Bake Up a Vacation Plan! (Budget Recipe + Giveaway)

pocketsmith snapshot
Guest post by Jason of PocketSmith

Nothing ruins a vacation more than running out of money mid-way through. If you think your credit card will help you get through the overspend, remember that paying it off afterward will only mean that your next vacation will be even further away!

Decide on a budget for your vacation and stick to it by cooking up a plan in PocketSmith! Trust us, you’ll have fun thinking about your days away as you put them into the calendar. In this recipe, we’ll show you how to create a calendar for a two-week vacation, and how PocketSmith becomes an invaluable travel companion that looks out for you as you enjoy yourself.

Cook Time: 15 minutes or more (take as long as you need!)
Level: Medium
Yield: A vacation free of money worries!
– 1 Premium PocketSmith Account
– An amount that you’ve set aside for your vacation (e.g. $2500)
– A basket of things you’ll be spending on during your trip: e.g. flights, accommodation, attractions, shopping, food, rentals, and a daily budget

The Budget Recipe

  1. Create a new calendar called ‘Vacation Plan’. This is where all events related to your Vacation will go.
  2. Start off the calendar with the amount you’ve set aside to spend – let’s assume that this amount is $2500. You could do this one of two ways:
    1. As a transfer from your primary calendar – This shows that you’re taking your travel money out of your day-to-day budget.Simply create an expense event from one of your calendars called Vacation Transfer to the value of $2500, and under ‘Transfer Options’, select ‘Vacation Plan’.This will subtract $2500 from one of your calendars and put it into your ‘Vacation plan’ calendar.
    2. As a new starting balance for the Vacation plan – If your ‘Vacation Plan’ is financially unrelated to the other calendars, you can simply create a new starting balance for the calendar, with a $2500 amount.

pocketsmith calendar example
The goal is to stick to the $2500 budget by planning in your daily spending, especially for larger-ticket itemslikehotel stays and attractions.

  1. Make sure that only the ‘Vacation Plan’ calendar is selected, so you can only see the events and running balance belonging to it.
  2. Start populating your Vacation Plan with events! Do this in a way that best suits your style: you could have a daily spending budget, e.g. $80/day to account for meals and souvenirs.Make sure to set the repeat option for this event to end on the last day of your Vacation.
  3. If you’re on a driving Vacation, you may estimate how much you’ll be spending on fuel by gauging the driving distances. Schedule the fuel stops into your plan as well.
  4. Set aside an emergency buffer, e.g. $500, to account for unexpected things. You could do this by allocating it to an event called ‘Emergency’, which you could delete after your Vacation.

Keep checking in during your vacation to ensure that you’re on-track. Don’t forget that you can use iCal or WebCal exports to access your events on your smartphone or other device while you’re on the move.This helps you ensure that you’re aware of your daily allocations and running balance, so that you don’t overspend.

If the vacation is done and there’s money left over, this is a good thing! You can then initiate a transfer for the leftover sum back into your primary calendar. Later on, it’s possible for the vacation calendar to be deleted without affecting your primary calendar.

*The Giveaway*

Does this budget platform look good to you? Do you want a FREE 12-month Premium Account worth $60 to try out? Then drop a comment with how you’re budgeting *now*, and you’ll be entered to win! We’ve got THREE copies to give away courtesy of our boys over at PocketSmith.

Good luck everyone! We’ll use to pick the winners in a week (next Monday, July 12th), so make sure you’re entered by Sunday at Midnight.

Jason works with PocketSmith – a personal finance and budgeting web application that utilizes a calendar to  forecast your future cash positions.
*GIVEAWAY OVER* The 2 lucky winners who will now be able to budget as sexy as they look!!!! :) Winner #1: Pauline, Winner #2:  Meggie Congrats!!

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  1. Autumn July 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    I budget with an iPhone App called mybudget!!

  2. Danielle July 5, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    I want one! Please. I am using Quicken and I don’t like it.

