My family and I are planning on taking a vacation (our first in more than two years) to Florida and North Carolina later this summer. This is something we’ve been planning for more than a year. However, we almost weren’t able to go.
My wife and I had planned on using our tax return to pay for the trip but, thanks to an unexpected need to replace our furnace earlier this year, we had to dip into that money and that left our vacation fund several hundred dollars short. However, thanks to some careful planning and three easy steps, we were able to find a way to overcome that shortfall by saving more than $700 since January.
The first thing we did was start treating our vacation fund like any other bill. Simply put, we added our vacation fund to our monthly budget and “paid” that bill each time I got a paycheck. The minimum payment is $50 and, by doing this, we will have put aside $650 by the time we leave. The best part was the money didn’t create that much of a budget headache for us. In fact, we’re thinking about leaving it as a household budget item (though we may reduce the amount) even after this vacation is over.
Another thing we did was start saving our aluminum cans. We actually do this already. But, in the past, the money mostly just went toward normal household expenses. Since January, we have been putting the can money aside for this trip and, to date, we have raised $31. Plus, we still have a couple of bags that need to be cashed in (I’m estimating another $10 from those).
The last thing we did was start saving our loose change. This is actually something we’ve done in the past for other trips or luxury items and, once again, it proved to be a good way to raise an unexpected amount of cash. By keeping our loose change from shopping trips along with the coins we find on the ground, we were able to save up close to $40. It’s enough for at least one family dinner and tolls.
By taking these steps, we were able to prevent our emergency furnace replacement from ruining our vacation plans. And, since the steps were so easy, we have every intention of repeating them the next time we are planning a trip and need a little extra money.