Do you want to pay for that much-needed vacation when this is all over?
As a budget-conscious family who often feels the stress of everyday life including the effects of this pandemic, we, along with many people are awaiting our first opportunity to go on vacation.
Earlier in the year, we were blessed to make a vacation happen right before COVID 19 became prevalent, and here’s how you can make it happen too.
This is a guide on some tips and tricks I took to pay for our last family vacation. This may be something you have done in the past that we can expand on and maybe learn a few new money-saving tips along the way. In these current times, it can be hard to make ends meet and every penny counts. Even when things are going well it’s the few dollars you save here and there that can make or break your family budget. We are here to help you learn how to save that little bit of change without feeling the stress that budgeting for a vacation entails.
Let’s get started! During this process, you need the self-control to take that money you save from these and set it aside. We recommend using a savings account at a local credit union, and a big change bucket for the little stuff. You can use these strategies below to pay for that vacation, or other activities to help your family grow and have fun.
Let’s say you are already going on vacation, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go to that aquarium your kids have always wanted to go to? After all, you know you want to see the amazing shark exhibit just as much or how about a concert? It’s all easier than you think, and I’m a “maximum effort” kinda guy if you know what I mean. Here is how to save enough for your next vacation. This may be different for each of you, keep an open mind, and keep reading below to find out how.
Food…because I’m fairly sure you eat.
Food is one of your biggest expenses, there is no getting away from that, but you can always save. Your grocery store probably has an app, mine gave me free stuff from day one. The rewards add up quicker than you might think. This is all on top of the easily instant clip coupons. I never was one to clip coupons before but with the apps, it’s easy and quick. If I think I might use them I clip them. I take a quick glance when I go into the store each time to see if I need to take advantage of any of the deals. If that’s not enough you can see the weekly flyer for specials. In this day and age utilizing savings has never been easier.
Not only do your favorite fast-food restaurants have apps, they usually let you place a mobile order which not only saves you money with better deals but usually time as well. Then there are those pesky receipts that if your anything like me will end up crumpled up on a floor or crammed in my wallet until I find time to throw them away. Use these receipts! Many times on the back you will see instructions to take a brief survey and in return free food! It might not seem like much but that maybe tomorrow’s lunch. As a bonus, most chain restaurants will do deals or reward programs. Who can pass up a free burger or dessert on your birthday?
Now if you add up the $5 average weekly savings at your local grocery store that’s $20 a month. Then whether we like to admit it or not, we probably hit up a fast food place once or twice a week. Let’s say we save $3 a week from utilizing their mobile apps, which is probably being modest, we are now looking at another saving of $12 a month. Sure it doesn’t seem like much but you could be using that $12 to eat lunch on that sunny beach you’ve been dying to visit.
Maybe that doesn’t seem like much but let’s look at the bigger picture. $5 a week x 52 weeks annually=$260 for the groceries, and that was already less than I typically save. Then add in $3 weekly savings from eating out X52 weeks annually=$156. Together they give us a grand total of $416. That’s not quite a full vacation but if you wanted to stop here that covers the aquarium or a couple of nights lodging.
BYOF, Bring your own food
We can not emphasize this enough- bring your own food! Picnic, travel cooler, travel snacks, drinks, etc.. Anytime you can bring things with you and skip eating out or skip a fast food trip it can add up very quickly. In addition, it’s usually healthier and many times fresher to bring your own food. If you can cut out a family trip to a restaurant once a month that’s $50 and up for a family of 4. We usually spend about $70 or more for a family of 5.
On top of saving at a meal once a month, we try to bring our own drinks and snacks. While gas stations or convenience stores are easy to go to on the run most of their items are typically double the price of what you would pay when buying things at a grocery store. Buy popular items in your house in bulk to save and cut corners by buying off-brand when possible. Let’s say you only make 2 stops at a convenience store each week. Before I took my own advice I would stop every day. I would buy myself an energy drink for $3 and a snack half the time for a couple of bucks. Then the kids always want juice or milk, and who knows what else for snacks. It’s hard to leave for less than $15 and that doesn’t include the gas! If you bought all that stuff yourself and brought it with you, it should cost significantly less. I know it is going to be impossible to stop all trips and always be prepared, so let’s say you did one less trip each week and saved that money.
Lets start to add this up.
You thought I forgot about trying to pay for a vacation, didn’t you? Well, $15 weekly x 52 weeks annually=$780 a year. Wow! Now if you replace what you spent at the convenience store with food and drinks from the grocery store you are saving about half of that. That gives you an additional $390. We are up to $806 now plus our restaurant savings. Next, add in our savings from eating out at a restaurant once a month. $50 monthly X 12 months=$600 leaving us with a grand total of $1,406. My actual figures from last year at this point where more like $1520, but hey I might be cheaper than you, it’s ok.
What else can you do?
a great way to also save is to pinch pennies, collect change, and save bottles for another $120. Your results may vary on this part, but we live in a state with bottle deposits, we are able to make a little money while doing the responsible thing for the environment. It’s a win all the way around!
Do you have an adorable fur baby that you spoil? We know you do! They get to help in their own way too. Utilize the reward programs for the pet stores. Most of them have some sort of program that is worth looking into that will get you rewards for each dollar you spend, free items, and or the ones we like best are the free bags of food after so many purchases. We tend to get a free bag of food every time we buy 10. The fur babies are happy and we are still saving! These hacks may not work for you but for us, the savings came up to roughly another 200 dollars total along with the bottles and change.
In summary, we ended up with $1720 for a vacation. Lets add it up again
- $5×52=$260 for the groceries.
- $3×52=$156 for fast food app savings.
- $15×52=$780 – the cost of snacks from the home of = $390 from our gas station/convenience store trips.
- $50×12=$600 for cutting that one restaurant visit out a month.
- $120 Saved change and bottle returns.
- $80 other savings set aside from pets and other loyalty programs.
- $1720 total for the year, with very little effort, and I don’t even remember those times I skipped eating out.
What can you save? Can you beat us at our own game? This covered our entire last vacation as a family, except for gas. We are planning on doing the same thing again next year. Only time will tell if we can squeeze more out of some simple savings methods.