How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Affording Your Social Life Podcast Episodes

Spring Break!
Glasses

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Pete and Alex discuss the finances of spring break, Pete's trip to Gatlinburg, and Alex laughs at the idea of being told to "Bing" something.



Read the Show Notes

Spring Break probably couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s been too cold for way too long and classes are just dragging on and on and on. We here at MoneySmarts believe that you deserve a break and should have some fun and relaxation. However, we want you to do it as financially efficient as possible. So we’ve got some great money-saving tips that won’t ruin your fun…we promise.

Budget: As you will hear Pete say in the podcast, Spring Break is where Credit Cards are overused…and you’ll end up paying for the trip longer after you’ve taken it. Do yourself a favor and set a budget of what you’re willing to spend. There’s no reason to dig yourself into debt and have to pay your spring break off for years. Alex mentioned that his spring break budget is around $500 - $600, which we think is reasonable. Setting a realistic number and taking the necessary steps not to go over is vital in keeping yourself from going into debt over spring break.

Driving vs. Flying: If you’re going with a group of friends somewhere, it makes way too much financial sense to hop in a car and drive rather than fly. Even if you elect to rent a car, the cost of having multiple people in one car paying for gas and the rental car is significantly less than each of you paying for round-trip airfare. Let’s do some number crunching to show you the savings on a fictitious trip to Panama City Beach with friends:

# of People

Driving Cost/Person*

Flying Cost/person**

1

$603.26

$363.00

2

$301.63

$363.00

3

$201.09

$363.00

4

$150.82

$363.00

5

$120.65

$363.00

*334.34 SUV 7 day rental (per Hotwire) @ 20 mpg @ 1,494 miles, @ $3.60/gallon

**Does not include bag fees

As you can see, unless you’re going by yourself, driving is easily the cheapest mode of transportation, even if renting a car. If you’re just using the car of a friend, then the cost of even more inexpensive (just remember that if a friend volunteers their car, that friend shouldn’t pay for gas).

Hotels: With any trip, there’s always the desire to stay in the nicest place possible. But as a college student, you should be focused on getting the most bang for your buck. Travel sites like Hotwire and Priceline are ideal for college students looking for a hotel because you can get cheaper rooms and still might not have to sacrifice quality. Using Hotwire, the best deal we found in Panama City Beach was on a 3 ½ star hotel for 6 nights at $135/night (we did find cheaper places, but we thought we’d choose one that appeared more reputable). For those 6 nights, the total would come to $946.57 (includes taxes). Revisiting our chart, here’s the breakdown of the cost per person:

# of Friends

Hotel/person

1

$946.57

2

$473.29

3

$315.52

4

$236.64

5

$189.31

As you can see, it’s still pretty pricey, but not horrible considering that our situation is putting you in Panama City Beach for 6 nights.

Food: The last element of Spring Break that we’ll talk about to help you save money is food. This is the area that can really make or break your trip. If you fail to plan and decide to eat and drink out all the time, your spring break costs will skyrocket. The best plan for your trip is to hit up a grocery store as soon as you arrive at your destination and buy the food you’ll need for the week. Avoid not having food and having to rely on eating out all the time and you’ll cut your food spending at least in half. And, of course, schedule one or two “going out” meals with your friends to make it special, but if you utilize groceries for most of your 7-day trip you can expect to spend about $100 - $125.

Of course, if you need help assessing your financial situation before or after spring break, feel free to contact the MoneySmarts Team to get some help.

We hope you have a fantastic and money-savvy Spring Break!