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9 Ways to Save Money for a Vacation—Fast

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Everyone loves to go on vacation. Ideally, you’d be saving for a big vacation for six months or more. But what if something pops up on your radar—a family wedding or graduation, or a break from work—or if you just need to get away? How can you save money fast for vacation?

Finding the money in the next few weeks or months won’t be easy, especially if you have a tight budget, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you pull together the cash you need for a fun, relaxing, and memorable getaway.

How Much Should I Put In a Vacation Fund?

First, you need to figure out how much to save for a vacation. According to one study, the average American spends just under $2,000 on a summer vacation. But, the answer for you depends on several factors, including:

  • Where are you going?
  • How will you get there?
  • How long will you stay?
  • Where will you stay?
  • How many people are coming, and will you split the bills?
  • Are there children who need you to pay for their tickets, food, and lodging?

If you’re headed on a road trip and planning to stay with family or go camping, you’ll need to save much less than if you’re flying across the country (or out of the country) and planning a hotel stay with lots of restaurant dining or cooking for yourself in a modest Airbnb.

To figure out how much you should put in a vacation fund, start outlining ideas for your trip and ask the questions above. Make sure to check out prices for lodging, attractions, gas, and plane tickets. Review those expenses and make a goal for how much you need to save.

How to Save for Vacation on a Tight Budget

How can I save money fast for a trip? It won’t be easy to throw together a vacation budget in a few weeks, but if you follow these tips for building up a vacation savings account, you may be able to make your whirlwind dream trip a reality.

1. Sell Big Ticket Items

Do you have anything of value sitting around your house that you never use? A bike, computer, musical instrument, video games, furniture, outgrown children’s toys, etc., are all great examples of items other people may buy from you. Put them up for sale online for a competitive price, and you may find the cash you need will start flowing in. You can even hold a garage sale and invite friends and neighbors to support your vacation plans.

2. Fill Your Piggy Bank

It’s always a good habit to hang onto change from cash transactions. Dimes and nickels can be annoying to carry around, but they add up—especially when you have a lot of money to raise fast, and every last penny counts.

Make yourself a vacation savings account “piggy bank”—a glass jar or plastic baggie will do—and get in the habit of collecting all the change you find in your pockets, purse, wallet, car cup holders, and couch cushions. When your vacation gets closer, take the change to the bank to be counted and deposited.

3. Use Direct Deposit

Many employers that use direct deposit will allow you to divide your paycheck into different accounts. Set up a savings account specifically to save money for travel and send a portion of your paycheck to that account every pay period before you have the chance to spend the money on something else. Just make sure you still have the cash you need to pay for the necessities. You can also set up an automatic transfer from one account to another at your bank.

4. Cut Your Entertainment Budget

Look at your budget and make some temporary cuts to save money. A good place to start is entertainment. Stop eating out (and imagine the amazing meals you’ll treat yourself to on vacation), cancel your Netflix and Hulu accounts, skip happy hour, and attend only free events. You may need to tell friends and family that expensive outings are off the table for you right now.

5. Find Free Resources

You’d be surprised how many free resources are available in your community. Instead of going to the movies or renting a movie online, borrow a DVD from your library. Go for a run outside instead of going to the gym to run on the treadmill, or get creative and use playground equipment to get a workout in. Take your kids to community events or library storytime for free entertainment.

6. Save on Gas

Find ways to save on transportation costs. Carpool to work if you can and split gas money. Bundle trips to save on gas, and walk or ride your bike as much as you can.

7. Pick Up Another Shift

Since you’re cutting back on entertainment, do you have more time to work? Let your supervisor know you’re interested in working more shifts right now. Volunteer to substitute for coworkers. Work overtime, and if you can, pick up a side hustle or freelance project to supplement your income.

8. Raid the Pantry

Cut on grocery and food costs by eating out of your pantry as much as possible. Pick a few days each week to cook with only (or mostly) the staples you have on hand. It can be a fun challenge to see what you come up with for dinner—and it’s totally fine to have PB&J for a few meals.

9. Stay Motivated

Cutting costs is never easy. Focus on why you are making these temporary changes. Print out pictures of your vacation spot, imagine splurging on a great local meal (after a few weeks of PB&J and cereal), and have fun planning where you will go and what you will do on your trip.

Ready for a vacation? Start saving now! These tips for how to save money for travel fast will get you going. If you fall a little short of what you need for your dream vacation, come to Power Finance Texas for a personal loan to help out.