It’s hard to believe that Spring Break is just around the corner, and summer will be here before you know it. No matter where you think about traveling this summer, I’m sure you have at least started dreaming about where you might want to go. After the dreaming is done, the planning begins. As you plan and budget for this year’s trip, here are some ways that can help you save up and get you more financially prepared.
- Set up a vacation savings account. Setting up a separate savings account specifically for your summer vacation will help you keep better track of your money and focus on making that account grow. Contributing weekly verses monthly will also keep you updated on the progress of saving all while taking a less of a monthly hit to your normal accounts.
- Time your trip. When flying or booking hotels, think about day of the week. Less desirable times like mid-week, evenings or mornings are often cheaper. Also take a look at flexible travel days, as you could save huge if you can be flexible with the timing of your vacation.
- 90 day cut back. Are you up the challenge? What do you spend money on for regular leisurely activities like going out to eat, going to the movies, bowling or other family things that cost money. Take a look at your spending habits on these activities and set a goal of scaling back on those activities for 90 days. You will be amazed at how much money you can save and then use for a memorable family vacation.
- Prepare meals. Where can you go and/or stay that would allow you to make your own meals on vacation? Instead of eating out for every meal on vacation, consider packing breakfast items that you can take on the go, preparing meals that you can cook on a stove in a home rental or be microwaved in a hotel room. This can save you tons of money and allow for more to spend on activities.
- Host or be hosted. Instead of spending additional vacation days traveling, why not ask them come to you this year? Plan some fun ways to spend your free days at home or nearby, or even consider a staycation while they are visiting. Do you have a friend close the beach, mountains or anywhere but your home town? Ask them if you can come visit rather than staying in a hotel Don’t be shy inquiring about a visit. Just remember not to overstay your welcome.
Give the Kids a Budget
Prevent post-vacation credit card bill shock (and teach your kids a thing or two about budgeting) by thinking about how much each day will cost in advance — and then giving your kids (over age 7) a reasonable amount of cash as their daily spending money. Let them know they can keep anything that’s left over so they’ll think about whether or not they really need both the cotton candy and the jumbo lollipop — or if they can make do with one or the other and pocket the rest. Be clear and stick to you guns — if the money runs out, that’s it. No bailing out your spendthrift kid.