With the summer almost over for another year, now is the perfect time to start to save extra money for your next family escape.
As a lover of the mini-break, my family and I take 3-4 long weekend holidays throughout each year. Friends often ask how we afford it. The good news is that it’s not as expensive or as difficult as you may think! All it takes is a little planning and a large holiday vision board!
Yep. I did just say the words ‘vision board’. Seriously, one of the best tips I’ve discovered is to print out a photo of your holiday destination and place it on the wall so everyone in the family can keep their ‘eye on the prize’. This provides great motivation throughout your savings period. Trust me, it works!
So want to turn that family holiday dream into a reality? You can with these 8 easy holiday saving tips!
1. Plan Ahead & Budget
Do your research at the beginning of the year to decide where to go and how much you’ll need to save – remember to factor in spending money. Goals are the way to get there! This is peak goal setting time!
2. Think Off-Peak
Travelling off peak will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Research, ask a travel agent and look for flexible gaps in the calendar. If you can travel outside of major seasonal holidays and school term you’re far more likely to nab a great deal.
3. Subscribe, Trawl and Bargain Hunt Online
Subscribe to sites like Groupon, Wotif and your favourite resorts (many resorts run specials every 2-3 months). This is how to purchase accommodation at hugely discounted rates – then you can sit back and dream of how you’ll spend your savings whilst there. (If you’re lucky, Groupon may have your favourite resort discounted during one of its 20% off promotions!)
4. Set up Dedicated Travel Savings Accounts
Don’t just set it up. You then actually have to commit to putting a percentage of your wages into it each week. Get the kids involved by making a game of it. Create a Holiday Savings Jar and set a 10 week saving challenge. On the first Friday each person puts 50c into the jar, on the 2nd Friday everyone puts in $1, and so on until the specified period ends. Count your savings and decide how to spend the money on your holiday; Anyone for ice-creams and fish and chips? This is the funds that will cover all the little extras you yearn for!
5. Compare Grocery Catalogues and Shop to Save
Remember to only buy items you need. Don’t waste a cent you could save! Buy non-branded products if required and don’t forget to buy “generic” at the chemist to save extra dollars. Check out bulk retailers like Costco or discount supermarkets like ALDI. Compare, compare, compare.
6. Cut That Paid Daily Coffee Down to Bi-Weekly
Don’t worry it won’t kill you – there’s always instant – eek! But heck coffee or a holiday? Sometimes it takes a little sacrifice to get to the end goal. If you don’t drink coffee have a long hard look at your little luxuries. What could you cut down on that you’d rather trade for a holiday? There’s always something.
7. Do More Free Weekend Family Activities
Cut back on the extra activities like movies and lunches out and head to the park or watch DVDs. Follow free activity pages in your local area and look to minimise your weekly entertainment spend! Being together is what counts, right?
8. Make Extra Income by Freelancing or Selling Items on eBay
Again, get the kids involved by getting them to choose items to sell – let them spend the money they make on the holiday. It’s surprising what a little motivation can achieve! Selling your old toys, baby gear that’s no longer needed, bikes you’ve outgrown etc is a quick and efficient fund raiser.
All these tips can be put into action for short periods or for years to come, so you can continue to have fabulous family holidays into the future. The important thing is to keep your savings plan simple and fun, and keep your eye on the prize! You’ll be there before you know it!
I can hear the waves already!