Vacation Fund Savings Challenge
We took our kids to the beach for the first time last year.
It was an amazing trip, and we immediately talked about returning. I wondered aloud how much effort we should put into family trips. My husband replied “well, our oldest is 11. So, we have 7 good years left of traveling as a family.”
Um, thanks for freaking me out honey.
While his words were overdramatic, he had a point. And so, we decided that one great trip a year was a priority.
But, how do you get from “I want to take this trip” to “we ARE doing it!”
With a great plan and a little momentum. Use this vacation savings challenge to make it happen!
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Vacation Savings Calculator
Before you begin saving, you will need to do a bit of research. Decide on where you want to go, and estimate how much it will cost.
Use this vacation savings calculator to help determine what you need:
Related: Best Tips: Family Travel On A Budget
Vacation Savings Challenge Plan
Now, you are probably thinking: how can I save $1000 in 30 days? Or $5,000 in 90 days?
Make a plan. Here’s how:
1. Write down a smart goal to help you determine your plan.
- Be specific and give yourself a realistic time frame and deadline.
- Write why this trip is so important to you.
- Include how you will get to your goal (keep reading for good money-saving tips!)
- Decide how you will track your progress along the journey.
A smart goal Vacation example might be…
- I will save $400 a month for 9 months to get to my vacation savings goal of $3,600 by August 31st.
- This vacation to the Grand Canyon will create once-in-a-lifetime memories with the kids.
- We will reach this goal by cutting Hulu for 3 months, having a garage sale, and eating at home 2x a week more.
- We will mark progress through the vacation savings tracker and our vacation savings account.
Vacation Savings Account: Where to Put Your $$$
Not all savings accounts are created equal. Look for a high-yield savings account, often offered through online banks that don’t have to cover the overhead expenses that local banks do.
At the time of this writing, my local bank offers .2-.75% APY. My online savings account currently gives out 3.4% APY. This interest difference adds up over time!
(And is an easy way to have more money for vacation!)
BONUS: Name your savings account something that motivates you. “Vacation” won’t move you emotionally. But “Stunning Beach Sunset” has a nice ring to it.
Find travel bank account nicknames >>
How to Start Saving Money
Next, use these saving for vacation tips to get you moving in the direction of your dreams!
1. Make Vacation Saving a Family Affair
Saving for vacation is a great way to model good budgeting practices and teach your kids how to budget. Plus, once you get your entire family onboard, you will be moving with the current instead of against it!
Make the trip visual with kids by creating a vision board and saving money in a jar. You can also have regular discussions about what you want to do on vacation and what you want to splurge and save on.
Bonus: Everyone will look forward to and be committed to saving for the trip when they are excited for it!
Related: Disney Savings Tracker Charts
2. Decide Big Ways You Will Cut Back
Your 3 big expenses: food, car, and home. If you find a great way to cut back in one of these three, you often don’t have to do much else to get the savings you need.
3. Decide Small Ways You Will Cut Back
Next, get to those sneaky, easy-to-cut things. Ongoing subscriptions are excellent low-hanging fruit. Eating out and alcohol are other things that tend to add up over time. By focusing on these two, you will be saving money AND getting healthier. Win-win!
4. Find Less Expensive Things To Do
If you have kids, you know that activities can be expensive. It doesn’t have to be that way though. There are many options for saving money on activities.
- Get in on happy hour if you like to go out
- Utilize free parks, libraries, and museums
- Host potlucks with other families at home
See more at this list of great things to do when saving money >>
5. Make More to Save More
Saving money is often the easiest way to have more at the end of the day. But do not forget the power of increasing your income. Whether it is through your regular job or a side hustle, sometimes earning an extra $300 a month is much easier than hanging all of your clothes to dry over and over.
6. Get Creative
Fun savings challenges are an excellent way to get motivated. And you don’t have to stop with your vacation savings challenge.
- Do a challenge for no eating out
- Do a no-spending on clothes challenge
- Do a spending freeze
- Have a no spend weekend or month
- Use the money tips in this 30 day challenge
While these can be more drastic commitments, they also put money in your pocket at a much higher rate.
Fun & Free Vacation Savings Challenge Tracker
“The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown
Make the Travel Money Commitment
Related: Why Can’t I Save Money?
How to Make The Vacation Itself Fit In Your Budget
Once you have explored how to save at home, check out these options to make your vacation more affordable.
- Explore nature. What we realized about our beach vacation is that we spent very little money once we were there. Our kids amused themselves for hours…for free.
- Travel during the offseason.
- Pick up groceries when you get there (using a kitchenette can save you big in restaurant costs)
- Drive instead of fly
- Stay with friends and family (Camping also makes for cheap lodging)
- Buy travel size
- Pack your own snacks
- Bring your own reusable water bottles
- Visit restaurants and stores off the beaten path (where the locals go)
- Use your points for cheaper airfare and hotels
- Book a hotel room with a breakfast and pool (a lifesaver with kids!)
To Consider With Your Vacation Savings Challenge
I hope you enjoy this travel savings challenge! Where do you want to go on vacation? Leave a comment and let me know!
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