Surviving Spring Break Financially

With most college student’s enjoying Spring Break in the next few weeks, I thought it would be a good time to offer some financial advice on the topic. I don’t plan on ruining your fun if you are headed somewhere warm for the week, but from my personal experience, Spring Break is a ton of fun. And with all of this excessive fun, many of us get caught up in the moment and don’t think about the consequences of our actions until it is too late. I am here to explain to you two consequences now, hoping you will think twice before going too far.

Spring Break

Spend Wisely

The big tickets items, airfare and hotel, are already booked. But the smaller expenses, food, drinks and entertainment, won’t be encountered until you are actually on Spring Break. While these expenses appear to be smaller than airfare or the hotel, these are the expenses that can add up quickly, so be cautious.

When it comes to food, if your hotel room has a kitchen, consider buying some groceries and making a couple of meals in your room. If you don’t have this option, look for low cost alternatives: find diners that offer a buffet for breakfast. Find restaurants that offer lunch specials.

If anything, at least find a grocery store and buy bottled water there. It is much less money to buy water this way as opposed to buying it for $3 per bottle on the beach.

The reason for suggesting finding low cost meals is simple: you don’t want to open up next month’s credit card bill to realize you just spent $1,000 on food and drinks while on Spring Break. Because you are in college, you most likely will have a hard time paying that debt off quickly, meaning you are going to have to carry a balance and pay interest. When you do get to pay it off, from earnings from your summer job, you are setting yourself back for next year because that is $1,000 you could have used to live on instead of paying back the credit card company. Do you best to keep to your budget while still maximizing your fun.

Look Out for Each Other

We all know what happens at Spring Break. The key is to have great memories to talk about with your friends for years to come. You don’t want to be reminded of Spring Break every time you apply for a job. What I am saying, to be blunt, is to stay on the right side of the law. You can easily have plenty of fun without taking a trip to police department. Be sure that you and your friends look out for one another. If one friend is not in condition to be going out or staying out any longer, take him or her back to the hotel room and stay there. Missing out on one night of fun is much better than running the risk of ruining your future.

Think about it this way: if you have a little too much fun and get arrested, that is going to show up when an employer does a background check on you. In many cases, you will have to disclose it on a job application as well. This means that you will also have to address it in the interview and hope that the company you are applying to will understand and hire in spite of your record.

While a small incident might not be enough to stop you from landing a job, do you really want to take the chance of losing out on your dream job because of one night of too much fun?

Final Thoughts

I am hoping I am not coming off as a “party-pooper”, trying to ruin all of your fun because that is not my intention. My intention is to help you have the most fun you can have without regretting it at some point down the road. I am speaking from experience. I ended up spending a little too much money one year. I basically worked the first half of the summer to pay off my credit card bill. I then saved the rest of my summer earnings so I could pay for books and other living expenses for my upcoming senior year. The problem was that the money I was able to save was only going to last me until mid-way through the year. My senior year was enjoyable, but not as much as it could have been if I hadn’t been stressed out about paying my living expenses.

Learning to have fun while also understanding the consequences of our actions is something we learn as we grow. Some of us learn it more quickly than others, sometimes because of an event that we regret. Do your best to think about the consequences of your actions so that you can avoid any regrettable mistakes.

6 Responses to Surviving Spring Break Financially

  1. Great points. I don’t think too many people actually consider these things when planning their spring break extravaganza. :)

  2. Christian L. says:

    When I was in college, I never took a spring break trip. Why? I couldn’t afford it and thought better of it then trying to live above my means.

    Now that I’m a young professional, I take trips but certainly not during or near spring break destinations.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  3. Great post, and timely! I am in grad school and about to hit up Japan. Thankfully our trip is partially sponsored (only in business school right?!?!) so most of my meals are included. But great reminder on those additional expenditures that creep up.

    Another thing to consider for those who haven’t yet booked their vacation, some of the all inclusive resorts are very reasonably priced, in good locations, and are great at keeping you in budget as long as you stay on the property.

  4. You’ve been a student too and you know how it is. Youth will spend as long as they have the money. And those who can’t afford it, like our good friend Christian L. here, skipped it altogether. Still, good tips. But there are other ways to enjoy spring break even if you don’t have the budget.

  5. We did spring break on the cheap my sophomore year, but renting a car and driving down to Myrtle beach. It was freezing cold, but we still had a good time and nobody got arrested. All and all the trip cost about $500 a piece (which I’m told is “super cheap” for a Spring Break trip).

  6. Martin says:

    Man, I haven’t missed spring break since 2006 lol! My best tip is to save slowly in advance. 20$/week. You have to earn your freedom and your fun. Cheers!

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