7 Great Ideas to Budget for Your Family Vacation
Roller coasters and costumed characters? Monuments and historical tours? Lazy rivers and frozen concoctions?
Everybody has their idea of the ultimate getaway, but all family vacations have one thing in common: they sure ain’t cheap!
Maybe you had an amazing destination in mind, but took one look at your bank account and waved the white flag. But don’t
necessarily give up so quickly.
The good news is that there are many ways to save up. If you’re able to embrace a bit of financial discipline and delayed gratification, you may already be on your way to that dream vacation.
Create a Spending Plan
Figure out upfront how much you’ll spend on vacation. The more specific, the better.
Don’t just look at plane tickets and hotel prices. Also, consider meals, souvenirs, and attractions. If the numbers shock you, at least it’s better to know from the start. Then you can have a better understanding if your goal is attainable.
If you have difficulty keeping track of your daily expenses, consider any number of mobile apps to manage your budget and cash flow more easily. By entering your expenditures and contributions in real time, you’ll be more aware of your spending habits, making it easier to reach your goal.
Open a Savings Account
Set up a separate savings account under your regular account so you can more easily organize your funds. This will make it much easier to track your progress. By reviewing the account regularly, you’ll stay motivated and on track with your savings plan.
Also, consider making weekly, not monthly, contributions. Set up an electronic funds transfer to move the money automatically from your checking to savings. Psychologically, this makes saving for your goal much easier.
Consider your local community bank to open an account. Institutions like the Bank of Southside Virginia tend to provide a higher level of service than most large corporate banks.
Be Savvy to Find Trip Savings
You never know when a great deal will come along. Sign up for airfare deal alerts on sites such as AirfareWatchdog.com. For hotel deals, try sites such as Groupon Getaways, Travelzoo, and Living Social Escapes.
Worried these deals will get lost in your constant avalanche of emails? Try setting up a free separate email account just for trip deals. That way, you or your spouse could peruse these deals at any time in one convenient place.
Cut Back on Food Costs
Dining out often can put a serious dent in your budget. By eating most of your meals at home, you can significantly cut down your costs.
Another great idea is ‘Pantry Week’. According to Bankrate.com: “For one week each month, from now until your trip, stay out of the grocery store and eat only what you have in your house. Most families have more staples in their cupboards than they realize. And guess what? It’s actually OK to eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner one night.”
Cut Back on Other Costs
Your mantra: Sacrifice now for fun later. Only watch a few of the hundreds of cable channels you get? Scale back your plan.
Take a look at your mobile bill. If you’re using noticeably less data than anticipated, then cut back and reap the savings.
If you’ve got a gym membership, don’t give up on keeping yourself in shape. But could use workout videos on YouTube, allowing you to stay healthy while saving on membership fees.
Got something that’s not worth much to you, but might be for someone else? Consider selling items on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. You may be able to turn your trash into a bit of vacation treasure.
Get the Whole Family in the Right Mindset
If your kids get allowances, they could help save for the trip as well. Explain that vacations cost extra, and that while you will cover many of the travel expenses, they will need to save up for any little extra stuff they want to buy.
Also consider tracking progress on a large poster board with colorful markers and stickers. Kids are more likely to get excited, if you make your savings goal visual.
Planning and financial discipline are not easy. But in saving up for the trip, you’ll demonstrate to the entire family the rewards of hard work. While on your dream vacation, your family will value the experiences and memories even more.