When you’re raising a family, every dollar counts. It’s important to be mindful of how you spend money on daily expenses, particularly when you want to save for big yearly expenditures like a family vacation. Here are some great ways you can tuck money away for a big trip so that when the time rolls around, you can have fun without stressing about breaking the bank.
1. Open a separate account for your savings
Each time you put money away for your vacation place it in your designated checking or savings account. You’ll easily be able to track how much you’ve saved and it will excite and motivate you as you plan for your trip. Some banks will even offer sign-up bonuses and extra customer perks, so shop around for a great deal.
2. Eat at home more often
Food costs are one of the largest expenses we have. Eating at home is an easy way to save money and be healthier (extra bonus)! Studies have shown that when you plan meals for the week or month, you can save big on your grocery bill and you are less likely to waste food. If preparing meals at home is not something you do regularly, try making a weekly meal plan. There are lots of free and inexpensive resources online to help you get started with a menu that will suit your family preferences.
3. Use coupons and promo codes
Nearly every monthly expense we have could be cut with a little research. There are discount codes online for all kinds of personal and home costs. If you know of an expense coming up, shop around. Compare prices online and find coupons or promo codes to save additional money. Ask your local grocery store if they accept competitor’s coupons and if they ever double or triple coupons. You might be surprised by how much savings are at your fingertips!
4. Cut out unnecessary subscriptions
Look at your monthly expenses and find areas where you aren’t utilizing your subscriptions and memberships to the fullest extent. Could you cut cable and replace it with Hulu or Netflix? How often are you actually going to the gym every month? Do you really read those magazines you still get in the mail? Reevaluating these expenses could give you some extra pocket change for your vacation fund.
5. Pick up a side job (or two)
If you have a special interest or skill, offer to do some side work for a reasonable price. Chances are, you’ll get referrals by word of mouth and have additional opportunities to earn extra money. Utilize the resources you already have to earn this additional income. If you have a car, for example, you can make some cash carpooling or driving for Uber or Lyft. If you are a writer or editor, pick up some freelance jobs online or look into becoming a virtual assistant. These kinds of side work require time, but have low costs upfront.
6. Sell your stuff
You likely have lots of things in your home you’re not using or don’t want. Saving for vacation is a great motivation to get rid of clutter in your home and make extra cash to put in your travel fund. Go through your items and designate a place in your home or garage for everything you intend to sell. Separate your items by how you’d like to sell them.
You can sell big ticket items online (Craigslist, eBay, Amazon or Gumtree). Take like-new kids’ clothing to a local consignment shop for some hassle-free cash. If you are up for it, have a garage sale for the rest of your items and then donate whatever you don’t sell. Track how much you make from your total sales and add it to your travel account.
7. Get rid of your landline or extra cell phones
Most people these days don’t even have landlines, but if you do, ditch it. If you have superfluous cell phones or devices those could go too. And while we’re on this touchy subject, you could even rethink the phone you’re currently using. We’re often attached to our smart phones, but getting a simpler phone or phone plan can give you huge savings over the course of the year.
8. Save on housing costs
Consider renting out a room in your home. Sometimes having a roommate isn’t a great option when you have a family, but check out other alternatives like AirBnb. You can rent out a room to guests or even your entire home when you’re headed out of town. This is an awesome opportunity to earn extra money on a resource you already have.
9. Buy secondhand
Never underestimate how much money you can save when you buy secondhand. Check out your local yard sales, thrift shops and consignment stores for household goods, furniture and other home purchases. You can find lots of items in excellent condition for a fraction of what you’d pay brand new. On that note, don’t forget that you can also save money by borrowing items from family and friends or making trades with other locals in your area.
10 Search for discounted trips
If you can vacation during the “off” season, do it! This is an instant guarantee you’ll save money, as destination cities anticipate a lull in tourist activity. If this isn’t a great option for your family schedule, search sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for deeply discounted rates on vacations to save more money on a getaway for the family. Look into other travel credit cards and discount groups as well. There are options to save on airfare and accommodations that would be worth exploring.
Vacation is more enjoyable when you’re not stressing about the cost. Take the time to reevaluate your monthly expenses and find ways you can start saving now. It’ll take some extra effort and self discipline on your part, but when your trip rolls around, all that work will have paid off.