Vacation Dreaming? Here Are 7 Ways to Save For Your Family Vacation!

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Image via Flickr/ Danny Baza Bias

As I sit here in the freezing-cold Northeast, watching snow fall outside of my window, I can't help but look ahead and dream big about our summer vacation! But when it comes to living those vacation dreams, they usually cost big money. So today, I am putting together a gameplan to save up those pennies and dollars for a fun summer family adventure! Care to join me in my quest to save for your family vacation? Let's get started!

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Image via Flickr/ Tax Credits

Step 1: Decide on a Destination and Make a Vacation Budget

It all starts with a plan, right? Begin by choosing exactly where you want to go on vacation this summer. Do a little web research on your desired destination and print off a great picture while you're at it. Post this picture wherever you will see it daily and use it to motivate you to save money over the next few months!

{ MORE: 8 Tips for Kid-Friendly Family Vacations }

Now it's time to set a budget for your trip. Take into account items such as transportation (will you be flying or driving?), accommodations (will you be staying in a hotel, rental home, or tent?), and meals, and don't forget to budget for fun family activities and expenses such as souvenirs. Add up how much all of this is going to cost. Now let's come up with a plan to start saving that money!

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Image via Flickr/ Ron Dellete

Step 2: What Can You Cut?

One of the biggest ways to save money for vacation is to look at what you're currently spending money on and ask yourself “What can I cut out or at least cut back on?” It might be that morning latte, or the weekly mani/pedi, or it might even be dining out with the kids on Saturday nights. Keep in mind that you don't have to cut these things out for forever–just while you're in “vacation savings” mode.

At our house, we've already decided to cut eating out on weekends with the kids. Our family of eight can easily drop $120 at Applebee's for dinner, and when we get home, I can't help but ask myself if spending that money was really worth it–120 bucks just for a few hours off from cooking and doing dishes. I would much rather have that $120 and put it towards our summer vacation.

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Image via Flickr/ Anja_Johnson

Step 3: Trade Fun Now… for Fun Later!

While you're examining things that you can cut out of your current budget in order to save money for vacation, look at some of the things that your family spends money on now for fun activities. Heading out to see a movie at the theater twice a month can cost a family of four $160 per month! Your vacation budget would grow quickly if you simply waited until those same movies were available for streaming from Netflix or Amazon for just $5 each. If you find yourself taking the kids out to the aquarium yet again just to find a way to fill your weekend, consider turning Sundays into family fun days – complete with board games and popcorn. Stash the money saved into your vacation account!

{ MORE: Don't Miss Target's Car Seat Trade-In! }

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Image via Flickr/ tsmall

Step 4: Keep the Change!

This tried-and-true idea has worked for families for generations! At the end of every day, take whatever change you have in your pocket or in your wallet and put it into a family change jar. Encourage everyone in the family to save their change, and dream about the fun you will have together while on vacation with the money saved!

Be sure to head to the bank to get coin wrappers and wrap the change yourself, saving the fee charged by those machines at the grocery store that turn your pennies into dollars!

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Image via Flickr/ John Beagle

Step 5: Sell What You Don't Need!

You can certainly turn your clutter into cash by selling some of the items that your family is no longer using. Perhaps your town is having a local rummage sale where you can set up a table and sell some of the toys that your kids have outgrown.

{ MORE: 5 Cold Weather Family Resorts That Will Make Winter a Lot More Fun }

You'll make a little money, and other kids will be thrilled to own and play with some of the toys and equipment that your family is no longer using!

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Image via Flickr/ 401(K) 2013

Step 6: Use a Credit Card That Gives You Money Back!

A long time ago, my husband and I made at the decision to use a credit card that offers us money back as a reward. Throughout the month, we charge all of our expenses to this credit card, and then we make sure to pay the bill in full at the end of every month so that we incur no finance charges! (Note: This is key. If you don't pay the bill in full each month, then the interest will negate the cash-back savings).

The month before we go on vacation, I cash in those reward dollars and apply them to my credit balance. So while we are on vacation, and I'm charging vacation expenses to the card, they are being off-set by the reward dollars!

{ MORE: 15 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation }

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Image via iStock

Step 7: Apply your Tax Refund to your Vacation Budget

Hopefully many of us are looking at some (small) amount of a tax refund this year. (Keep in mind that if you are receiving a large refund every year, it means that you are paying too much in taxes all year long!) A great way to make a big dent in your vacation savings plan is to apply any tax refund you receive towards your family's vacation.

{ MORE: How to Surprise Your Wife on Vacation }

Where are you hoping to head on vacation this year?

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What do you think?

Vacation Dreaming? Here Are 7 Ways to Save For Your Family Vacation!

My name is Sharon and I am the busy Mom of six children ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. People often ask me "How do you do it?" I tell them that my key to success lies in planning ahead, with a whole lot of creativity and organization thrown in! ... More

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4 comments

  1. mommy nhoj says:

    Cool! We might not go on vacation soon but we’d love to do it given a chance. We might opt for short drive or just an overnight out of town.

  2. LIZ says:

    how important to know this, everything counts to save, tnx so much

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