As an English woman living in the United States, visiting family and friends in the United Kingdom is of the utmost importance. In order to do this I have to save up enough money to make each trip happen.
In November 2013, I visited London with my friend, my daughter, and her boyfriend. It was a wonderful experience to visit the amazing sights, and see London through fresh eyes. Of course, the trip was not free, and it took a long time to save for it. Here is how I did it.
A Savings Account.
The truth is, most people have bank accounts – we may not have much in them, but we do have them. Linked to these accounts is normally a savings account, and often these are over-looked.
Use your savings account. I can’t emphasize this enough. Put something away every time you get paid. I started doing this the moment I knew I wanted to go away, and it helped me in a couple of ways:
1. It gave me the discipline to not over-spend as I was constantly thinking about my trip and its cost.
2. It kept me in the correct frugal mindset.
Choose of Bank.
If you don’t already have one, set up a credit union account, I saved a lot just by not paying the big bank charges.
Save Your Coins.
This may sound very simple; however, dropping all your loose change in a special box every day can save you a pretty penny. In September 2012 my family diligently put every bit of change in a box, and by September 2013 I had $500!
Forgo The Small Trips.
This was hard for me as I have kids and they desperately wanted to go away in the school breaks. Instead of leaving the money that we would have spent in the regular checking account, I transferred it into the savings account. This way, the money didn’t get spent on anything else, and was sitting there nicely when the time came to buy our tickets.
Use Your Discount Cards and Coupons.
Most of us shop at stores that have discount cards and coupons. Last year I made sure to use my store card points whenever I bought gas. By doing this I often saved around $12 per purchase which I immediately put into my savings account. I did the same with money – off store coupons.
Forgo An Expensive Habit.
We all have habits, and some of them cost money. I have a habit of buying books every time I leave the house, even if I’m just going for a carton of milk. Last year every time I saw a book that tempted me, I noted its price and refused to buy it, and yes, I put what I had saved into the saving account. What ever your habit is, if you do the same, your money will grow.
Good luck with your big trip, hopefully you will have found some helpful tips on how to save for it.