Family Travel

5 Ways to Save Money When Planning Your Vacation

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1. Pay with CASH

Since starting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course this year we have learned the importance of spending CASH!  We’ve never been big on using credit cards to fund a vacation, however we have taken money from other budget categories to pay for a vacation in the past. This year we saved money from our tax return and set it aside in a different account.  We also had a huge yard sale last month which we used to help fund our vacation.  For the first time we will be able to go on vacation and come home without any new debt and without messing up our budget!

2. Teach Your Children to Save for Their Vacation

This year we started Claire (4) doing chores. She makes her bed, picks up her toys and helps set the table.  She earns a “commission” for doing her work, if she doesn’t do the work she won’t get paid.  It’s a simple way to instill the value of hard work at an early age. Claire earns about $3 a week for her work. Each week we take 10% to church to give and she has been saving the rest.  Ever since we planned our vacation she has been able to save her money for spending while on vacation.

Our son broke his wrist a few weeks ago and was given some money from his great-grandmother (I guess it was a sympathy gift).  I put that aside for him to use on vacation as well.  I’m not saying we won’t buy our children things while on vacation but it’s a great opportunity to teach our children how to save and then how to spend wisely.  We will probably use their savings at a local penny candy shop or to buy something fun!

3. Vacation With Family or Friends

This year we are vacationing with my in-laws, whom I adore!  Instead of finding separate places to stay we were able to find a 5 bedroom house that has plenty of room so we can each have our own space.  Instead of having only a hotel room or small condo we have a large house with plenty of room.  Also, because we’ll be sharing a house we can share meals together which will save all of us lots of dough!

4. Plan to bring your own food.

Rather than eat out ever-single-night, we plan to eat meals we know we love at ‘home’.  Don’t get me wrong, we will be eating out, but dining out with 2 toddlers every night would be a very expensive nightmare.  By planning 3-4 dinners to eat at the house we will save a significant amount of money.  We make sure to plan simple and quick meals that we know we love.  Here’s an example of what we will be bringing:

Taco Salad – Taco meat pre-made and frozen – lettuce, tomatos etc. could be brought or picked up at a local grocery store.
Grill Night – Burgers and Hotdogs Coleslaw and other sides – This night the men cook!
Pasta Night – We’re just grabbing something at Costco (lasagna, stuffed shells)

5. Find some good deals

We’ve all found Groupon by now, right?  Do you know that there are dozens of other sites just like it?  Each site is different and they cover different cities.  We’re heading to Cape Cod, Massachusettes so I started searching.  I found a bunch of great sites that I’m loving:

Double Take – this is one of my new favorites because they have great local deals near me! Not just the BIG cities! – Another one that has deals in great vacation spots!

Cape Cod Daily Deal – I found this one while searching for deals specific to Cape Cod.  This was the BEST find of them all!  I found them on Facebook and I knew that they weren’t launching their site until June.  I decided to leave them a message on their Facebook wall. I mentioned that I was traveling to Cape Cod soon and would love to know if they were going to launch the site in time so I could grab some deal. Here’s what happened next:


So for leaving a comment on their wall we were given TWO gift cards for local businesses! Who said social media’s not worth the time?  How fun!


Later this week on Another New Season, Fun and Frugal – Frugal Things to do While on Vacation! Be sure to subscribe or stop back to read more!

How do you save money when you go on vacation? Share your tips below in the comments.


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  • Reply
    June 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    I would also suggest to do family activities not just go and get into a place that costs money, that way
    you get to educate your children and to save money, and you become a better parent.

    btw – great post. Simple..and true.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Great stuff!!!! We always trying to bring some food with us instead of eating outside every night! I loved the saving money for the vacation! Thanks!
    Kate from Blog from EX-Singaporeans

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