Post Title – kfaber@thepennyhoarder.com (Kari Faber)

Close your eyes for a few moments and think of the first place you’ll go post-pandemic.

Are you hiking to Machu Picchu? Dining on Kobe beef (in Kobe)? Sipping something strong and fruity on a white sandy beach? Perhaps you’re just crossing state lines to see family or friends?

Wherever your mind took you, didn’t you feel a little bit more relaxed in those few seconds?

No, this isn’t a lesson in meditation. It’s proof that planning a vacation — and the anticipation of experiencing it — can bring people just as much joy as being on the trip itself. A 2014 study from the University of Cornwall found that this delayed gratification was more pleasurable than the immediate kind you get when you order next-day Amazon delivery.

So, step away from your online cart and start planning your next vacation, however far out it may be. But make sure it’s attainable, otherwise you’ll be crushed when you realize you can’t afford it. That’s why we brought together these four ways to save up to $865 for a future getaway.

1. Start A Vacation-Only Savings Account

Setting money aside in a separate account can be a smart and safe way to protect your travel budget. You can’t accidentally buy a pair of shoes with your hotel money that way! You’ll be able to set a goal and watch the budget grow as you save more and more.

Here’s a budget hack: Get an account that gives you free money for signing up and a high interest rate to grow that money faster. We found a company that will give you $100 just for opening a new debit card. It’s called Aspiration.

Sure, a lot of debit cards offer sign-up bonuses throughout the year, but they often require you to jump through hoops with minimum requirements that feel impossible to hit.

But Aspiration makes it simple. To earn your $100, here’s all you need to do: Open your Aspiration account and deposit at least $10. Then set up and receive three direct deposits of at least $500 each from your paycheck or government benefits. That’s it! Then just wait for your check.

Even better? Your debit card gets you up to 10% cash back on your purchases and 16 times the national average of interest on your savings.

Enter your email address here, and link your bank account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

2. Cut Your Expenses and Save The Excess

If you’re overspending every month, it’ll be difficult to find the cash for your next vacation — because you still need to be adding to your emergency fund and retirement fund, too.

Here’s a quick fix: cut your car insurance rate. When’s the last time you even checked car insurance prices?

You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money.

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.

Yup. That could be $500 toward your trip just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

3. Get Paid Every Time You Go Shopping

Your trip is likely several months away (or more), which means you still need to shop for your everyday essentials. You might as well make money for them — and earn gift cards to use for your travel needs. You’re going to want a good neck pillow for that 8 hour plane ride, trust us.

A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.

Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.

You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards. Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something…

4. Earn $225 Killing Time Before Your Trip

If we told you you could get free money just for watching videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.It’s too good to be true, right? But we’re serious.

A website called InboxDollars will pay you to watch short video clips online. One minute you might watch someone bake brownies and the next you might get the latest updates on Kardashian drama.

All you have to do is choose which videos you want to watch and answer a few quick questions about them afterward. Brands pay InboxDollars to get these videos in front of viewers, and it passes a cut onto you.

InboxDollars won’t make you rich, but it’s possible to get up to $225 per month watching these videos. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately earn a $5 bonus to get you started.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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