I've noticed that quite a few people go on several cruises a year. Granted I'm still a working class stiff who has to budget and stick to allowed vacation time, but I was wondering what the secret was to being able to afford multiple cruises each year. I live in Oregon so would have to fly to most ports so taking a last minute cruise at a discounted rate isn't an option. I don't think I can do much about it now but would like to start planning for the future as I would love to do lots of traveling, cheaply.....any secrets?
There's a couple of things which I think are key..
Priorities... and good fortune!
I didn't take my first cruise until 1994. I was 44 years old. Not to say that I hadn't vacationed until that time, but as many, when I was younger I had 2 or 3 weeks vacation per year, and that was it.
By 1994 I was fairly established in my business, so had more time available, and looked for new ways to travel. In 1996 I took back to back cruises... then in 1997 I went NUTS ..
I have a business partner who takes equal vacation time, so is delighted when I go cruising.
And my good fortune, becoming a writer for CruiseMates didn't hurt either!! <G>
I'll bet you'll find that most people who go on multiple cruises in a year scrimp and save in other areas of their day to day lives, and aren't simply wealthy enough to cruise when they please. And those who are... got that way by working hard over a long period of time, giving up many other things along the way!
Put small amounts of money aside each week that is allocated for cruises. This may mean that you don't go out to lunch and brown bag it. You drink regular coffee and not lattes and save the difference. Take the "little car" to work, if you have that option. Put your pocket change in a jar and cash it in when it's full. Have an amount automatically deducted from your paycheck and have it direct deposited into a cruise savings account. Don't mortgage your future to do this. 401K and other retirement plans or other investments still come first.
I didn't start cruising until my kids were done with college and I actually had some extra money to spend. :-)
It really isn't the quantity that is important. It isn't a contest. Do it for you. If you do one cruise every three years or three in one year it makes no difference. Cruising is for your enjoyment and not to see who's done the most. Cruising is addicting and just about all of the people on these boards would love to do more cruises but there is a limit.
I have had to actually cut back on the number of cruises I am taking because of the realities of home improvements that have been done, payments to Uncle Sam, health issues and some other unforeseen expenses. For me the money for cruising comes from liquid savings and not investments or long term funds.
One other thing I would advise: Don't go into any sort of long term debt to cruise. Putting it on a credit card and paying it off at the end of the month is not long term debt.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Mike M pretty well nailed it.
For my wife and I we try to cruise two times a year. What I do is keep a financial program (record) on the computer and constantly add to our cruise fund by swithching $$ to where it is needed. Takes time but is well worth the planning.
Then of course there are always those nasty items that get in the way of cruising as property taxes and all the insurance we have to pay. As Mike said, home improvements and unexpected expenditures.
We recently canceled a cruise from Europe to the USA as it was becoming way over our cruise budget.
Our 1st cruise was back in 1978 and got hooked, then along came child and our cruise days were over until 1986, then another long period to 1999 then we were off and running on cruises, 20 under our belt now with 3 more planned in the next year an a half.
Budget and our financial program and planning have been the key. It is never to late to think towards the future for cruising and retirement.
We never touch our investments in our financial portfolio or 401k's. That is ear marked for bliss and retirement. Never finance a cruise or vacation, you will never get out from under the debt. That is a habit a lot of people get into and realize way to late that was not a smart move.
Live within your budget, even it means a vacation/ cruise every other year or longer.
My wife always tells me I'm cheap, until I tell her we got a cruise booked and yes it is affordable.
And yes, I'm still a working class stiff myself and the wife retired several years ago. But planning once again is the key.
Round trip San Francisco Mex Riv, Mercury May 4, 2005
Sea of Cortez on Ryndam 9-28-2005
Round trip Los Angeles to Hawaii, Summit March 26, 2006
Post Edited (12-15-04 02:28)
__________________ Ready to Steer towards another cruise
We have the world’s largest piggy banks. In our gameroom we have a red white & blue slot machine directly from the Excalibur casino in Las Vegas. We do not open the bill collector till it is time to cruise. The last time we raided it, I collected over $1700 in paper money. This is only generated by DW and myself through the year. A couple bucks here, a $10 bill there. We once took all the money we made in a yard sale, and put into it. And Noooo we don’t make money from other people…I open it up and will scoop some quarters into the tray and welcome anyone to play. But any winnings, must stay in the tray as well. I also have a pinball machine in there that takes our quarters. I’ll also put that machine on freeplay when we have guests.
Out of site, out of mind, works for us. Now if I could install a credit card excepter on the machines, I'd make a fortune from DW.????
Jason If a grin is transmittable, and laughing is contagious, here’s hoping for an epidemic!
Thanks for all of the advice. I'm a fairly frugal person too with investments, college savings plans, 401k, stocks, etc. I do have auto deposit each week for payroll and some of it does go into a vacation fund. I do brown bag and don't do latte's, etc. Guess I'm on the right track and will just keep my weekly savings up for those future cruises. We're doing cruise #2 this next summer - first was to Western Caribean and this second is to Alaska. I think my next big one will be a European extended cruise - but may take a couple of years to save for that one.....