School is out and the first thing that comes to mind, aside from sleeping in past 6 a.m., is going on vacation. Quite honestly, weâ€™ve not had an honest to goodness family vacation ever. Itâ€™s always something tagged onto a business trip or improvised into a family trip back home to visit family. Iâ€™d really like to go someplace that would be fun for the family, not just because relatives live nearby or we have to be someplace for some function.
The economy is in a state of disarray for most of us but there are a few ways that we can start saving for a family vacation.
Make a plan and stick to it! Sit down and talk to your husband, if the children are older they can be included in this part of the process, and decide where you want to spend your vacation, and ballpark your budget. Then go through your finances and figure your ACTUAL budget. This is the most important part. Then decide how hard you are willing to work and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to save for this vacation.
Transportation: By simply filling up your tank to get around town, you are wasting thousands of dollars a year. There are a few different things you can do to save money in this area; trade your gas guzzling SUV in for a smaller, more economical car. You can take the bus which is infinitely cheaper than filling your tank.
You can walk to your destination especially since your timetable may be a little easier going during the summer months. You can also choose to make it fun and bike from place to place. Itâ€™s a great example for the kids; they will have a blast and they will get healthy and be exhausted every night, eliminating bedtime arguments. Win – Win!
Entertainment: For us, entertainment and dining are complete money sucks. Everything seems to cost a little more lately but there are still some great things to do with the children this summer, for free or for a more affordable price than you might have thought.
Want to go to a baseball game? Why not buy grass seats; they are only $5 at our local minor league field. We take a blanket and watch the game together, giggling and enjoying one another’s company. With a little planning, you can do this on $1 hotdog, hamburger and drink night! Thatâ€™s an entire night at the ballpark for $28. Amazing right?
Parks and splash pads are free. If you want to go to the movies, go to the matinee. Itâ€™s only $5 per person for the first daily showing. The zoo is one of my childrenâ€™s favorite places to go. If we paid each time they wanted to go, which is no less than 30 times a season, it would cost us around $50 just for tickets to get in. I bought a family yearly pass for $90. Thatâ€™s a major cost savings in the long run.
Most museums, science centrals and aquariums have a monthly free day. There are even some zoos that donâ€™t charge at all. During the summertime, all sorts of free festivals and activities are going on. On top of this entire savings, I would recommend signing up for Groupon or Living Social. The service emails you daily local savings deals.
Dining: We all need to eat. We canâ€™t escape that cost but we can certainly eat more frugally. Buy fruits ad veggies that are in season; they are priced cheaper when they are in season.
Donâ€™t be afraid to make dinner at home. I know sometimes itâ€™s so much easier to hit the drive thru when youâ€™ve had a particularly busy day of errands but I also know the empty feeling I get in my stomach when I see my purchases online on Monday and realize we spent $200+ eating out, basically wasted money. Thatâ€™s an entire week and a halfâ€™s worth of groceries squandered on unhealthy, unmemorable food.
Groupon also send out daily dining deals, this is good to keep in mind. You can also save a lot each month simply by eating at home.
How do you cut cost to save for your summer vacation? Iâ€™d love to hear your suggestions.
Photo Source: The TRUTH about Motherhood