As I sit here on the beach with the wondrous breeze and the white sand, I started thinking about how often I hear about those who desperately would like to getaway. However, they are stuck pondering over the logistics, the cost, the time away, the kids. The list is endless.
The biggest hindrance seems to be money. How can I afford to take a vacation? My husband works two jobs, I have two kids in school, I am a stay at home mom and we do not have any extra funds at the end of the month.
Here are 6 ways you can save up for a family getaway. Even if it’s not far away from home:
1) Sale Stuff
Take inventory of the items in your closet, attic, basement and/or garage. All of those things that are no longer useful to you, but that may be useful to someone else. Sell them online using Ebay, online garage sales, craigslist or skip online and do a traditional garage sale. One year, we took inventory and found clothes that still had tags on them because the kids grew too fast before they were able to wear them. We found a pair of old ice skates and other items that netted us nearly $2k. That may be outside the norm, but you may be able to come up with at least a few hundred dollars in useful items you can sell. Immediately deposit the cash into your vacation fund to avoid spending it.
2) Recycle stuff – instead of buying new.
Instead of throwing away old items or selling gently used items online, take old stuff to consignment shops. Resale shops usually take items that are less than 2 years old barely used. You stand the chance of receiving at least 30% back for really great items. This is usually where we take our higher end items we are no longer using. You can take the cash adding it to your vacation fund. If you are actually in need of something for your home or family, you can take these funds and use them at a consignment shop versus buying new. Recycle your funds versus spending the extra money to buy new. Put the difference between the amount you saved by recycling with the retail value of the product in your vacation fund.
3) Use your skills
Tutor, substitute teach at area schools, teach singing, swimming, playing an instrument, whatever your skill set, USE IT. Take inventory of your skills, then put the word out to area families. One Mom I know in particular tutored for years to pay for family vacations. It never interfered with her home life. It took so little time to save up for one good family vacation annually.
4) Plan your menus
The lack of planning usually ends up meaning you spend more. When you are frazzled, chauffeuring kids around from one activity to the next, you typically become pressed for time. Hitting up the fast food drive-thru is not the best option for your pocket or your health. If you create 14 meals your family enjoys by season and by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, then you can easily take a peek at that list weekly to plan meals. Also, use coupons to lower your grocery bill. Eat less meats and more vegetables since meats are costly. Compare your old food spending to your new spending now that you are planning, then place the difference in your vacation fund.
5) Cut cable or satelite
Get Netflix or Hulu Plus. The savings in this category is instant and substantial. Place those same funds in your family getaway fund.
6) Do temporary work
While the kids are in school, sign up with a temporary agency to take short term assignments. One Mom over the years, works 4 months spread out through the year. That income provides not only for an annual family getaway, but covers the kids extra-curricular activities.
With a few slight changes, cleaning up your outdated items and remaining diligent in your efforts, you will find you have a few thousand dollars set aside to take a very nice family getaway for at least a week each year.
What other ways have you found to save for a family getaway? Share in the comments below.