How to save money for a family vacation

You love your life, but after a while, it can turn into a grind. With everything on your family’s plate each week, there’s simply not enough room to make the time to relax, unwind and enjoy each other’s company. That’s what makes the family vacation so important. You and your husband get a chance to reconnect, while the kids add an unforgettable life experience to their list of favorite memories. It’s a great way to bring everyone closer, just so long as affording the trip doesn’t become another point of stress. But with the economy in trouble and paychecks not keeping pace with cost of living expenses, it sure seems harder than ever to pay for that all-important family vacation. Yet there are some things you can do with a little effort and dedication that will insure you can take the trip of your dreams. Here’s a look at some quick tips for saving up money to afford your family vacation.

Start with a plan. The first step is also the most important. Take the time to plan the vacation you and you family want, coming up with a budget that gives you a specific savings goal. Try to do this well in advance of your trip, so you’ve got a solid amount of time with which to save. Be reasonable with your expectations, but until you have this number in mind, you’ll never be able to envision how it would be possible. Once you’ve got your savings figure well in hand, divide it into the various categories you and your husband have decided to tackle, and that will give you your plan going forward.

Cut down on your food expenses. Chances are with your busy schedule you don’t cook family meals as much as you could. Well, if you’re looking for ways to save for vacation, this is a great place to start. If you eat out several times a week, that could end up literally doubling your monthly food bill. Take a look at your bank and credit card statements and figure out how much you spend eating out at restaurants or ordering delivery each month. If all of those meals you cooked at home, you could probably put 50% of what you’d been spending directly into a vacation savings account. The foodie in you may miss those meals in the short term, but being able to get your family away from the daily grind for awhile will more than make up for cutting these meals out in the short term.

Pillage your storage spaces. Do you have a basement, attic, garage or storage space filled with stuff? If you haven’t used something in the last six months, you probably don’t need it. So take a weekend and clear out these money pits. If you can empty a storage space, you can put the money you were spending on renting it right into your vacation. But more importantly, everything you find can be sold to help pay for your trip. Plan a garage sale, or several. Get on eBay or open up another sort of online store. These dust-collecting piles could end up bankrolling your family’s week in paradise, so roll up your sleeves and jump in!

Look for ways to cut down on your bills. There’s tons of ways to save, if you’re paying attention. Become a stickler for turning off and unplugging devices when they’re not in use. Trim your heat and air conditioning usage by a couple degrees. And don’t leave things charging when they don’t need it. Carpool when you can and cut your gas costs. Consider trimming your cable package or cell phone plan. Settle for¬† cheap personal checks¬†instead of the designer brand next time you need a refill. The bottom line is you don’t have to go without anything. But going with a little less across the board could make the difference.

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