You are itching to travel. Do you dream of a family vacation by the sea, but you can’t save money? Give yourself the means to do so by following these 7 suggestions to help you save money.
1. Set up a “travel bank”
Create a homemade travel bank where the whole family will be invited to contribute. You can, for example, use a 1 dollar, Tim Hortons coffee can with a slot large enough to fit bills and coins. Be sure to plug other openings so you are not tempted to poke inside. Every week, or as soon as the opportunity arises, all you have to do is deposit the coins lying around in the bottom of your pockets or in your purse.
Also include all revenue from returnable cans and bottles. If you go to Ontario sometimes, know that you can bring back empty wine bottles and get a refund of the deposit. Of course, also occasionally deposit any other amount that will help you make your travel plans a reality. For example, a $5 one week, then a $10 the next because you have sold something that you no longer use in the house. A word of advice: build your bank as a family.
Decorate it, then mark it with a future date (next year, for example) when you will open it to count its contents together. It will be a source of motivation and excitement for both adults and children. Speaking of children, they might just surprise you with their contribution.
2. Pay with a credit card (responsibly!)
Several credit cards are advantageous for travelers. They allow you to accumulate points on eligible purchases that can be redeemed in various ways, whether to pay for a plane ticket, to obtain discounts and privileges in hotels, restaurants, for car rentals, etc. Some even include insurance. Obviously, it is important to pay off the balance of your credit card(s) each month so as not to pay interest.
3. Take advantage of specials
Plan your menus around specials at the grocery store. Buy gifts or clothes based on sales. And of course, don’t hesitate to take advantage of savings offers in flyers or online coupons. Needless to say; buy only what you need.
4. Make ONE change
Look at your usual expenses, then cut just one. For example, it could be depriving yourself of the specialty coffee you buy weekly, or your Friday lunch restaurant meal. If you never cook your dinner, you could do it at least once a week. After that, all you have to do is take the amount of the expense by making a transfer to your savings bank account provided for your travel plan (an account which, ideally, has good interest).
5. Create a vacation budget
Planning is the key. Create a budget for your trip. Write down planned expenses: transportation, food, lodging, activities, etc. Need help?
As part of this process, your research might uncover activities that are free on certain days or at a lower cost, more affordable car rentals, and so on. An idea: if it suits your type of trip, buy step by step, which will cause a smaller hole in the bank account and will allow you to spread out payments. One thing to consider and remember is that the savings goal should be slightly higher than the budget, in case you have to face the unexpected.
6. Start an automatic savings program
The more you save, the closer you will get to your dream. Starting an automatic savings program is one way to remember to put money aside. At a given interval, transfer an amount from your current account to your travel account.
7. Use the X amount technique
This is a good challenge. In fact, it’s about setting X amount and every time you have it in your hands, you have to put it aside for travel. You can also decide that the amount increases over time ($1 the first week, then $2 the second week, and so on).
Do you find these habits hard to establish? It is easier to respect them if you stick to your travel plan, and to the magical moments that you can experience with your family. Memories of family trips are worth all the gold in the world!