It’s almost summer and you know what that means, vacation time! Whether you have been day dreaming at work or have the vacation blues, it might be time to take work off and go on a vacation. All too often, you hear about families booking vacation packages and putting it on their credit cards. Well, I challenge you to be different this summer and pay for your vacation in cash.
It shouldn’t be hard to do this. All it takes is a little planning. And trust me, you will enjoy your vacation a lot more knowing that you’re not going into debt for it.
Planning is what will save you the most money. You can cut back on some of the bigger expenses by simply shopping around and comparing prices before you head off on a trip to the Bahamas.
1. Start a vacation savings account.
If you’re trying to avoid debt and want to pay for your vacation in cash, this will you get there. By depositing money into a dedicated vacation account, it will help you think about your vacation in terms of cash. Once you reach a goal for this account, the next step is to commit to spending that amount or less. Knowing this cap will ensure that you don’t over during your vacation. Be sure to setup an automatic transfer to this account so you won’t be tempted to spend this money instead.
2. Get a family vacation jar started!
This is a fun and creative way to get the whole family involved. I recommend using a five gallon jug and to make pen marks on the side so each member of the family can track the progress. Saving change in a jar will create unity within your family and a sense of accomplishment. This is a great way to teach your kids about saving money up for something you want.
3. Have a neighborhood garage sale.
This is a cool idea that my family has used in the past. Instead of going solo, invite your neighborhood to have a big garage sale on the same day. All it takes is a little “buy-in” from your neighbors and an agreement on the date. Advertising a neighborhood garage sale is much more effective than just having a solo garage sale. Make this an event and put all the proceeds toward your vacation fund. This is not only a fun way to save money for your vacation but it gives you an opportunity to interact with your neighbors!
4. Plan your vacation during the off-season.
You’d be surprised how much money you can save by booking a vacation during the off-season of your location. Do some research on where you’re going and avoid the busiest times. Another benefit of doing this is that your destination will be on the quieter side, providing you with a much more pleasant, relaxing time during the trip. With the savings, you could even create a “slush” fund for unexpected expenses during your stay. Or you could use this money to eat out an extra meal during the trip. Whatever you choose to do, planning a trip during the off-season will save you a bundle.
5. Create a meal plan.
I remember going on vacations and food being a point of contention within my family. Being from a family of five, food was always our most expensive cost during these trips. As much as I wanted to eat out three times a day for the entire vacation, it just wasn’t viable with such a big family. To remedy this high expense, my Mom planned out which meals were going to be cooked and which ones we’d go out for. The bulk of our meals ended up being cooked at wherever we were staying. This saved a tremendous amount of money at the end of these trips.
I hope you can take these tips and start saving for your next vacation the SMART WAY. Sit down, get out the pencil and paper, and start creating a financial plan for your next vacation. You won’t regret it.