Meet the Winner of Our June 2016 Call to Action!

Meet the Winner of Our June 2016 Call to Action!

chaley_pic3Around this time of year is when the vacation fantasies really set in. Maybe you're behind your desk, but wishing you were on the beach in Bali. Or cooking in your kitchen, but craving fresh pasta in Tuscany. These daydreams can feel particularly vivid if you weren't able to afford a getaway this summer. Maybe next year, you think.

But with a little bit of advance planning, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to make your dream vacation a reality—which prompted the request to tell us ... what financial tradeoffs were you willing to make in order to save up for your dream vacation?

We received responses that ranged from delaying moving into a bigger apartment in order to save for a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, to forgoing a pricey gym membership so that the savings could fund a honeymoon in the Alps. Thanks to everyone who shared!

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And congratulations to our winner, who will receive $100 to help her reach her financial goals: Corrie Haley, a career and internship advisor at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island.

Here's her story.

"Between car payments, utilities, rent and paying down some credit card debt, there were times when I felt like going on a dream vacation would never be in my future. But with the few tradeoffs I've made, I'm going to Machu Picchu in two weeks!

Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for almost a decade and now it's finally within reach. I had set a goal to save $900 for the trip. So for the past two months, I've cut back on coffee and skipped the overpriced beer and wine while going out, and managed to save $440.

This past fall, I also became a certified yoga instructor and started teaching on the side in January. The extra income that comes from my side gig helps take some pressure off when it comes to paying my bills, but it also helps fund my vacation savings even further. I started squeezing in an extra class one morning a week before I head to my full-time job, which so far has added another $200 to my fund. By the time I leave for my trip, I expect to have about $1,000 saved up—exceeding my original goal. (Luckily, I've also accrued enough airline miles through my previous job to get a round-trip flight for $100!)

The hardest part for me about making these trade-offs was feeling like I had to 'give up' something. But then I realized I could make really small sacrifices now and achieve my dream vacation in a matter of months—much sooner than I would have expected. Now, I actually like the coffee I make at home and don't miss paying for overpriced drinks. Also, I only had to take on an extra hour of teaching yoga to help make the trip happen—which was easy to do because I love it.

My advice for all those who are having a hard time making trade-offs is to start small. You don't have to give up something big in order to go on your dream trip. It's those small costs that don't really add anything to your week that will help give you the biggest return over time."

Thanks for sharing, Corrie!

RELATED: 8 Money-Saving Summer Travel Secrets

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