There are many effective ways to save for your family holiday. When you spend 40 hours a week slaving at your job, you deserve to have some time to get away from the rat race, relax, and enjoy your family.
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need a plan for saving up the money you need. While this may seem like a simple proposition, some people find it difficult to lay aside some money each pay period. The key here is discipline.
Open up a separate savings account specifically meant for your holiday money. If your employer offers direct deposit, you can usually specify a certain amount of money be put into this account directly. Some banks will schedule an automatic direct transfer to your savings account if you don’t have direct deposits or if you are not able to deposit money into two separate accounts.
Examine the amount of money your family spends weekly or monthly on family entertainment and fast food restaurants. Then reduce that amount, storing the remainder away for your holiday. So that a pending holiday doesn’t become a joy-buster, shop around for freebies and reduced-cost entertainment options to enjoy during the months before you depart.
Another good way to save up money is to save your change. When you use cash, resolve to only use paper money. Then take the change you receive and put it aside at the end of every day. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it can build up.
One family reported that they kept a “holiday jar” in a convenient place and each family member would deposit change and the occasional £5 bill into it. When they emptied the jar and had it counted, they had managed to save £5,000 – enough for them to enjoy a tropical getaway to the Cayman Islands!
While you may not have that much in your change jar, emptying it at holiday time can mean extra spending money or that extra little boost you need to make your dream holiday materialise.
Be sure and involve your kids in the saving venture. This is a great time to teach the valuable lessons of saving and budgeting money.
Look for other unique ways to add extra cash to the holiday coffer. One family we know would save aluminium cans and take them into the recycling plant periodically for cash. Throughout the course of a year, they managed to accumulate an extra £1,000 for their holiday.
You could have a garage sale to earn extra holiday cash as well. There are plenty of opportunities out there to add to your holiday savings. You just need to think outside of the box and resolve that any extra cash you get will go toward your family holiday plans.
You need to budget realistically. Holidays need not be expensive. Budget an amount and stick to it. If you’re driving, set a fixed spending amount (£150 per day, for example). Include all of your expenses, gas, meals, admissions, special activities, etc. Involve your children in the process. Share with them that conserving money on one day allows them to go to a water park on another day. Be creative.
To save money, you can eat only one meal in a restaurant per day. For the other two, prepare your own food and either eat in the hotel room or have a picnic. Take turns letting the kids choose the type of food—and, if you are really adventurous, the restaurant—each day. This way, the children feel important, it minimizes arguments and helps with family bonding.
A good point to also keep in mind when determining how much you can afford to spend on a holiday is to be sure that you consider other periodic expenses that may be waiting for you when you return, such as back-to-school costs, school term expenses and next year’s taxes.
That’s why we highly recommend a separate account for your holiday savings. That way you have your holiday money separate from your everyday money and won’t have to stress about “robbing Peter to pay Paul” when you get home from your trip!
The next key to a successful getaway on a budget is to plan.
PART 3: BEGINNING YOUR PLAN