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Onboard spending can get out of hand pretty quickly, what with not having to show a debit or credit card at all. Swiping your cruise card is so much fun…until you get the bill at the end of the trip. There are three key ways that I think will help anyone not only stay on top of their budget, but also keep track of where their money is going. Using these tips, I’m able to determine at any time during the cruise whether or not I need to scale back, or if I’m safe to hit the slot machines just one more time.
1. Check the monitor
Most cruise lines have some kind of TV/monitor/smartphone app that guests can use to access their onboard spending accounts. For me, this is the easiest way to make sure I’m not going overboard (no pun intended). Each cabin guest’s onboard account is usually updated daily and will show exactly what has been charged against your account, such as specialty dining and coffee, bar tabs, shopping, and more. It’s all listed out for you and is itemized. This is also where you’ll see any shore excursions that you’ve booked. For me, excursions are what add up the fastest. Everyone wants to have a good time onshore, am I right!?
2. Save your receipts
Each purchase will come with a receipt of some sort. All bar, specialty coffee, and store purchases will be signed for just like if you were on land. Even the excursions you book will come with a tear off ticket showing the purchase price. Beware of the casino, however. You will have to mentally keep track there as there are no receipts in a casino and $20 can disappear in no time flat!
3. Check your bank balances
This one might be the least effective depending on which bank you use, but mine will post the total onboard charges on a daily basis. This allows me to confirm that I’m being charged correctly as well, which I appreciate.
Tracking your spending while on vacation isn’t the most exciting thing to do, but when you’re not actually using your bank cards it can seem like you’ve got unlimited Monopoly money to play with, which leads to sticker shock come cruise’s end. I’m also a fan of staying as close to my budget as possible. So, these are just 3 ways that I’ve come up with that help me keep my spending in check. I hope you’ve found them helpful and happy cruising!