Build Your Travel Budget Simply

by Mardie Caldwell
Mom gets help from son building a budget for family vacation
Let’s face it, times are hard. We hear people all the time say that they would love to take some time off and travel, but they just can’t afford to do so. It’s true that in reality, we are all having to watch our money and where it goes. But if someone is really serious about wanting to travel, they will find ways to save up for it without breaking the bank.

Before you begin, you need a target. Just throwing change in a jar and hoping for the best isn’t good enough. You need a clear, obtainable goal. Sit down and decide where you want to go and approximately how much it will take to make it happen. As your fund builds, you will be able to track the progress.

Take your travel budget and divide it by the number of weeks until you leave. This gives you a per-week goal. If you save more in a week, don’t subtract it from the following week. This can be considered splurge money.

Now, ask yourself: how bad do you want to go on vacation? If you are truly serious enough, start cutting back. The goal here is to delay satisfaction now so you can gain satisfaction later. But the goal isn’t just to cut spending, but to actually save the savings. If you save something, put the money you would have spent in your vacation fund. Don’t leave it in your account to spend on something else. You will just be trading one expense for another and you’ll be no closer to leaving on your trip.

Here are some great tips for quickly saving up money for your vacation:

  • Instead of hitting the drive-through for one of those expensive coffee drinks, make them at home. You can get all the ingredients they use and cut it down to a fraction of the cost.
  • Eat at home. Eating out is a tremendous expense, especially with kids. If you tend to eat out during the week due to busy schedules, take time on the weekend to cook ahead and package meals in the freezer. When you get home, warm them up and save your cash. This goes for eating lunch out at work, too.
  • Clean out the house. Garage sales are an easy way to generate some quick cash and at the same time, free up some much-needed living space in your home. Everyone has things they can do without and have been threatening to get rid of. Now is your chance to profit from it.
  • Don’t spend anything smaller than a five-dollar bill. Believe it or not, if you get in the habit of saving your change and one-dollar bills, they will add up quickly. Almost every family has a change jar where they routinely dump their coins. Now is the time to cash it in.
  • Instead of having pizza delivered, buy it at the grocery store and cook it yourself.  You’ll be surprised how much of a markup there is on delivered food.
  • Cut out non-essentials. Do your own nails, forgo the pedicure, sunbathe at home instead of the tanning bed, and let your hair grow a little longer this year. All of these miscellaneous expenses add up over time.
  • Involve the kids! When the whole family works together towards a goal, the rewards are enjoyed that much more. Instead of renting movies or video games, swap with another family for a week. It’s free, and even if it isn’t the latest and greatest, it’s new to you.

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Mardie Caldwell is the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Center. Mardie is the host of the popular Internet Talk Radio Show, Let’s Talk Adoption, and the author of – Your Internet Adoption Resource Guide, and numerous articles on adoption, parenting and financing. She is an adoptive mother, married with 4 children.