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Budget Vacation Hacks

Budget Vacation Hacks

Here are a few hacks and tips for getting yourself ready for vacations. Some deal with money. Others deal with planning. They all hopefully add up to ways you might get more fun and comfort out of your next vacation:

  • Save Change and Coffee Money– Make it a project to raise jars of money for vacations. One trick is to always pocket your change from purchases and only buy using bills. That way, the coins add up. Put these in a savings jar at home. Have your family contribute, too. Also, consider buying a jar of instant coffee or brewing coffee at home for one or two days a week. Throw the $3 or so you save (and count the bagel or muffin you normally get) into the jar.
  • Yard Sale Money– While we’re saving, I mentioned clearing out your house a few posts ago. Try having a Yard Sale for some of your stuff, and using eBay for the better items. Get the whole family in on the gig. Throw that money into the jars, too.
  • Cut Back and Invest– Last one about saving money, but consider cutting back on the services and niceties you pay for, and putting the exact amount into the jars. Swap your $100 dinner out for a deli sandwich, your deli sandwich for something at home. Go oldschool college and eat ramen noodles or mac and cheese, banking the savings. These will add up fast.
  • Pick an Inexpensive Destination– Our reasons for vacationing are personal and unique. Some folks crave adventure. Others like to reconnect with the family. Most of us want to relax. Whatever your mindset, closely examine what you really want, and determine what are the “must have” things to make that happen. For instance, if you want to reconnect to the family, why not a short distance drive to a tenting site for a camp vacation? If you want adventure, consider choosing human-powered events like bicycling trips or kayaking over powered adventures like motorcycles and power boats (fuel prices being what they are). For relaxation, is it really the scenery that relaxes you? Or is it peace, tranquility, good food, and ease-of-experience? You might find ways to save by doing something closer to home.
  • Alternative Accomodations– I mentioned tent camping. There are other alternative ways to cut costs around the part of the vacation where people usually overspend: a place to sleep. When you consider the overall goals of your holiday, do you want the best possible bed in the brightest, most updated hotel in the area? Or do you want to experience as much of your destination as possible? Look for bed and breakfast lodging, budget motels (travel like a rock band), friends to visit along the way, and any other way you can minimize the actual cost of a place to rest your weary head. Pocket the money you save for that hiking tour of the seaside.
  • Share a Vacation– Coordinated travel can be okay, or it can be a pain. If you’re up for dealing with other people’s quirks, consider sharing the expenses on a vacation with another couple or family. You can then take advange in some areas, like sharing a house instead of hotel rooms, splitting grocery money to cut down on eating out. Oh, that’s one.
  • Stock up on Food– One cost inflater on vacations is food. You might be out somewhere in a tourist area and just have a little rumbly in your tumbly, and a quick stop into a local eatery later, you’ve spent $70 for the four or five of you. Keep energy bars, cereal bars, dried fruits, apples, nuts or trail mix, bottled water, and other portable, not-entirely-perishable items in your backpack for when you need just a little something between meals. This also helps with your diet needs (as food in such areas is often high fat, high calorie) as well as your budget.
  • Plan Experiences not Activities– One thing that happens on vacations is we get a “collector’s mentality.” We decide to hit “all the” ______. In Orlando, Florida in the US, you hit all the Disney Parks, Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc. Why? Because you won’t be back for a while and you have to hit them all, right? Not really true. Really consider your needs and wants for a vacation, and plan experiences to match. Do you love rock climbing? Plan a day with some smaller challenges, and then a really landmark challenge on another day. Make some time for getting together with local climbers for a dinner. This kind of experience-based planning helps you save cash and time and instead focus on the quality of what you’re trying to accomplish with your vacation.

There are many parts of our life where we roll along without much questioning why, how, and what we’re doing, and vacations seems to be a perfect target. Often, we go on vacations because we have to, because we hear about a friend’s enjoyable time somewhere, or because we’re just beat and need the change of scenery. In all parts of life, staying mindful to the actual intent of what we’re doing makes a big difference in how we do it.

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What else? How can YOU add to these tips and hacks?

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–Chris Brogan hasn’t yet scheduled a vacation for the next several months. When he does, it will be spent creating content for GrasshopperFactory , as well as writing on [chrisbrogan.com] . Right now, he’s hard at work with Episode 2 of the Life Hack Podcast.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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