Here are some fast-track ways to save for your big trip.
1. Start with a spending plan
Decide upfront how much you’ll spend on your vacation. Get specific.
Along with plane tickets (or gas, if you’re driving) and hotel prices, guesstimate costs for meals, souvenirs, and park or museum admissions. Total it all up. If the number sends you into shock, cut back on costs — now, on paper — until you feel comfortable with what you’re spending. If money is really tight, consider a couple of long weekend trips instead of one “dream” vacation this summer.
2. Sacrifice now for fun later
Do you belong to a health club or subscribe to a service (such as cable or satellite TV, a cell phone plan, etc.) that you no longer use, or could easily downgrade?
“Drop the service now and stash the money away for your family’s summer vacation,” says Kim Danger, founder of Mommysavers.com. Also consider cutting back for a few months on nonessentials like kids’ dance lessons, your weekly Pilates classes, your husband’s trips to the batting cage or your family’s monthly movie-rental service.
Remember: You’re just trading today’s fun for the fun you’ll have during your vacation. Move what you normally would have spent on these items into your vacation fund. Ideally, that would be a special savings account or an easy-to-track category within your larger savings account.