In this economy, traveling may seem like more of an out-of-reach luxury than a viable option for many people. Now more than ever, we’re pinching pennies and focusing on covering essentials like mortgages, food, vehicle expenses and education.
Don’t let these day-to-day financial responsibilities take away the possibility of adventure and relaxation with your family. Start using these tips to save for next year’s vacation. You’ll be shocked by the money you’re going to accrue.
- Open a “vacation” account at your local bank. Each week, add $10 or $20, whatever you can afford, to the fund. Every little bit will count by the time you’re ready to hit the road.
And don’t forget to sign up for your vacation-specific plastic. Many banks will provide a dedicated debit card for your checking account, which you can use exclusively while on the road.
This assures the money is coming straight from your vacation savings and not from your personal funds. This is hugely important in terms of your overall financial picture and costs you nothing.
- Set up an auto-transfer with the new bank account. This is an easy way to make sure you’ve got a little something flowing into that vacation fund, yet won’t break your bank.
Even as little as $14/week ($2/day) will add up to just over $700 in a year’s time. This could represent a major portion of your vacation and can be used for gas, food, or even plane tickets.
- Use the old-fashioned change jug. Keep a five-gallon jug next to the front door. Any time you come home with change in your pocket or purse, drop it in the jug.
From our experience, it’s feasible to collect upwards of $400 in a year’s time just from dropping spare change. Plus, it’s fun to watch it “grow” throughout the year. Have the kids manage their own change jars for travel souvenirs.
- Be smart when cashing out. Save up to 10 percent by taking your change collection to a local bank rather than a grocery store where they typically charge you to cash out. Banks such as KNBT offer change machines that charge no fees to account holders.
- Sell your stuff. Every year, we hold an annual “Vacation Fund Garage Sale” a month before we hit the road. We dig through the closets, basement, and attic, selling our things for just a dollar or two and end up with several hundred dollars – all of which is deposited directly into our vacation fund. This year, we made enough to cover our airfare to Las Vegas and back!
There are lots of ways to save, but if you are serious about a family adventure, it’s wise to get started now.
You only live once – don’t let the economy hold you back from making special vacation (and savings!) memories with your loved ones.