If a payment ends, keep making it — to yourself! For instance, if you pay off a car or a credit card, keep making that payment, but instead write the check to yourself and deposit it into your vacation savings account.
Make a rule that “found” money goes in the vacation fund. For instance, if you get a rebate, tax refund, gift check or work bonus, deposit it in the vacation account.
Give yourself an allowance for cash expenditures (i.e. groceries, gas, meals out, entertainment, etc.) and make a game of seeing how much of your allowance you can NOT spend. Anything left over at the end of the week (or month) goes into the vacation fund.
- If you hit the Starbucks every morning, buy a travel mug and some fancy flavored cream (Gingerbread Latte is out y’all!!) and make it at home instead.
- If you usually eat out for lunch, try bringing lunch from home at least 2 or 3 days a week. It really is easy to take a few extra minutes to make a sandwich!
- Bring a snack from home instead of hitting the vending machines.
- Eat out less. Face it, cooking every night can be tiring and a drag, and that leads to eating out, which is much more expensive. So find a way to avoid this. Think up something you can make in the crockpot one night a week instead of getting takeout. Or turn cooking into a fun project once a week — for instance, make a pizza with the kids instead of ordering one.
- Spend less on entertainment. Borrow videos from your public library instead of the video store: most public libraries offer this service for little or no cost. Instead of going to the movies, check the newspaper for free local family entertainment and events, or have a family game night.
- Have a “vacation fund” Yard sale. Take children’s clothes, baby stuff, and toys to a consignment shop. Sell unwanted books, CDs, movies and collectibles you no longer want on Craigslist. You’d be amazed at what your old stuff may bring. Don’t assume no one wants it. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure….
- Shop around on your insurance at least once a year. It’s remarkable how much you can save. Rates for an identical auto insurance policy can vary from one company to another by as much as 100%!
- Evaluate your spending on cable television and telephone services. Maybe you don’t really need extended cable or call waiting. Maybe you can eliminate a home phone, if you have a cell phone. And speaking of cell phones, see if there’s a better plan for you, that fits your usage patterns at a lower cost.
- Get everyone to turn out the lights when no one is in the room, and turn off TVs and computer equipment when they’re not in use. Fix dripping faucets and leaking toilets. These measures may only save you a buck or two a month on your utility bills, but it all adds up.
- Re-evaluate gift-giving. Do you have a long list of friends and relatives with whom you exchange “duty” gifts that no one really wants? Maybe the time has come to speak up. You might be surprised at how relieved everyone would be to stop the seemingly endless cycle of unwanted gift-giving. Maybe everyone would rather put the money toward a family reunion at Disney??? Perhaps you can just start exchanging greeting cards. Or you might prefer to institute a gift exchange (each person draws one name) or switch to “gifts of love” (give each other certificates for homemade meals, car washes, and other kind gestures that cost you nothing but your time and effort). Or set a low dollar limit on gifts and see how creative you can get.
And here are even more great money saving tips!