Some families defer annual vacations indefinitely for fear they won’t be able to afford it. But you can take a week or two off from the usual schedule to plan an exciting or relaxing getaway when you follow a few savings tips:
- Comb nooks and crannies for change. Check under sofa and armchair seats, clothing pockets, the bottom of your purse or a wallet insert, and furniture drawers. Designate a special jar or drawer as the vacation collection fund. Place all loose change in your special place and watch it grow over the next several months.
- Scoop all change from your billfold at the end of the day and add it to your collection. You’ll be surprised how fast those pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters increase as they gather in your savings container.
- Round up the amounts on your written checks in your check register to the next dollar and keep the change. For example, if getting your hair done by a stylist costs $12.50, write the check for $12.50, but in your register make the amount “$13.00.” At the end of the month check your register against the bank statement and make necessary adjustments. You should have several dollars left over to add to the vacation fund.
- Recycle clutter or reusable items. Aluminum cans, newspapers, and other discarded metals or products can be stacked, organized, and exchanged for cash a few times each year. Stockpile earnings for your family getaway.
- Have an annual garage sale. Not only will you get rid of unneeded items, but you will also bring in extra cash that will make a nice addition to your vacation savings. Don’t forget to deduct advertising costs in the newspaper or for signs.
- Deduct a bit from groceries and utilities. Let’s say you typically spend $400 for groceries each month and another $400 for utilities for a monthly total of $800. If you plan to be gone for two weeks in August, you can subtract about half of the August fees for these items since you won’t be at home to use them. This will add another $400 to your vacation savings plan.
- Reduce entertainment spending. If your family spends about $120 per month on entertainment, such as going to the movies or renting videos, going out to eat, or playing miniature golf, rework this amount to put aside $20 per month toward the summer trip. For example, rent more videos and go to the theatre less. Eat at fast food more often than fine dining restaurants.
- Set aside any additional income for the vacation. Investment bonuses, holiday or birthday gifts, and unexpected sales or profit can be channeled directly to the vacation savings plan.
There are plenty of ways to save money and cut costs when the payoff involves a fun family getaway. Make plans to start saving for that wonderful vacation this summer. Any reluctance to save now will be offset by the delightful family memories you will collect on vacation.