Vacations are supposed to be a time of relaxation and escape from stress, but getting there can a stressful event in itself. Saving money for a vacation is a challenge for most of us, but it doesn’t have to be a painful process. Here are some tips that will help you to save for that dream vacation faster than you thought possible.
1. Set Up a Separate Savings Account
If you’re saving for a specific purpose, such as a vacation, you need to know how much you have saved at any given point. By setting up a separate account specifically for the vacation fund you will always be able to easily see what you have put away so far. Plus, with the separate account you will reduce the risk of depleting those savings for other purposes, as it is clear what this money is being saved for.
When you have reached your goal and it comes time to pay for the vacation, a separate account can also help you to avoid a feeling of dread in taking so much money out of savings. If all of your savings is in one account it can be depressing to see that amount drastically reduced even if that was your plan all along. With a separate account your main savings won’t be touched.
2. Choose a Destination
Getting and staying motivated to save for a vacation can be a lot easier when you have a chosen destination in mind. Without knowing where you want to go it may be harder to visualize the reasons that you are making sacrifices in your regular spending habits. If you have a destination in mind you may find that it’s easier to stay motivated and to have something specific to look forward to. Of course, you can always change you mind on the destination later when it comes time to book the vacation, but for now it’s helpful to think of yourself and your family going somewhere specific.
3. Determine a Budget
In order to be sure that you’re saving enough for your dream vacation you will need to have a good idea of about how much money you will need. This sounds pretty obvious, but it’s easy to just start saving and to overlook this fact. When the time comes to start looking into your options you may realize that although you had saved consistently, you just didn’t save enough.
4. Calculate How Much You Need to Save Per Month
Once you know about how much your trip will cost, divide that by the number of months until your vacation so you know exactly what you need to be putting away each month. Having a large, overall goal is important, but it’s equally important to realize what you need to do on a monthly basis to get to that point. Time goes by quickly and without taking accountability for your savings each month you may find that your goal quickly becomes unreachable.
5. Save Extra Money That Comes Your Way
One of the best ways to quickly boost your savings is to put aside any extra or unexpected money that comes your way. This includes bonuses at work, money given as a gift, interest from other accounts, and tax returns. It’s likely that none of this money is necessary for your normal living habits, so instead of spending on something else, put it in your vacation savings. With this money you will likely see a significant increase in your savings without making much of an impact on your daily life.
6. Place Some Pictures in Your Work Area and Home
After you’ve chosen a destination for the vacation, take some time to find pictures in magazines, on websites, from post cards, or anything else that you can find. Choose pictures that motivate and interest you and place them in locations that you will see everyday at work or at home. This helps to visualize your dream vacation and can lead to more motivation for savings. When you see the pictures it will remind you of the need to save and maybe it will help you to avoid unnecessary expenses.
7. Find Small Daily Recurring Expenses to Eliminate
Another great way to make a big impact on your savings is to find recurring expenses that can be eliminated, or at least reduced. For example, spending $4 a day on coffee would add up to $120 a month that could be saved if you just made coffee at home. How about that gym membership that you haven’t used in a few months? That could be another potential savings of $30 – $50 per month. Can you sacrifice downgrading the cable or satelite TV plan for a year to save some extra money? Any type of recurring expense that can be reduced or eliminated will add up over time and make it more realistic to meet your savings goal.
8. Turn a Hobby Into a Part-Time Job
Many of us have hobbies that could potentially be turned into part-time jobs to make some extra money that could be put away for the vacation. If you enjoy writing, consider finding some freelance writing opportunities. Do you like working outside? How about finding some friends or neighbors that need some yard work or landscaping. If you enjoy sports you could earn some extra money by working as a referree in a local recreation league. Just about any hobby you have can be turn into some extra money if you’re creative.
9. Set a Date for the Vacation
An important factor in saving for a vacation is to have at least a rough idea of when you will be going. While it’s not necessary to know the exact days, choose a month or at least a season so that you can know exactly how much time you have to save. Without a deadline, a goal of saving $x,000 for vacation can easily drag on for a few years. However, with a date in mind you will be able to work towards a specific goal.
10. Get the Whole Family Involved
If the whole family is going on the vacation there is no reason that everyone can’t be involved in the savings. Getting everyone to pitch in, even if it’s small amounts, will help to reach the ultimate goal, and the trip will be more rewarding for everyone. For younger children that aren’t old enough to work, consider compensating them for certain chores by putting away a specific amount into the vacation savings fund. You can even keep track of their savings and use that money to do something that they specifically want to do on the trip, that may help them to have more interest.
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