We talk a lot about budgets and saving here. Well, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin when you want to put aside extra money for a trip, car or house. Luckily, a vacation is more within reach than saving for a house. Here are some really simple ways we have adjusted our daily lives to allow us to save over time.
- Have a set goal. It is really hard to sacrifice lattes and date night for some unknown future reward (at least in my case.) Set a concrete date of when you would like to travel. Go online and research resorts, the parks, anything to get you motivated. Watch videos! Youtube is chock-full of parades, walk-throughs of all the Disney parks, and more. Sometimes we just listen to the background music of Main Street U.S.A or Tomorrowland (check it out here.) Staying motivated will make saving less of a chore and more like a game!
- We eat (and drink) at home. This one is tough I must admit. We live in “Foodtopia,” Asheville NC. So much food everywhere. Great coffee, artisan doughnuts, more tacos than you can shake a stick at. But wow, can it add up quickly! Making food at home is way cheaper and healthier, so we try to stick to that at least 5 days a week. And all coffee, iced tea, cold brew, is made at home. The one area we luck out in is beer. My husband works at a brewery, so he gets freebies. It’s nice.
- Entertainment. Do you have to see that movie in the theaters in 3D or will Redbox suffice? I only see movies that really benefit from a big screen (For example, “The Force Awakens” in 3D changed my life.) There is a $5 movie night at the theater close to us, so if we need to see something, that’s when we do it. Did you know there is a place that will lend you books for free? We love our library, and even check out digital books, magazines and movies! We also realized that Cable TV was a luxury we could do without, and now we stick to HULU and Netflix for much less money per month.
- Use rewards credit cards (wisely!) We use the Disney Chase Signature Visa, which gives 2% back on groceries and gas. You can use the rewards on any Disney purchase including vacations. There are many credit cards that offer reward points, but it only works if you pay off that balance monthly. We use ours like a debit card to pay for daily expenses and then save our rewards for a special “free” treat during the trip.
- Put that change to good use. Any extra change laying around or stray bills found in the wash can all go into a container. Make a fancy label for it if you’re feeling creative. You would be surprised how much you can save with that simple, painless act. We put our “jar money” directly into our vacation account. It’s fun to watch the account grow this way!
Following these tips is a good start to getting that vacation. It’s not always easy, but just keep focused on your goals (we’ll cover ways to stay motivated in a future post) and all the work will be worth it.