1. How To Begin
Starting to create a cruise budget may be the hardest part for many cruisers. I have a free printable budget template you may use (click here for it) if you would like. If you are freely creating your own budget worksheet make sure you have categories that reflect required spending (such as your stateroom, taxes, pre/post cruise transportation, and others things that you know you will be forced to pay in order to go on vacation). However, you will also want to have categories that reflect spending that is at your discretion. This could include things such as gambling, bars, specialty dining, and specialty entertainment. These categories are not things the cruise line requires you pay for, but if you want to budget money on these items make sure you create a category for them in your budget. Next, for each category you created, allocate the maximum amount of money you would be willing to spend on things related to that category. Once you have done this, add up the amounts you set to get a total.
2. Be Reasonable and Realistic
Since you are planning how to you want to allocate the money you will be spending for vacation, it is important to be realistic when setting amounts. For example, don't allocate $50.00 to shore excursions when you know that the price of the excursion you want is more. The same logic can apply to other categories of your budget too.
3. Just Because You Budget An Amount Doesn't Mean You Have To Reach The Limit You Set For Yourself
Let's say you put in your budget you would spend $200.00 on gambling. However, this does not mean you have to spend all of that $200.00 on gambling. You could decide to gamble only $100.00 during the cruise and then save the other $100.00. After all, there will be a post-cruise bill and having a total owed that is less than you expected can be a great thing. You could always put the amount you saved towards another cruise!
4. Compare Your Budget With What You Actually Spent After The Cruise
Following your cruise, take a look at your budget and see if you spent more than you planned or spent less. You will also learn for next time how to create a budget that better fits your spending habits.