This is a Guest Post brought to you by Rebecca of R We There Yet Mom?
If you are anything like me, you like to dream your days away planning your next big trip. Then you hit the net to begin researching, only to be stuck with sticker shock…..
“It costs HOW much to plan a week long trip to Yellowstone??”
In order to afford our dream vacations, we have to start getting creative in saving for it! Here are some fantastic ways to save your pennies for the next Big Trip:
Vacation Savings Account
One of the best and smartest ways to save for a vacation is to open a separate savings account specifically for your vacation fund. If at all possible, jump-start the account with a lump sum, such as a tax refund. Have a certain amount automatically taken from your paychecks and deposited directly into that savings account. That way you never see the money, so there is less temptation to spend it. And of course you’ll be earning interest.
The Vacation Box
If you don’t want to keep your money in the bank, purchase the $5 a Day Automated Bank. I found this gadget in the SkyMall magazine on a recent flight. If you didn’t want to fork out the $49.95 for a cardboard box, have the family make one together – lock it up – and don’t forget to “feed” it each day. $5, the cost of your daily Starbucks fix, can add up to a lot in a year!
The Change Jar
Make a rule that you never spend coins. Save all your pocket change and throw it in a big jar. Label the jar (i.e. “Our Disney Cruise”) to remind your of your goal. Periodically you can roll the coins and see how much you have. (This is a great job for kids.) Once it’s rolled, put it in your vacation savings account.
I have heard friends doing these “games” when they wrote checks and never understood it – until now. When writing a check, round up your checkbook entry to the nearest dollar. For instance, if you write a check for $56.62, record it in your checkbook as $57. Not only does this help you prevent overdrafts, it also means you’re accumulating a little extra in your account every time you write a check. Another good thing about this method is that you’re earning interest on that extra money, assuming you have an interest-bearing checking account.
Round down your deposit entries to the nearest dollar. For instance, if you deposit $503.64, record it as $500. Again, you’re accumulating a little extra “ghost” money in your account.
A variation on the checkbook rounding method: charge yourself a dollar every time you write a check, plus round up. So if the check was for $25.72, round it up to $26 and add a dollar, making the entry in your checkbook $27.
Another variation on the checkbook rounding method: round up to the nearest five dollars. So if the check was for $35.69, round it up to $40. If it was for $19.11, round it up to $20.
If a payment ends, keep making it — to yourself! For instance, if you pay off a car or a credit card, keep making that payment, but instead write the check to yourself and deposit it into your vacation savings account.
Saving Your Savings
At most grocery stores after you check out and look at the receipt, it shows you how much you “saved today” by purchasing sale items, using coupons, or the store savings card. Use this as an incentive to purchase these sale items and use coupons, as whatever the amount is that you “saved today” automatically goes into a vacation account. Whatever the amount is, transfer that over from you checking into your vacation account.
Make a rule that “found” money goes in the vacation fund. For instance, if you get a gift, tax refund, rebate or work bonus, deposit it in the vacation account.
Give yourself an allowance for cash expenditures (i.e. groceries, gas, meals out, entertainment, etc.) and make a game of seeing how much of your allowance you can NOT spend. Anything left over at the end of the week (or month) goes into the vacation fund.
Charge everything to a cash-back credit card and pay the card off each month. (Only do this if you can handle the temptation to overspend on plastic, and if you really will pay the balance off every single month. If you won’t pay it off monthly, this is a bad idea.) Use the cash-back bonus toward your vacation.
Rebecca, momma of 3 sassy Texas kiddos, writes a blog dedicated to family fun activities for Central Texas at R We There Yet Mom? Although she swears she is not crafty, this momma never lacks in creativity and enthusiasm – her ultimate goal is making exceptional memories for her family. Follow her memory making at R We There Yet Mom?, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest