A new year brings a new savings plan and goals for my family.
My husband and I have chosen to make travel a priority – planning at least one big trip and several road trips throughout the year. We have had to make sacrifices in many areas of our lives to make these trips possible – the “money doesn’t grow on trees, Cheryl” that I heard all throughout my childhood is actually true!
Here are some ways we save for travel (or any big purchases, really):
1. Automatic Deposits into a High Interest Savings Account
We have a high interest savings account specifically for travel. A portion of our paycheques gets deposited into it every time my husband or I get paid. We’ve adopted the set it and forget it mentality and it really works for us. If we don’t see the money, we won’t spend it.
2. Use Credit Cards with Rewards
All of our credit cards have some sort of reward attached to them – either cash back , free rooms or free flights. While we don’t go on shopping sprees just to collect points, we do use them for everyday purchases (gas, groceries, morning coffees etc) to maximize the rewards.
3. Learn to be a Savvy Shopper
While we are not extreme couponers, we are savvy shoppers. We check the flyers, read forums and compare prices before making any big purchases. We rarely buy things at full price but if we have to (ie. gas, medecine) we are using a credit card that will either give us cash back or collect points for a travel related reward.
We book our trips last minute or during special promotional periods to save money.
4. Stop Buying Stuff
Sounds easy to do but takes a lot of self control when you’re used to having the latest and greatest things – gadgets, clothes, cars, toys etc. This probably took us the most time to learn and get used to.
Before kids we were eating out several times a week, buying new tech toys whenever we felt like it.
After having kids, we learned to live on less. To have and be grateful for “enough”. Our cars were purchased second hand, we don’t have the latest and greatest cellphones anymore, and we limit how much we go out to eat. We have learned to differentiate between our must haves and our nice to haves.
Learning to reduce daily expenses, live simply and making smart shopping decisions have made many of our travel goals a reality. Saving money is NOT easy. We’re constantly learning how to live on less and get the most for our money.
Do you have any tips on how you save money for the “big stuff”?