How to Save for Family Travel
- Cut Back
The first thing you will need to do is not fun, like really, it’s not. You may want to get a Diet Coke or a glass of wine (whatever your drink of choice is). Here we go. Print out your bank statements from any accounts that you use to handle your every day family finances, grab a highlighter and calculator, and get to work identifying your bills. Now, break them into two categories: the ones you HAVE to have (a roof over your head), and the ones you don’t need to have (cable that costs $100 or more a month). Use your highlighter to identify everything that you can cut back on.
It is different for every family.
Now, (assuming these things aren’t putting you in financial trouble)… commit to giving them up, add up the amount, and take it out in cash during each pay period. Don’t wait until the end of the month to see what you have left to try and save. NO. If you are like most families, there won’t be much left over. Put the cash in a Trip Fund Jar (or a safe) and watch how quickly it adds up! It gets really exciting for the kids. They start finding coins around the house and will remind you to put it in the trip fund.
My family cut out:
Cable Who needs it anyway these days? We have Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. We share with extended family members and each pay for one. This means we end up paying about $12 a month for our entertainment.
Expensive Sporting Events and Movies
As a family, we used to go to a lot of college basketball and football games, watch movies in the theater, and we love gong to see live musicals! It’s really fun and we love going, but it’s expensive! There’s nothing wrong with this. But, we want to travel, so we only go to a game and a movie in the theater that we really want to see once or twice a year. Otherwise, we wait until movies come to Redbox and make it a fun family activity.
I love getting manicures. It’s fun, a great bonding experience with other women, and it feels like a little treat. I also love getting my lashes done and not having to worry about doing my eye makeup every day. I love massages and facials (not that I can afford these very often anyway), but I love traveling more, and so these had to go (at least most of the time).
This is a pretty easy one to cut back on. I do love eating out, but the check for a family of 5 gags me every time. We only eat out for special occasions now. We started doing “cultural nights” where we make a dish from a country we will be visiting soon. We are going to Italy this spring, so last week we made Homemade Gnocchi. We used this recipe. The kids also help with the cooking which is a great bonding opportunity. Our 13-year-old made a delectable cake by himself that was devoured in under a day. They have so much fun and learn a lot in the process. It’s now something they look forward to every Sunday.
Delicious drinks are a must have in life, right? A Diet Coke with Raspberry Puree, Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup, and a splash of Half ‘n Half? I adore you. A Sugar Free Dulce de Leche, Iced Latte? I need you. I love delightful drinks. Like really. It was a problem. Now, I make them at home. It saves an embarrassing amount of money. The stores may miss seeing you as a regular customer, but they’re not the ones saving for a trip, so save money by making them at home
2. Sell Your Children’s Used Clothes
I use an app called Kidizen to sell all of my kiddos clothes when they grow out of them. I make about $150 a month and so far this little shop has allowed me to afford one of our plane tickets. It’s so easy that it’s almost ridiculous. I just use my iPhone to upload the photos I take in front of my cute wallpaper as a backdrop. My shop looks simple and cute, and when an order comes in, I print out a label from their site and ship it immediately
3. Sell Random Things
Look around your house. I was amazed at the stuff we had in closets and storage that were just collecting dust. I guarantee you have things you can sell: old curtains that don’t match your new decor, baby stuff, sports equipment, tools…you get the point. We sold an elliptical, a playpen, a Bumbo, and some car seats, which was enough to purchase another plane ticket. The kids get in on the action by setting aside things they don’t use anymore or want to sell to help contribute to the Travel Fund. Again, if traveling is on the forefront of everyone’s mind in the family, they will look for ways to help
4. Make money on the side
My husband and I started a studio where we teach piano and voice lessons. We have about 75 students, but it’s not necessary to do something of this caliber. It worked for our current situation, although everyone’s situation is different. The money we make mainly goes to our trip fund. Use your talents to bring in a little extra income here and there. You can go to Wyzant and people will contact you for lessons. There are listings for baseball pitching coaches, guitar teachers, piano teachers, artists, and tutoring. Or you could teach a cooking class or Yoga class through Skillshare
5. Don’t Buy Many Toys and Clothes
For the most part, our kiddos play outside. Of course, we have toys, a small playhouse, Legos, etc., but our kids know that we aren’t going to have big toy collections or the newest gadgets. I occasionally buy clothes at chic consignment stores like Uptown Cheapskate, but for the most part, I buy new clothes only when they are on sale. I love to shop at places like TJ MAXX, ROSS, or Nordstrom Rack where I find designer clothes for great prices. My daughter wears a ton of Persnickety clothing, but I buy them at a sample sale once a year, and I pay about 80% less than if I purchased them online.
6. Cut Back on Groceries
This is a huge topic-all on its own. I don’t use fancy apps or coupons. I don’t have the time or the patience. I set a budget and stick to it. You found a recipe for Indian food that needs three exciting new spices and two fancy curry pastes? Too bad. Save it for next time. You already spent your budget. I also only go grocery shopping twice a month. The fewer trips you take, the less money you spend. Pretty simple. I do make simple, inexpensive meals. I don’t buy crackers, soda, chips, and cereal because it’s expensive and my kids eat it in one day. We do a lot of egg dishes, whole grain pancakes and waffles, as well as meals made with corn tortillas (mini pizzas, street tacos) that are super inexpensive. Soups and whole grain pasta dishes are also healthy and budget friendly. I don’t skimp on protein though. I buy whatever meat is on sale and freeze it until I need to use it for meals during the two weeks. In addition, I make pancakes or homemade muffins with peanut butter to amp up our protein intake. I was able to shave off about $100 a month. We pulled that out in cash and stuck it right into our trip fund.
The Bottom line is this: It has to be a priority. You have to really want to travel. If you truly do, you will find a way.