Friday, February 18, 2011

3 Strategies We Use To Help Pay For Vacations

I love to go places and see things. It doesn't have to be exotic just new. We have always tried to do at least one family trip a year. A couple have been big - Disneyland, Cancun and our upcoming Caribbean Cruise - but mostly we keep it simple. Just exploring and being together. Even simple can get expensive though. Here are the top 3 things we do to help us pay for our vacations.

1. Start a money jar. We have had one of these little babies going since our kids were little. I never spend change. Ever. Any time anyone has some change,  it goes into the "Vacation Jar". It's amazing how quickly a nickle here and a quarter there add up. We usually get a couple hundred dollars a year this way.

2. Use your credit card. But, not in the way you would think. Another huge never for us is a balance on the credit card. If we can't afford it we don't buy it. Period. However, we put A LOT of things on our credit card. Especially the big purchases. I always pay off the card every Friday when I pay my bills. We never have to pay the high credit card interest rates, but we get benefits. Many credit cards will also give you double bonus if you use your card to buy groceries and gas. You are buying it anyway, so put it on the card, pay it off on Friday so you don't have interest to pay, and get the rewards. We cash those rewards in every year and get another couple hundred dollars that way.

3. Open a vacations savings account. We have a separate savings account that is strictly for vacations. Any extra money we get for something goes in there. When the vacation jar gets full, it goes in there. Most paychecks get a little skim off the top to go in there. You will receive interest on your vacation money as well. Keeping the money in a separate account helps to keep it "out of site out of mind". If it's with the rest of your money it's too easy to spend on other things. If it's in it's own account you will think twice before spending it. Only in emergencies do we pull out of this account.

These ideas of course will not get you to Hawaii on their own, but it will definitely get you started. We have actually payed for entire trips to the Oregon coast before with just these three strategies, and they have helped us to pay for our larger vacations that we might not have been able to do otherwise.

Family vacations, in my book, are a very important part of having a strong unified family. A place for you to just be together as a family with no outside distractions. No friends, no school, no work. Just you and the adventure you are on.


  1. These are really great ideas! Weldon and I actually have a change jar too that we cash in every year to do something fun. A couple weeks ago we discovered we had over 300 dollars in change. We used it for our anniversary and spent the night at an awesome place with theme rooms called the anniversary inn. It was SO fun to to go dinner and get the room and buy a few other fun things for ourselves and not even feel one bit of guilt about it! We may have to add your other 2 ideas to our strategy.

  2. Isn't it amazing how fast that change ads up? I am not kidding when I say we have paid for an entire trip to Seaside before. And, I love it when you get a "guilt free" vacation!! That's the best!