How to Set Aside Family Vacation Money on a Limited Budget


Many of us are seduced by that middle-class family image. You know the one we’re talking about. A happy mom and dad with two happy children. A few nice things in the house, but nothing over the top. Enough money to put most of the things on your child’s wishlist under the tree on Christmas.

That image also usually includes family vacations. Most of us would love to take our kids to Disney World or Disneyland every year, and let them experience the “Magic” of those places.

The reality is that today’s middle class families are on a tight budget. You’re probably not going to be able to make yearly ventures to see Mickey and friends. However, if you learn to set aside some vacation money, you might be able to go every two or three years.

Here are some ways to set aside vacation money for your family when you’re on a limited budget:

  • Plan for the long haul. The first thing you need to do is come to grips with the reality of your situation. It’s more important to buy groceries than it is to see the Grand Canyon. However, if you do it a little bit at a time, you can make your vacation dreams come true. Just don’t expect it to happen fast. You need to be patient.
  • Get rid of debt when you can. If you’re paying $100 a month in interest on credit cards, that’s $100 you could be putting toward your vacation. Pay down your debt using the snowball method. In this method, you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. When you’ve paid that off, you apply the payment that was going to that debt to the next-highest interest rate and so on.
  • Figure out what you can reasonably afford to set aside. $5 a week isn’t much, but over the course of five years it could take a family of 4 on a pretty nice vacation. If you can afford to set aside more than that, do so, but start with even just a little bit.

So, what about you? What techniques do you use to save up for your family’s vacations?

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