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Spring Break!

By Will from Holland

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It's that time of the year again... Spring break, baby!

How about Florida this year? Or Mexico?

Great stuff! But how are you going to pay for all this?

Maybe you've got the airfare. But what about a place to sleep? What about breakfast, lunch and dinner? Wait, skip the breakfast part, you'll probably sleep right through that!

Here's a reality. Wherever you're heading, it's probably going to cost you more than you think, and more than you have. That's why credit card companies are yelling at college-age people right now about using their credit cards—or getting a new "free" credit card.

Don't fall for their spiel. It would be so easy to sign up for a "free" credit card and pay for the whole trip. But with that "free" card, you could be cruising for a credit card crash!

Financing virtually anything on a credit card doesn't make sense, unless it's an emergency. But using plastic to finance spring break is terminally stupid.

So how do you pay for spring break this year?

  • First, know your total budget. Let the budget determine where you go. You're thinking Baja. Maybe a local park is more realistic.
  • Next, only use your credit card to reserve rooms, then pay cash when you check in. Same thing goes for cars, if you're renting one.
  • If you're flying, charge your plane ticket to your card, but pay that charge off entirely when the bill comes.

Also smart: before "breaking" this year, work through "Sucker Punch," on FoolProof Solo. This program tells you all about the hits you're about to take when it comes to credit cards.

Making next year's break better: hey, you can spend more next year, if you start planning right now!

  • Pay yourself first! Whenever you get your pay or allowance, be sure to set a good chunk aside for next year's trip.
  • Spend less! Don't buy all those clothes, all that candy and all those songs on iTunes for a change. Put the money in your travel budget.
  • Expand your earning potential! If you currently live on an allowance only, get a job. If you have a job already, get an extra job, or a job that pays more. Creativity is key.

Doesn't this make sense? You'll be on your way to spring breaks that don't break the bank!

Check out more articles on saving money, or articles on credit cards on this website.

Cheers, Will