Warm weather is here and soon it will be summertime! In a perfect world we would all have fully funded vacation accounts to pay for our annual family getaway. The reality of it is most of us are just now starting to think about our summer vacations. Here are some ways to save for your family vacation.
Use your tax refund – now: Do you usually get an IRS tax refund? If so, too much money is being withheld from your paycheck. Fill out a new W-4 and adjust your withholding so it’s close to what you will owe at the end of the year. Take the extra money you will now have in your paycheck and transfer it to a vacation savings account.
Sacrifice now for fun later: Do you have services such as satellite, cable or a cell phone plan that you no longer need or use or could easily downgrade. How about weekly movie rentals or going to the movies? Remember: You’re just trading today’s fun for the fun you’ll all have during your vacation. Just put the money you would save each month on these items into a special vacation fund.
Eat out less, save big: The typical family with kids can spend on average $239 a month on restaurant food. If you have to eat out look for restaurants that have “kids eat free” nights or restaurants who offer buy one entrée get one free. Another way is to have “Pantry Week” which is for one week out of the month, stay out of the grocery store and restaurants and eat only what you have in your pantry. The money you save could be easily diverted into your vacation fund.
Credit card rewards: In the months prior to vacation use a credit card that accumulates rewards for everything you purchase. Let the rewards pile up, then use them toward planes tickets, hotels or to even purchase gift cards for chain restaurants you’ll visit while on vacation.
Host a garage sale: A garage sale is a great way to earn extra vacation cash from items you no longer use or need. If you’re kids are old enough to help let them pick out some of their older toys to sell and set up a special kids table with a sign like “All proceeds go to the purchases of our Disneyland souvenirs”.
Keep your change: Another way to save extra cash for vacation is to throw all your spare change into a change jar. You’ll be surprised how quick that can add up when it comes time for vacation.
No matter how you save for vacation keeping your vacation fund separate from the rest of your money can help you resist the temptation to use it for other things before it is needed for vacation.
Carol Baker, Accountant