15 Easy Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation
You've worked hard over the years, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. For that matter, the vacation of a lifetime might top your list of things to do. But after doing the math, a dream vacation can seem impossible.
However, don't immediately push the thought aside. You might not be the richest person in the world, but if you adjust your spending and make a few sacrifices, a dream vacation might be doable.
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Here are 15 easy ways to save for your dream vacation.
1. Set Goals
Before you start saving, determine how much you need for your vacation, and when you want to travel. This way, you know how much to save on a monthly basis. For example, if you need $4,000 and you plan to travel in 18 months, you'll need to save at least $222 a month. (See also: Vacation Destinations That Stretch Your Dollar)
2. Set up a Separate Vacation Account
Open an online high-yield savings account that's specifically for vacation funds. This account is separate from your emergency cash reserves and your retirement funds. Since online savings accounts offer better rates, you're able to maximize your growth and hit your target goal sooner. (See also: 5 Great Online Savings Accounts)
3. Make Weekly Contributions
To reach your savings goal faster, commit to weekly contributions. Some people only contribute to their vacation fund on a monthly basis. This can work. However, once-a-month contributions result in larger one-time deposits. Weekly contributions, on the other hand, are smaller and more manageable.
4. Cook Meals at Home
It might be easier and faster to pick up dinner during the week, but you might spend more than necessary for food. For this to work you have to actually bank the savings. That means, figure out what you actually save by cooking at home each week, and then deposit that in your special savings account.
5. Look for Free Entertainment
Saving up for a dream vacation doesn't mean you have to sacrifice a good time. However, you need to choose your entertainment and recreation carefully. Check your local newspaper or go online and look for free ways to have fun. You can also have fun by simply getting together with friends and going to the park or each other's homes for game night. (See also: Free Things to Do in Any City)
6. Take Your Own Lunch and Coffee to Work
I know, the weekdays are crazy and between getting yourself and the kids ready, there's often little time to make a lunch or brew your own coffee. However, if you spend $5 a day on lunch or coffee, that's $25 a week or $100 a month. That's nearly $1,200 a year that can go towards your vacation fund.
7. Save Your Work Bonuses
If your boss gives Christmas bonuses or other bonuses during the year, rather than spend this money on electronics or clothes, deposit all or a percentage of this free money into your vacation fund.
8. Keep Your Tax Refund
Likewise, it might be tempting to spend your tax refund on fun stuff. But if you haven't been on a vacation in several years, free money from the government can jumpstart your dream vacation fund, helping you get to your destination sooner.
9. Rack Up Cash Back
Apply for a credit card that features a cash-back rewards program. Use your credit card for everyday purchases, such as groceries, gas, and even utility bills. The more you use your credit card, the more cash you earn. Redeem for gift cards or a check, which you can use toward your vacation. Of course, always pay off your credit card each month to avoid debt. (See also: Beginner's Guide to Miles and Points)
10. Sell Your Old Junk
Surely, there's plenty of stuff lying around your house that you don't need. It's faster and easier to throw these items away or donate them to charity. But if you're looking for a simple way to save for your dream vacation, sell these items and put the proceeds toward your vacation fund.
11. Start a Change Jar
Each day when you arrive home, go through your pocket or purse and toss spare change into a jar. This might seem like an insignificant move, but coins add up quickly. During the course of a year, you could easily save hundreds in change alone, which might cover some of your hotel, entertainment, or food costs while on vacation.
12. Shop at Thrift Stores
Even if you stop shopping to save for a dream vacation, chances are that you'll need some clothing during the year. Instead of heading to the mall or another retail store, shop at the thrift store. You might find exactly what you need for less.
13. Evaluate Monthly Services
Take a look at your expenses and evaluate where your money goes. Where can you cut back? The less you spend each month, the more you can put toward your vacation savings account. For example, could you eliminate cable or a telephone service? Could you get rid of your gym membership or stop your housekeeping services? Cut them and bank the savings. (See also: 8 Services You Don't Need to Pay For)
14. Hold Off on Large Purchases
Technology is always improving and new car designs come out every few years. It's tempting to keep up with the latest and greatest. However, acquiring the next best thing can delay your dream vacation plans. Not that you shouldn't upgrade some aspects of your life. But if you're serious about taking a dream vacation, this should be your main focus.
15. Get a Part-Time Job
You might not jump for joy at the idea of working a second job. But if your income doesn't afford the opportunity to save for a dream vacation, working part-time a few hours each week, or asking your boss for overtime work, might provide the funds you need. If you can make an extra $500 a month — or $125 a week — that's an extra $6,000 a year.
Do you have other ideas on how to save for a dream vacation? Let me know in the comments below.