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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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