Getting through the semester is a lot easier when you have something to look forward to. Taking a vacation over the summer break is a fantastic way to reward yourself and celebrate completing another year of university. But whether you’re travelling to Bendigo or Brisbane, you’ll probably need to put aside some cash. Here are a few ways to save up for your end-of-year vacation.

Make a budget

The first step is to make a budget. Create a spreadsheet listing all your expenses (rent, entertainment, food and so on) and plug in how much you spend on each one every week. Then, take a look at what you can cut down on to save some money. Perhaps you’re spending a lot on clothing each week, or maybe you could take a break on going to the movies for a while. Make sure to come up with a savings goal; this way, you’ll know how much you need to save each week and how much you’ll be able to spend once summer rolls around.

Open up a holiday bank account

Creating a separate bank account for your holiday is a great way to keep an eye on your vacation savings. Plus, it’ll likely stop you from spending that money, as you’ll be more accountable for regularly putting money in your travel fund. Even if it’s a little amount every week, over time you’ll have a nice amount to go towards your holiday.

Shop wisely

Shopping can take up a lot of your budget. Leading up to your vacation, prioritise your savings and make sure you don’t go over budget when you’re buying groceries or other items. When shopping, look for special deals on any holiday gear you might need, such as skis (if you’re travelling to the Northern Hemisphere), swimming costumes or luggage. You can also build up loyalty points from stores that you shop at often, which you can put towards discounts on future shopping trips. Services like UNiDAYS offer discounts to students on a wide range of stores and brands.

Do your research

There are plenty of ways to save money on your actual travel expenses. Watch out for cheap flights or sales, hotel discounts, and travel deals for students. Discount websites like Groupon often have affordable travel packages on offer. If you’re going overseas, keep an eye on exchange rates. You’ll get a better deal on foreign currency when the Australian dollar is at its strongest.

Cut back on takeaway coffee

Saving for your vacation may mean cutting down on the things you love – like your morning coffee. Most Australian cafes charge around $4 a cup, mean if you get takeaway coffee five days a week during the semester, you’ll spend around $240! To save money, try brewing your own coffee at home using a plunger. You can buy ground coffee from any supermarket, which can make up to 20 cups for only $10. At 50 cents per cup, you’ll save $210. If you buy instant coffee, you can save even more.

Thin out your closet

If you haven’t looked at most of your clothes recently, it may be time to reevaluate your wardrobe and to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a while. Selling clothes on eBay is great if you want the ease of selling online. You could also try setting up a stall at a local market, where you can display your clothes for sale. Most markets require a fee for setting up a stall, but if you do it with a friend or two, you can save money on setup costs.

Buy food at certain times

If you’re looking for good deals on food, wait until the evening to go shopping. Some grocery stores add discounts on leftover food at the end of the day in an effort to minimise waste, making it the perfect time to swoop in and save some cash. If you want to keep on top of the latest deals, try the YWaste app, which notifies you when and where you can find end-of-day discounts, so you can hurry to your nearest store.