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Financing a Vacation – Contest Giveaway

Financing a family vacation can be difficult. You know where you want to go but you just don’t know how you’ll get there.

The average American family spends around $2500 per year on a vacation. Readers might guess that vacation spending would be down, with the economic “turndown” and an increase in cost of basic items like groceries and gas, but this isn’t the case. It seems as if consumers are putting more value on their vacation time, and according to the Travel Industry of America’s annual forecast, travel spending in the U.S. will increase 5 percent this year.

I don’t know about you guys, but my family saves up for our annual vacation in a variety of ways.

Save your change. Each of us has our own container where we place our loose change at the end of the day. This is a great way for the kids to save spending money. All those quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies can really add up. Last year we were able to save around $350 in total.

Have a garage or rummage sale. Once a year, my neighbors and I get together for a multi-family garage sale. We are usually able to earn about $400 per family by the end of the day.

Cut back on unnecessary spending. Our family used to eat out at least once per week. We’ve cut the eating out by 25 percent and are able to put aside at least $75 per month towards our family trip. That’s a savings of $900 per year!

Open a vacation savings account. I’m able to have my bank deduct $50 per paycheck and place in a saving account just for vacations. With my contribution alone, that gives our family another $1200 towards our travels.

Use SmartyPig to save. This company allows consumers to open an interest-earning account with a minimal deposit of $25. Your friends and relatives can even deposit money towards the goals you list with the account. Sounds like a simple, smart, savings plan.

So how does the average family finance a vacation? This is where you, our readers come in. Leave us a comment on how you finance your vacation.


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  1. I help save by vacation while getting healthy at the same time. For every mile I walk or run on the treadmill, $1 goes in our vacation fund. It adds up by the time vacation rolls around.

  2. We don’t usually vacation often, but we do like to save change to go towards vacation. Also like to put aside some of our tax refunds for vacations.

  3. We always save our change, and are surprised at how quickly it adds up. We also try to cut back on nonessentials so we can add more to our vacation fund.

    guysrose at aol dot com

  4. Substitute something less expensive for a recurring expense you have now and force yourself to put all the money saved each time into a savings account (then pretend the account doesn’t even exist until it’s time to pay for a vacation). For example, pay to download the only song you like on an album instead of going to the mall every weekend to buy a whole CD, and a bunch of other junk while you’re there.

  5. We used to charge our vacations and worry about paying it off later. However we carried the debt around for years. Now we save up the money and pay for the whole vacation in cash. Granted it’s been 5 years since we last took a vacation so it’s painful but we’ve had enough of debt. We’ve got a vacation on the books for this fall finally!

  6. Finding the cheapest flight and hotel is the best way to stretch your vacation budget- and ebaying unnecessary things for pocket money helps too.

  7. Well, we travel when we can. That means some years we take trips and some we don’t. Last year, I made an estimate of how much I would have to pay in taxes and I save that for the year. It ended up that I had a refund so we used the refund + savings to take a trip!

  8. I keep a change jar for all my coins plus everytime I get a ten-dollar bill I stuff that in the jar too. I find that when I am paying for things, I try to make sure that I will get a $10 just so that I can put away more money!

  9. We save our change and always put alittle extra from our paycheck into an account for vacation.

  10. We save an amount of money each month and we keep our change in a big jar! Thanks for the great give away!

  11. My daughter and I have no way to finance a trip but with your help maybe we can. I live check to check and she is paying for college. When my daughter was 5 my parents took her from me because I was an alcholic. I moved to florida 4/4/2007, the day my daughter turned 19, with 10 1/2 years sobriety, my car payed off and money saved for the move after working 2 and 3 jobs for years. If I am confindent enough to do that I’m sure confident enough to wear pink. Me and my daughter really need this trip together to catch up on all the years we missed of each others lives.

  12. We save our money like a weekly allowance, but put it in our PayPal account to accrue a little interest at the same time. And, we don’t spend our change, we just save it for our end of the year count up. It’s amazing how fast everything adds up nicely.

  13. About once every couple months, I go through all of my family’s things. If there is anything we no longer want or need and it is worth something, I put it on Craigs List and save the money I earn from that for vacation.

  14. We do really well at saving for retirement and for our son’s college… but when it comes to vacations we just never seem to stash anything away. So when our tax return comes we use that to finance our vacation. Big return = big vacation (or possibly 2) and little return = small vacation.

