Take what you typically spend going out and put that money into summer vacation savings,” says Kyle Winkfield, managing partner of OWRS, a wealth management firm in Washington, D.C.

Create a vacation budget: Decide where you want to go. Then investigate costs. “Creating a budget can make managing your vacation money a breeze. Examine your spending and make adjustments to free up cash flow for your vacation. Making small sacrifices will enable you to vacation without money worries,” says Leslie Tayne, a Melville attorney specializing in financial issues.

Spring clean and sell your stuff: Make good use of being stuck in the house in the winter. Clean out closets, the attic, and your garage. Look for items you no longer use that could be sold. Says Kayse Kress, a certified financial planner with More With Less Financial Planning in Hartford, Connecticut, “Figure out the best way to maximize your sales. Try a traditional yard sale or selling online. Put that money into your vacation fund.”

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