Summer is almost here, and vacation just seems logical. Let’s make sure you can take that fun trip and make the most of summer time fun. Here are some simple tips for affording a family vacation. Savings and planning to the rescue!
Some simple tips:
Budget your vacation beforehand. How much do you have to spend on vacation? Determine that ahead of time. Get specific and eliminate sticker shock before the trip occurs.
Don’t like budgeting? Consider a Staycation. Sometimes the best vacations are enjoyed without the stress of traveling.
Shorter trips and/or Camping. If money is really tight, consider a couple of long weekend trips instead of the ‘dream’ family vacation. Or maybe camping is an affordable alternative. Make your experience realistic for your budget.
Save money on food. Look for hotels and restaurants where kids eat free. Often times you can take advantage of hotel freebies. Some hotels offer stay and eat free programs for children.
All-inclusive vacations can be super affordable. Often there are deals for children and families, and there are specific chains that are known for their discounted pricing.
Redeem rewards. Credit card rewards for vacation flights, accommodation, and extras. Some credit cards even double the value of your rewards at specific retailers. Bonus!
Use a Cash Only policy on family vacations. Cash buyers typically spend 15% less than when using a credit or debit card. When using cash, you know exactly how much you are spending, and sometimes cash discounts are possible.
More unusual tips:
Save your monthly change before your trip. You’ll be surprised how it adds up. On average you can save $50/individual per month. That’s $600 a year per person.
Use your flex savings account (if you have one) as a savings account and then use your receipts reimbursement to pay for your vacation.
Save by having a ‘Clean the Pantry Party’. Eat what you have in your house and stay away from the grocery store until your pantry is cleaned out. Make it fun - pretend you’re on a deserted island and can only eat what you have in the pantry. What unusual meals are created? Most families have more staples in the pantry than they realize.
Use your tax refund. Are you due for a big refund check? If so, use it for vacation. Make sure to fill out a new W-4 with your employer right away so that it’s closer to what you will owe in April. This will also increase your paycheck! Use the money for additional automatic vacation savings.
Rachel Namoff is on the forefront of financial literacy. Her systems have transformed retirement planning for advisors, baby boomers and individuals. She is currently a managing member of Arapaho Asset Management.