The official first day of summer this year is June 21st, just around the corner. If you haven’t started saving for your summer vacation, you’d better get started!
Here are a few ways you can start saving for your summer vacation NOW!
What will it cost?
The first step to saving for anything is to figure the cost of what you are saving for. The same holds true for your summer vacation. Will you drive to where you are going? Will you fly? Where do you plan on staying, and how much will that cost? What is food going to cost?
If you flying to your vacation destination, there are often airfare, hotel and car rental packages that can be had that add up to considerable savings over booking each of these separately. Usually the earlier you make your reservation the better the price. Don’t rule out seeking the help of a travel agent when it comes to making plans for a summer vacation that takes you far from home, many times a travel agent has access to packages that the regular consumer does not.
If a road trip is part of your vacation plans, will you take the family car or will you need to rent a car? Your fuel costs for traveling by road will be a major factor in figuring the cost of your trip also. There are online trip cost estimators that can help you estimate your gas costs based on your type of car and the route you are taking.
It is a good idea to estimate your travel costs and then tack on an additional 10-15% to that total. That way if you run across any unexpected incidentals you will be covered.
Start a separate savings account
An easy way to start sitting money aside for your summer vacation is to open a separate savings account and have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited into that account each time you get paid. Try to make the savings account an “inconvenient” account. That is an account that doesn’t have a debit card or other ways to easily access the money. You want to make it difficult to use the money in case you get tempted to spend it on something other than your summer vacation.
There is extra money out there
Start looking for ways to make some extra money to help fund your summer vacation. If you have a job that allows it, ask to work a few hours overtime each week or see if it is okay to cut your lunch break in half and get back to work a little bit earlier. It may be difficult in this economy, but consider looking fr a part-time, temporary or side job.
Look for things in your house that you can sell on eBay to raise some extra vacation cash… or consider having a yard sale.
Cut your grocery spending
I’m not suggesting that you go on an all Ramen Noodle diet but look for ways that you can cut your spending on food, at least up until you leave for your vacation. Look through the pantry and freezer and figure out what meals you can make with the things you have on hand. If you don’t do it already, become that coupon shopper that you always talked about becoming. Go through the papers and search out all of the coupons for items that you use and start clipping coupons. You might consider buying the generic versions of the stuff you like or other less expensive brands in order to cut your grocery spending. Take the money that you save and toss it in your newly created vacation savings account.
Get the family involved
A good strategy for saving for anything, especially if it seems like a considerable amount, is to set small goals that lead you to your final goal. Get some poster board and draw a big thermometer like you often see for fund raisers, with your final goal at the top but mark off increments along the way. Post your vacation fund raising poster somewhere in the house for everyone to see and get the whole family involved in the saving process. Fill in your vacation thermometer as you reach each milestone. This will keep you and your family motivated during the saving process and add to the excitement as everyone sees the thermometer fill up and get closer and closer to your main goal.
Have a spare change jar in the kitchen and every night have everyone deposit any spare change that they have into the jar. You might think that this will not get you very far towards your goal but you will be surprised at just how quickly that spare change will add up.
Planning early will give you the best chance to save the money you need and find the best deals on travel, lodging and attractions. The longer you have to save, the better chance you have of being able to save all of the money you will need for your vacation.
You can have a great summer vacation without wrecking you’re your regular family budget. Actually, these vacation saving ideas don’t really involve a considerable amount of sacrifice or change in your current lifestyle.
Saving for your summer vacation can be pretty easy and before you know it you will be on the summer trip of your dreams!