  3. Meggie July 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    I am using pencil and paper and am finding it really difficult to stick to it. Maybe a good, innovative website like this might help.

  4. Amy July 5, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Pick me! I’m going to go to New York this fall and I have a savings account set up but no way to budget other than just keeping receipts and seeing how I did after the fact…

  5. Kimber July 5, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Oh this looks lovely! I love trying new ways to budget! We currently use a boring (but super effective) excel spreadsheet. Would love to try something new to play with!

  6. Yvonne McLaren July 5, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    How I am budgeting *now* is to look after the basics, keep track of household expenses, especially grocery shopping, working with a fixed amount, taking a set list of items shopping, cooking our meals from healthy recipies not buying preprepared food products. shopping seasonally and growing herbs and vegetables even though we live in the city. Using the bus not the car all the time and walking back from the city when the weather is fine, all add up. keeps more for the fun stuff. Also friends love coming round for coffee and some home baking more than going out to cafe’s and paying a premium. The little things can go a long way.

  7. ccw July 5, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    cool idea. great for sharing a goal with the missus!

  8. Marybeth July 5, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I use a combination of, my iCal, and a legal yellow pad. I love Mint, but calendar-based budgeting would be really awesome for me!

  9. TerraD July 5, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Like a few others I’m using a notebook and pen. I’m currently doing the 50-30-20, working to pay off credit card debt in 6 months or less! I can do it, but I’m sure it would be much easier if I didn’t have to scribble on notepads everyday!

  10. Pauline July 5, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    Feels like i’ve tried it all, am currently using the iPhone app homebudget… no forecasting :(
    Still looking for that perfect solution!

  11. Jason Leong July 5, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    Hey guys, thanks for all your responses – it’s been interesting reading about the tools you all use! Please do try the application, there’s a free version of it too which may already suit your needs :-) Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions, at .

  12. J. Money July 6, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    Yeah, I actually think it’s awesome some of you are still doing it old-school w/ the pen and paper :) While it’s def. annoying and/or hard to maintain sometimes, there’s still something about it that really gets in your brain. At least when I was doing it. Being able to see it there on paper in physical form tends to let the numbers sink in more. That all being said though, there are plenty of other ways to get the job done too :) Gotta keep trying things out till one sticks!

  13. Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog July 6, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Right now, I budget using a combination of mint & pocket smith. I’ve had a free pocket smith account for a while now, but have currently run out of “budget events” but the ones that I have set, I’ve exported to my google calendar so I wont forget any of them. It helps a lot, and I’ve been thinking of upgrading to a paid pocketsmith account. This would be even better, because it’d be free.

  14. Lisa July 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I use Thrive ( to help me with my budgeting. I have had some issues at times and have then looked to as a backup, but I do prefer Thrive.

  15. David July 6, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    I’m currently using a 2006 version of Quicken (and excel) to do all of my budgeting and account reconciliations. I’m having a major issue though bc I just spent a bunch of money on things for our upcoming wedding, but my computer’s video card just had 3 capacitors on it blow. I’m computerless and hence budgetless until I get a new video card.

  16. BRB July 7, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Well, up until a few hours ago I was using Wesabe. But I just read another blog about how that was shutting down, so I went over there and removed my account info. So now I need something new!

  17. Sara July 8, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    I budget in my head. Is that bad?

  18. J. Money July 10, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    Haha…not if you’re rockin’ out the savings!

  19. One Frugal Girl July 10, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    Seems interesting. Throw my name in the hat too!

  20. Jane July 11, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    I budget with for the most part…and my own brain… more tools would be lovely :)

  21. J. Money July 14, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    CRAP! I totally forgot to give these out Monday, sorry! Here are the 2 lucky winners who will now be able to budget as sexy as they look!!!! :)

    Winner #1: Pauline
    Winner #2: Meggie

    Congrats!! I will email you the info to grab your free 12 month subscriptions :) Stay tuned for the next giveaway… will have another next week.