How to save money for a vacation!
First make sure you planned your budget. Once you know the total of money your going to need, then you will know how much you need to save. Give yourself plenty of time to save. I like to plan my vacations a year in advance. That way I have plenty of time to save money. Another thing I like to do is overestimate my budget. For example: I usually spend around $100 dollars a week on groceries at home. We are planning on renting a beach house for one week, that has it's own kitchen. I plan to cook most of my meals in that kitchen. And even though I know my family can eat on $100 a week on groceries. I am going to budget way more than that. I will plan to save $300 dollars a week for groceries, and maybe $200 dollars a week for eating out. Do I think I am going to spend that much. No, I hope not. But, it's better to have more money. Than not enough money. And what ever money I have left over from the week, I can bring home. Or spend on something else on my vacation. Or better yet put it into my vacation fund for next year. Another example of over saving is if I plan on going to 3 attractions while I am there. Each attraction cost $100 dollars for my family of 4. I will plan $500 dollars for the 3 attractions. We might have to buy food while we are there. Or something extra at the attraction might cost more money. It might cost more in person than it says on the internet. Or if we find another attraction while we are there, we will have that extra $200 to go to it. It's better to have to much money than not enough. I also like to plan in an emergency fund. For the just incase circumstance. What if your driving across country and your tire goes flat. Or you some how run out of grocery money.
So now you planned your budget. You know how much money you need. How do you start saving enough money?
1. Start a change jar. If your a regular cash user you will not believe how much money you can save, just by putting all your change into a jar.
2. I try to budget my groceries even more. (if possible) I usually try to budget around, $100 dollars a week. But my real goal is $80. If I can only spend $80 by buying sale items and using coupons, I put the other $20 in our vacation fund. If I saved for a year, that would be $1,040 to put in my vacation fund.
3. We used to go out to eat about twice a week. I limited that to twice a month, and save the rest. If it cost $30-$40 dollars each time I eat out, I was spending about $280 on eating out. Now I only spend about $70 dollars a month and I am able to save around $210. In one year that savings would equal to $2,520 dollars.
4. Start a bank account, just for your vacations. So, your not tempted to spend that money put it in a saving account where it can build interest.
5. Sell some of your items, better yet have a thrift sale. If your like me, you have plenty of stuff you save but never use. I started putting these items on craigslist and ebay. And whatever I make I put into the Vacation fund.
6. Use some of your tax return. We usually try to add a good chunk of our tax return to our vacation fund.
7. Do more free fun activities. I try to take my kiddos out at least once a week to do something fun. Go to the movies, skating, bowling, etc... instead of spending money each week. I try to plan free activities. Getting movies from the library, staying home, making popcorn and having a movie day, instead of going to the movie. Going to the park or beach, Making ice cream sundaes, instead of going out for ice cream. What ever we don't spend, I save for our vacation. If I spent $20 dollars a week on activities (or lets be honest probably more). That would be around $80 dollars on activities each month. I lowered that to only $20 a month for activities. That $60 dollars a month savings, which totals $720 a year.
8. Get a small part time job. If you have time, you could get a flexible part time job. Like selling beauty supplies, mystery shopping, answering surveys, babysitting for friends etc.... a job that wont take a terrible amount of time, that is flexible, but will make you a few extra dollars here and there for your vacation fund.
9. I love coffee from coffee shops. I used to treat myself to a cup of coffee once a week. Instead I treat myself once a month, instead of spending $20.00 a month on coffee, I spend about $5 and I take the other $15 dollars a month and put it towards the vacation. Which saves me $180 a year.
10. Use the vacation as a Christmas present. Instead of going all out and buying a bunch of toys for your kids for Christmas. Buy them only a few things and a ticket to Paradise as their Christmas present. That way you can put some of your Christmas fund toward your vacation. I would much rather give my kids a vacation, a once in a lifetime experience to see the world, than a whole bunch of toys they will only play with for a short time. I buy the toys they really want for their birthdays. Same with my husband, we don't buy each other gifts for Christmas. The money I would spend on him, I put towards our vacation, and vice versa. I would rather be sitting at the beach enjoying paradise than a new pair of earrings.
11. If you can afford it put a certain amount of money in your vacation fund each payday. If you put $10 dollars in a week for a year that is $520 dollars at the end of the year.
12. The same thing I do with my groceries, I do with the rest of my bills. If I budget my electric to be $150, and the bill comes and it's only $125 this month. I take the extra $25 dollars and put it into the vacation fund.
13. When your shopping for items, think to yourself do I need it, or do I want it. Let say your looking at buying a really cute pair of running shoes. You have 2 pairs of running shoes in your closet that are in pretty good condition. But, these are so cute that you want them. Think to yourself, will these running shoes be more fun then a vacation? Probably not, take the $100 dollars you were going to spend on the shoes and put it towards your vacation. But, if you need the shoes, because your shoes are falling apart, buy the shoes. You can put this mind set to little things like also, like body wash. Do you need the $12 dollar body wash, or will the $4 body wash work just as well. Put the extra $8 dollar into the fund.
If you save a little at a time it adds up quickly. By changing a few things in your life and you can save a ton. And have more than enough money for any vacation. You may be sacrificing a few things you love. (like my weekly iced caramel macchiato) But when your sitting at the beach, relaxing, it will be totally worth it!