With warmer temperatures finally replacing the winter cold, families may be thinking about and even planning summer vacations. Creating a savings plan to pay for that vacation can require some forethought. Here are some tips to help you save enough.
1. A Special Account
Whether you are planning a staycation where you explore local sights or you have an elaborate overseas expedition in mind, you have to start somewhere. Research your plans and create a budget that is both reasonable given your current financial obligations and what you hope to do on your summer vacation. It can be helpful to set up a separate savings account just for this purpose. That way you can easily assess progress and you won’t end up spending this money on something else.
2. Automatic Deposits
Maybe you have a bonus to tax refund to start the fund off with a bang. Even if you don’t, setting up automatic deposits from your checking account can help you meet your goal. This way you don’t even have to think about moving money — it’s already done for you.
Perhaps to budget for the vacation your family is forgoing cable or eating out. Transferring the money straight into your vacation account can help keep that money from getting absorbed into your everyday budget.
3. Involve the Whole Family
Some families like to keep vacations a surprise from the youngest members. But if you are sharing your plans, get everyone involved. Allowing kids to hear the planning can get them interested in making it happen. Whether you set up a jar in the kitchen where everyone can throw in change daily or you give them the option of putting part of their allowance toward the trip, kids can take some ownership of the vacation.
4. Assess Your Rewards Situation
Many of us have opened various frequent flier accounts and joined hotel rewards programs in the past. As you plan your vacation, check in on those accounts. Maybe you have enough to pay for a few nights’ stay or for at least one plane ticket. Even if you don’t have enough for a full ticket, some programs allow you to put those miles towards the ticket and pay a reduced fare.
Check in on those credit card rewards as well. You may be surprised how much you have earned by using your card for everyday expenses. If you aren’t using a rewards credit card currently but are paying the balance off in full each month, you might consider getting a rewards card now, particularly if it offers a big sign-up bonus, to use for your summer vacation.
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