Today’s post is from guest blogger Patty Moore, from WorkingMotherLife.com. On her blog, she writes about her struggles as a single mom, working over 40 hours a week, balancing work and parenting. Today, she shares with us her tips on how to save for vacation, despite being on a limited budget.
How I Saved for Vacation Despite Living on a Tight Budget
Is it even possible for single parents to put aside money for a vacation?
With hard work and dedication, saving up for a trip with your kids is doable. These tips offer ways that single parents can get creative, making their vacation dreams a reality.
Open Up a Separate Savings Account
The first step to making a vacation happen is to set up a dedicated vacation fund. Having an entirely separate account will not only motivate you to save, but it will also prevent you from dipping into the account for other reasons. When you have a dedicated savings account, you will also stay on budget during your vacation, as this can serve a hard limit on how much you can spend on your trip.
To help boost your savings and allow you to meet your goal, make sure that you choose a bank that has no minimum amount or fees. Also, choosing an account with high interest rates can help you increase your bottom line. After all, every little bit helps!
Next, set up automatic transfers to make sure that you are saving. The automatic transfer may be for a small amount, such as $20 per week, but over time, it will add up. If you saved just $20 per week, in a year, you would have $1,040 — which is a pretty great start for a vacation fund! With an automatic transfer, you won’t have to think about saving and very quickly you’ll get used to that amount coming out of your paycheck or checking account, making it a painless way to save.
Use Technology to Track Expenses
One of the best ways to save when you are on a limited budget is by cutting expenses. However, tracking your expenses can be challenging, particularly when you are a single working parent with limited time.
Fortunately, there are a number of apps that will help you track your expenses, allowing you to see exactly where your money is going each month. Once you have that data, you can see where you can make cuts — and where you can save money. You may realize that your electric bill, dining out, or shopping expenses are too high. If you use technology to track your expenses, you will see patterns that you otherwise might have missed.
Slash Your Budget
Even without tracking your expenses, you likely are aware of a few places where you can make significant cuts to your budget to save money. Perhaps you have been buying too many convenience foods, dining out, or spending too much on cable. These are items that can easily be cut from your budget, allowing you to put that money directly into your vacation fund.
Talk to your kids about ways that they can help you save, such as by packing their lunch (instead of buying one), buying used sports equipment (instead of new equipment), or visiting resale shops (instead of buying new clothes). Each and every penny counts, and if you and your child/children are serious about saving, you’ll soon be planning the vacation of your dreams.
Work Your Side Hustle
As a single parent, you may not have a lot of spare time. But with the little time that you do have, you can put yourself to work, adding more funds to your vacation account.
There are a number of side hustles that you could pick up, such as blogging, photography, or even babysitting neighborhood kids (since you are already watching your own). Think of what skills you have, and then consider whether you can make any extra money by marketing those skills when you aren’t working. It could be as simple as selling crafts on sites like Etsy. If your kids are older, they could pick up jobs as well and contribute to the vacation fund — making this a whole family effort!
Old Fashioned Saving: Change Jars and Yard Sales
Of course, there is something to be said for the way that many of us grew up saving money: by collecting coins in jars and having yard sales. Try putting your spare change into a jar every night.
At the end of a month, roll that change and deposit it in your vacation account. You may have accumulated $100 or more — not bad! You could also consider having a yard sale, selling items you and your kids no longer want or need. This could raise a fair amount of money — all going directly to your vacation funds!
Patty Moore is the voice behind Working Mother Life – a blog about careers, family, personal finances, and balancing being a single mom. When she’s not working, you can find her with her daughter or trying to catch up on some (much-needed) shut-eye. Follow Patty on Twitter @WorkMomLife.
Thank you Patty for giving us a few easy tips on how to budget for vacation. I hope this information helps you to plan that ultimate adventure you’ve been waiting for. Time to start saving!