How to travel if you're broke -- and the smartest way to pay off credit card debt

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It's hard to believe but Labor Day is just a few weeks away.

Instead of mourning your tan, why not book your next vacation now? CNNMoney has your guide to paying for a trip when you're broke, as well as new tips for saving and spending your money.

TIME TO RECHARGE

Vacations can seem like an impossible luxury if you're cash strapped. But with some planning and research, your next trip could be more affordable than you think.

Before you start eyeing that plane ticket to Paris, create a travel budget. Figure out how much your trip will cost, factoring in everything from flights and hotels to meals and souvenirs. Once you have an estimate, put aside some money from each paycheck until you reach your goal.

Another way to trim the bill: Be flexible on your travel dates. Consider traveling during the off season and on weekdays, when flights and hotels are often cheaper.

THAT BANANA IS HOW MUCH?

OK, so now you're saving for your next vacation. One place to start cutting costs: groceries.

To trim your bill as much as possible, consider using a rebate app to make sure you don't miss out on deals. You can also keep costs down by comparison shopping -- checking different stores for the best price for each item on your list.

SMART WAYS TO PAY OFF DEBT

Hopefully your trip hasn't led to credit card debt. But if it has, here are some must-do's if you want to have a healthy credit score again.

First of all, always pay your minimums. If you don't pay your minimum, you'll start getting hit with late fees. And if you fall far enough behind, your credit will suffer, too.

Also, don't forget to keep your balance below 30% of your total credit line. If it crosses that threshold, you might start to see your credit score drop.

IF YOU'RE HOUSE HUNTING...

Saving up for a vacation is one thing. But getting a down payment together to buy your first house can seem pretty daunting. But it's not as difficult as you think -- if you go about it the right way.

Start by pinning down the amount you can responsibly spend on a house. Once you know how much you need to save, the next step is to figure out how much you can set aside each month. Even small amounts will bring you one step closer to being a homeowner.

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