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Want to take awesome vacations but can’t afford it? Need simple ways to save money for trips that actually work? Well, look no further! I will show you how to save for vacation with 9 practical tips that can be used by any family on any budget. Now, just so we’re clear: this article does not talk about getting cheaper travel. Instead, it gives you advice on how to actually save enough money to pay for your trips, regardless of where you want to go. And in full disclosure, I’m not a financial guru. I’m just a regular mom who tries to save money wherever I can so my family can travel more often. These tips are easy to implement and can help you start saving today. Use a few of these tips in combination and you will have your next family vacation paid for before you know it!
Tip #1: Set Up a Vacation Fund
The first step in saving money for travel is to go to the bank and open a savings account specifically for your vacation funds. This will make it easier for you to keep this money dedicated to travel as opposed to using it for other things. By using an interest bearing savings account, you can make your money work for you by earning interest as it sits there. If you bank with Bank of America, sign up for their “Keep the Change” program where they will automatically round up your purchase amount and transfer the change into your savings account.
Tip #2: Make a Weekly Deposit
This tip may seem obvious, but it works! Give your vacation fund a weekly deposit. Figure out how much you can afford to set aside every week for your travel savings. Then, put that amount in your vacation fund each and every week. You will be amazed at how fast your money will add up.
Tip #3: Reassign Impulse Buys
Every time you are tempted to make an impulse purchase, stop. Ask yourself: Would I rather have this or go on vacation? If the answer is vacation, then put the money you would have spent on the purchase into your vacation fund. For instance, I recently considered buying a new planner. But, I realized that I wanted to travel more than I needed the planner, so I put the $40 that I would have spent on the planner into our vacation account. This will not only help you save for your trip, but it will also help you control your impulses! Win, win!
Tip #4: Cut Back on Luxuries
When you have a limited amount of money, you have to make choices on what to spend it on. Look at the “luxury items” you are spending money on and see where you can make cuts. The more you cut back on these luxury items, the more money you can save for traveling. Packing your lunch instead of eating out each day can save $50 or more a week. Instead of buying expensive coffee each morning, brew your own. A friend of mine realized that she liked traveling better than watching TV, so she canceled her cable. This saved her over $150 a month!
Tip #5: Empty Your Pockets
At the end of each day, empty the loose change out of your pockets and put it into a jar. You can also put any $1 and $5 bills you have in your wallet in the jar at the end of the week. Once a month, take this money and add it to your vacation fund. You won’t miss this small amount of money, but it can add up quickly and make a big impact on your available travel money.
Tip #6: Set a Floor and Save the Extra
Determine a minimum amount that you want to always have in your checking account. This should be an amount that you are comfortable living with on a day-to-day basis. Then, the day before payday, look at how much you have in your account. Take all or part of the amount which is over your floor and deposit it into your travel account.
Tip #7: Use Your Extra Check
If you get paid biweekly, two months out of the year you will receive three checks instead of two. In this case, plan your bills and expenses for two checks per month. Then, when you get these “extra checks,” you will be free to use most of this money for your vacation.
Tip #8: Finders Keepers
Anytime you find random money lying around, pick it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lost penny on the sidewalk, a couple coins in the cup holder of your car, or a $10 bill in the laundry. Put any money you find into your travel savings. This doesn’t sound like much, but every little bit helps.
Tip #9: Hidden Money
This is one of my favorite tips for saving money. Anytime you use your debit card or write a check, round up the amount when you write it down. For instance, if you spend $74.32 on groceries, write down that you spent $75. This will begin to create “hidden money” in your checking account. By rounding up the amount spent when keeping track of your account, you will see a balance lower than what it actually is. You won’t miss this small amount of change, but it will begin to add up quickly. Then, periodically figure the accurate balance and put the hidden money into your vacation fund.
Saving for vacations can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. The above tips are simple ways to incorporate a savings plan into your everyday life so you will have more money to pay for those family trips. By starting a vacation savings account, cutting back on luxuries, and putting any found money towards your travel budget, you will be having adventures before you know it. For some specific tips on saving money for Disney trips, read my tips for saving on food at Disney World. To help you plan trips with a smaller price tag, read my tips for saving money on hotels and tips for saving money on airfare. I hope these tips help you learn how to save for vacation. Happy travels!