Coworkers, friends, and family can often dazzle you with tales of their big vacation they took over the weekend or holiday, but not every family has the funds to take a trip to Hawaii over Spring Break. It’s important to take time away from the day to day in order to share big experiences with your family, however, before the kids get too old and too busy to go with you. Thankfully, there are little ways you can build up your savings over the year to set aside enough for a family vacation that your whole family can enjoy.
Taking money out of your paycheck every cycle can be painful for those who don’t have much money to spare in the first place, and it can be hard to figure out how much you need to take out, to begin with. Thankfully, there are apps that can do the work for you, and many of them are free. What happens is that you calculate how much you need to put aside from every paycheck in order to save up for the vacation you want, and then you tell the app to take that much out of your banking account every cycle. If you can budget around the amount you put aside, then all you have to do is leave the app on your phone and let it do its work, storing money away for you until finally, on vacation day, you look and see all of the funds you need waiting for you.
Some banks and most credit unions will offer dividends with their other savings account services for the money you keep in your savings account. What that means is that every month, a percentage of the money you have saved is calculated, just like interest, but instead of paying it, the bank pays it back to you. With this, the money you have already saved can build up more money over time. Many banks and credit unions today are now offering new customers free savings accounts for signing up with them, though these savings accounts often don’t have as high of dividends as others they offer. While this alone won’t likely be enough to pay for a vacation, if you leave enough in your savings account when you can, you can earn back a fair amount to get you that much closer.
Save Now, Spend Later
While a trip to the movies or restaurant with the family doesn’t seem to compare to a real get-away vacation, those little activities add up over time. If you have a monthly entertainment budget (as you should), then take a look at that budget and see if there are some activities you could replace with cheaper or even free alternatives. Waiting until a movie is available for streaming instead of seeing it on opening night, especially if you have a large family, will save you a surprising amount. Other things like eating at home instead of eating out, going to a park instead of a gaming center, and playing in the sprinkler instead of going to the pool can add up quickly over the months to create a fair-sized vacation budget.
While some people can be shy of the stock exchange, keeping stocks can be a great way to save money, especially over a long period of time. While the market fluctuates from day to day, the general trend of any solid company stock is to increase in value with time. Depending on how much you invest, to begin with, you may or may not be able to put together a vacation fund within a year. However, if you continue to invest little by little as you can, the money will compound over time, and by the year next, you’ll like have enough for a trip to Disneyland or a National Park. If you do this every year, adding more as you go and taking away what you need for a yearly vacation, your stocks could easily create an actively growing fund for you to use every year on your family.
You don’t have to have a major paycheck to go on a big family vacation. While it takes some extra time and planning, saving up a few thousand dollars for a classic vacation can be worked into any livable budget. Cherish the time with your family both at home and on get-aways, no matter what your budget constraints, and you won’t have any regrets when your children are grown out of the house.