Plan the Perfect Montauk Vacation on a Budget: Tips from Financial Influencer Mrs. Dow Jones

Mrs. Dow Jones, AKA Haley Sacks, gives us the inside scoop on how to enjoy vacation without breaking the bank.
Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Welcome to the Hamptons, the perfect sunny beachside towns for your relaxing vacation. However, planning a trip to Montauk quickly can become overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to stay within a budget. But worry not, as we’ve got you covered with some tips on how to plan the perfect Montauk vacation on a budget from none other than Mrs. Dow Jones herself, Haley Sacks.

Sacks is a New York-based financial influencer and entrepreneur who rose to fame on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. She shares her unique and humorous take on finance, economics, and business news. While her background in comedy explains her captivating online persona, her financial expertise was something she cultivated as a side hustle. As soon as she started creating finance content, she realized what a need there was for it, and it eventually led to the creation of her popular brand, Mrs. Dow Jones. In addition to her social media presence, Sacks also has launched a successful newsletter, a podcast and a clothing line.

“You know, it’s work that really can actually help people, because if you don’t have financial wellness, then you are really suffering,” says Sacks.

Sacks explained how to plan the perfect summer getaway to the Hamptons without breaking your bank account. Read on for her tips on how to plan for a responsible dreamy getaway.


Instead of planning the trip first and thinking about the budget later, Sacks recommends you create a budget for your trip to the Hamptons first. This will help you prioritize your activities, ensuring you do what you’re dying to do while realizing where you can try to save. Sacks stresses a great reminder, “that you can afford anything, but not everything.” Therefore, it’s important to cut the activities that are money sucks that you’re less enthusiastic about. To figure out how much things will cost in advance, simply Google them. You’ll be surprised by how much you can save by planning.

While Sacks can’t tell you exactly how much you should put in your budget, she advises you to think about a “50, 30, 20 budget.” Meaning “50% of your after-tax income goes to needs, 30% to wants and 20% to future you,” explains Sacks. So, vacation budgets would go in that “30% wants” bucket. Her amazing spreadsheet, The Money Book, is for sale on her website, and it provides templates to help you set your budgets, as well as set actionable money goals that you can stick to.


Secondly, put money aside for your trip by automating deposits monthly into a high-yield savings account. According to Sacks, “Automation is key when you have a savings goal!” This is an excellent way to save money toward your goal without having to think about it actively. Sacks reminds us that you also can find ways to earn more money, like selling some of your clothes or walking dogs.

If you’re someone who really enjoys treating yourself on vacations and traveling often, Sacks has simple advice: “You either have to make more money or you have to, spend less money, and [if you make more money] then the money that you make, you are gonna put toward your vacation.” But most importantly, knowing how much you can spend, and saving it ahead of time is key.

Come Prepared

Montauk can be incredibly expensive, or as Mrs. Dow Jones says, “stupidly expensive.” She explains that because it is such a popular destination, it is also extremely shared on Instagram, however Sacks stresses you not to get hung up on copying what you see on social media. “If you’ve never been before and you’re seeing the lobster Cobb at Duryea’s, or Surf Lodge on a Saturday, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I have to go to all those things.’ But, like, IRL what you’re actually gonna enjoy is probably really different than what you think looks good on social media. I think it would be way more fun to go to a free beach with a great picnic with my friends than it would be to be sweaty at Surf Lodge, trying to get a $31 vodka soda.”

Sacks continues to explain that if a visit to Surf Lodge is important to you, you should absolutely do it, but just be prepared to be thriftier elsewhere.

All that said, it’s best to pick up, at least some alcohol and groceries before you arrive. This way, you can avoid paying ridiculous prices, like $67 for a breakfast sandwich. “Not eating every meal out is a major key if you’re trying to save while you travel,” explains Sacks.

Find the Deals

“When you go to the Hamptons during the week—restaurants, hotels and events often have weekday rates and specials. Even the beaches are cheaper to visit on the weekdays—while many beaches require permits and have expensive parking on weekends, they’re usually not crowded and are less expensive on weekdays,” according to Sacks.

Sacks recommends looking to Trip Advisor’s ”Cheapest Places to Stay in the Hamptons” list, and continues, “If you have an idea for an activity, like wine tasting, don’t just go to Wolffer because you have seen it online. There are WAY less expensive places to do wine tastings, like Martha Clara, Palmer and Paumanok.”

For eating out, Sacks again recommends you don’t get blinded by big names such as Gurneys or Surf Lodge, but instead look to places “like La Parmigiana of Southampton that serves food between $8 and $21. Or Sip n Soda is in Southampton and has meals under $8. And don’t forget about all the relatively inexpensive delis, bagel shops and pizzerias all over the place!”

She emphasizes again, “Don’t get stuck only going to the places you see posted on Instagram.”

A final note on travel? “Don’t fall for the Jitney—the cheapest and fastest option to get to the Hamptons [from New York City] is the train.”

Dress the Part

Avoid the urge to shop just for one occasion. Many of us have been in the position where we’ve bought outfits for a specific event or vacation, never to wear them again. Sacks has a grounding reminder for you: “No matter where you go, there you are.” She continues, “This obsession with newness is really dangerous for people’s financial health.”

Instead, she recommends you look at your wardrobe holistically and invest in items you can wear year-round. Better yet, shop vintage when you can.

Maximize Your Rewards

Finally, maximize rewards. If you stay at a hotel that is connected to a points program, such as Hilton Honors, take advantage of it.

By following these tips, you can plan the perfect Montauk vacation on a budget without sacrificing any of the fun or relaxation.

Mara Milam


Mara Milam is the managing digital producer at SI Swimsuit. The California based video and digital content producer joined the “swim team” in March of 2020, just as the pandemic was settling in. Mara is a lover of all things travel and wellness and is passionate about elevating the voices and stories of people often not heard.