My personal friends Ralph and LeAnn planned for years to take their children on a trip around the country. As self-employed homeschoolers they didn’t have major problems with living on the road for an extended period of time; but the money was a big factor. So they put their heads together and came up with a plan. After a several years and thousands of dollars in the bank, they were on their way.
I remembered their story a few weeks ago while mulling over my latest idea. I want to go to Haiti in March and surprise my son who lives there for his 21st birthday. Only problem is, I do not have the money to go. But I am determined.
He’s my boy, after all, and he has been working for a mission in a foreign country since he was 18 years old. The fact that I do not have the money to go, nor have any hope of saving that money before the March winds blow, makes this trip a personal financial goal. So, I’m planning to implement a few ideas gleaned from our friends’ experience.
How They Fundraised, and You Can Too!
Seeing the Progress
They spent an evening making a big poster like a thermometer. You know the kind. You see them up in libraries, hospitals, schools, or other places trying to raise funds for a large project. They wrote their financial goal at the top of the thermometer and filled in with red marker up to the line that indicated how much they had saved to date. After hanging this poster in a prominent location, they colored in the thermometer after each bank deposit.
But where did the money come from for those deposits? Personal fundraisers. No, they didn’t stand at traffic lights or the Walmart parking lot with signs that said, “Needy family needs $$ for vacation.” They didn’t even advertise what they were doing. They just did extra things.
Bake Sales and Car Washes
Since Ralph owns a store-front business in a prominent shopping center, the family would spend a few days baking. They then set up at the shopping center selling their goods. All the proceeds went into their vacation fund. The store also provided a great place for having car washes. Of course, you will want to check on local ordinances before baking hundreds of cookies.
This method did wonders for getting the basement cleaned out. Our friends were extra-motivated to clean out unused and unwanted items to sell in yard sales. If you don’t live on a busy road, consider renting a table at a local flea market. Generally, a table space goes for 10-$15 and that amount is minimal compared with your earning potential.
Our friends worked as child care providers during special services at a church in their area. You could also do some child care in your home, or pet sitting, or even house sitting for friends.
The Coin Jar
LeAnn didn’t share this with me; but I’ve seen many people do this. Each evening when you empty your pockets put your change in a large jar on your counter or dresser. But don’t take any out. When the jar is full, deposit this money into your fund. You’d be amazed at how quickly it adds up.
Basically, the money you earn from anything that provides extra income can be earmarked “Personal Financial Goal.” Ralph has a hobby business burning old-time LP’s onto CD. During the time they were saving for their trip, half the money Ralph made from this business went into the vacation fund. Hey, we have a few of those hobbies that make a little something. Looks like I’m on my way.
What about you? Have you ever needed to save money for a big project? What did you do to earn the extra funds? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!