  15. I have done several things since we want to travel regularly.

    – I start using coupon for grocery shopping and am able to cut it down 50%
    – Save the tax refund
    – Will save the stimulus tax rebate
    – Cut on eating out
    – Start making homemade breakfast instead of frozen pancake/waffle.
    – Sell stuffs on ebay and craigslist
    – Look for way to entertain my kids for free. Check out my latest blog on free admission to children’s museum.

  16. I enter sweepstakes and hope to win a trip. If I don’t win, we don’t go. if I happen to get lucky, we have a vacation. I’m wat over due to win!

  17. We put the change in a piggy bank at the end of the day. About once a month we wrap it and take it to the boys savings account.

  18. After spending 11 years as a stay-at-home mom, I returned to work part-time. I work those hours that my 2 kids are in school. Half of my small paycheck goes into savings and the other half for vacations — we’ve had really great vacations these last 2 years!

  19. We are very frugal, and rarely buy new clothes, household furninshings, etc. The money we would have spent on those things goes into our savings account.

  20. I try to put aside $25 a week toward a vacation. I try to get rid of any unnecessary items in our household on the local tv classified websites.

  21. i just save a certain amount each payday depending on the cost of the vacation.

  22. We have an annual garage sale. The money we make is what we use to budget our vacation with.

  23. Use airline miles from our credit cards and include a certian amount in our budget monthly

  24. I use coupons whenever I can. After I’ve saved money from the trip to the store, restaurant, etc., I put the savings aside. This has allowed us to save money for many things including vacations. Thank you for the contest!

  25. I really need to stay on a budget. Smarty pig seems like just what I need to keep on task when saving for a vacation

  26. We have nothing else to “give-up”. Therefore, no vacation this year, unless, amazing good fortune comes my way!

  27. We only take one vacation a year, and we save for it all year long. A little from each paycheck, a little from the tax refund, and a little from selling stuff on eBay. One week a year of not here, it is worth anything to make sure it happens.

  28. We usually just either use our tax refund to finance a small vacation or put everything on a credit card and pay it back in a couple of months.

  29. Everyone in the family tries to put aside a minimum every paycheck or allowance that they receive.

  30. I want to go to Australia, but I am afraid to spend the money……but you cannot take it with you and I am 68!

    If I should win, however, I would start a savings account for my first grandchild who is expected in the last of May!

  31. My bank drafts $1 for every debit card transaction and it goes into a separate account. Sort of like a xmas fund

  32. We save all of our change and also partition some of our tax return for vacations.

  33. It’s like everything else. You have to begin to budget. I plan a year ahead of time and decide how much I need to put away each week to meet our goals

  34. We live on one income and any other income that comes in (from garage sales, ebay sales, refunds, rebates, etc.) is saved. That eventually grows large enough to use as a vacation fund.

  35. I cut coupons and answer surverys and with that money I can usually save enough over a years time to afford a small vacation for the family.

  36. Very simply we save all aluminum products and put in a special bank; we take income tax if any refund and apply to family trip; then any change from paper money/coin change go in aspecial container in each of our two vehicles. Thanks, it really all adds up.

  37. I save all of our change and on occasion I put evxtra money I get from selling things on ebay into our savings.

  38. I use coupons and always try to buy items that are on sale or clearance, so I put all the extra money we are saving into our savings account.

  39. We used to vacation while visiting family or friends and stayed with them to save money.

  40. We save all of our change through the year to help pay for the yearly family vacation. It really adds up fast! ~ 🙂

  41. We have a piggy bank which has a sign on it saying “this little piggy went to..” we fill in the sentence with the place we want to go on our vacation. Everytime I save money on our food budget I put the saved money inside. I also put any extra we have at the end of the month. Our children put a portion of their allowances in the pig and they all get a little money from neighbors for mowing lawns, taking trash bins to the curb etc. They put a portion of that inside the pig as well. When the pig is full we buy travelers checks and put them aside and fill up the pig again till we have enough money. Everyone loves taking part in this as we all know everyone pitched in to make it happen and so it truly is a family vacation! We start in Jan so we have enough come summer.

  42. We take advantage of famiy memberships at children’s museums and zoos. Often the cost of membership is paid off after two family visits; so in addition to enjoying local day trips throughout the year, which feel like “mini-vacations,” we also get free admission to other museums and zoos across the country when we travel. At the same time we’re contributing to these important not-for-profit organizations — and a portion of our membership is tax-deductible!

  43. We usually visit family so we can avoid hotel or motel bills, travel during the off season to get better airline rates and only buy what we absolutely need the rest of the year to save money.

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