With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, vacations can get put on the back burner. But getting away is important – and it doesn’t always have to be a dream vacation, even a couple of days away can provide a much-needed reset. Don’t let money be the reason you don’t get a vacation, no matter how small or close to home. Some of my best vacations have been local!
So that you can make that vacation a reality, I’ve compiled a list of a few easy ways to save money.
START TRACKING YOUR SPENDING
This should be your first step. This is by far the best decision I made regarding money. Take a look at your checking/credit accounts and see how much money is coming in and how much money is going out. Little things add up and mindlessly spending is a very easy thing to do. It’ll really be an eye opener! You can track manually or use one of many different apps to do this. Some let you set budgets for different spending types too.
Additionally, write a list of WANTS and NEEDS. Set budgets for your needs. You can either ditch all of your wants completely or set a small stash of money for them (the latter makes budgeting a little more bearable). Then, read over my suggestions on how to save below.
CUT YOUR EVERYDAY SPENDING
- Ditch your daily coffee run and make coffee at home.
- Make your lunch and dinner at home instead of going out to eat.
- Cut out buying alcohol at restaurants/bars.
- Reduce the unnecessary shopping trips (stop going to Target when you’re bored, or don’t walk around the whole store when you went there for just a couple of things).
CUT THE GROCERY BILL
Food is definitely a big expense for a family, but luckily it’s flexible and there are ways to cut it.
- Skip the “fun foods”—you know the ones… cookies, candy, ice cream. Just get the essentials.
- Look for sales and coupons and plan your meals around those items. Give yourself a grocery budget and bring a calculator to keep up with your spending.
- Compare the prices of the usual products you buy with the store brand versions.
- Make simple meals that don’t require a ton of items so you can cut the grocery list.
PAUSE OR CANCEL MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS
Do you NEED StichFix? Ipsy? Netflix AND Hulu?
- Take a look at your monthly subscriptions that automatically get deducted from your credit or bank account. Pause the ones you can go without for a couple of months and cancel the ones you don’t use or want anymore.
SKIP THE PAMPERING
- Hold off on getting your mani/pedi and do your nails at home instead
- Cut the facials and massages for a few months. (This one was very hard for me to do but saved a LOT).
- Cut the clothes and shoe shopping. You have plenty of clothes. You don’t need another pair of shoes. No, you don’t.
SELL YOUR UNUSED STUFF TO MAKE SOME MONEY
You never know what people are looking for. You can clean the house AND make money. Win win.
- Look around the house and haul all of the items you don’t use. If there’s anything of good value in there, throw it up for sale. You might be surprised how much money you can make doing this! (Baby or kid related items almost always go fast too).
DO A MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE
These are fun and add up a lot of money fast!
- Envelope challenge: Label 100 envelopes with the numbers 1 to 100. Then, every day pick a random envelope and put the amount of money written on the envelopes inside of it.
- 30-day necessities only challenge: For 30 days only spend money on bare necessities: bills, gas, groceries, etc. Don’t buy anything that isn’t considered essential.
- Monthly money challenge: Add in a specific amount daily. There are many ways to do this:
- Daily double: Start with $1 then add in double the amount you put in the day before. Day 1: $1. Day 2: $2. Day 3: $4. Day 4: $8. Day 5: $16. Day 6: $32. Day 7: $64. Repeat this for 4 weeks. (Total after 4 weeks is $508.)
- A dollar for the date: Start at the beginning of the month and put in a dollar for whatever the date is. 1st day of the month: $1. 2nd day of the month: $2. 3rd day of the month: $3. Continue for every day of the month. (Depending on the month, total in one month is between $406 and $496.)
LOOK FOR TRAVEL DEALS TO SAVE A TON OF MONEY
The best way to save on travel is to be flexible on when and where.
- Sign up for travel deal newsletters so you know as soon as the deals come out. You can get super cheap tickets to somewhere you’ve been wanting to visit or a hotel steal. Be spontaneous and jump on it!
- Download the Hopper app. Plug in the places you want to go and the time frame and it scans travel sites for the cheapest deals.
CONSIDER A BUDGET OVERHAUL CREATED BY A PROFESSIONAL
- After listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast on my commute for a few months, I loosely followed his step-by-step budget plan. It helped a ton to see how much money was really coming in and going out. There are plenty of other financial professionals (Suze Orman is another one with a huge following) that you can follow and you can go in as far as you want.
You can do one of these budgeting tips or a few of them. Mix it up and do a couple every month. Convince your friends and family to do the same so you all stay accountable. Try to make it fun and while you’re doing it, remember that you’ll be enjoying a vacation soon!
What are your favorite ways to save money? Let me know in the comments!