Family time is important. It’s even more vital in an always on-the-go lifestyle like this one. There are so many options for vacationing, especially as you move around the world, though sometimes the cost can be daunting. A family vacation is not the time to go into debt, but even on a tight budget, you can make a getaway work.
On top of looking for military discounts, try these tips to help you budget for your next family vacation.
1) Use your tax return
The very topic of tax returns can be controversial, but let’s say you fall into the category of enjoying a bonus from Uncle Sam each spring. For most families, this could go a long way to funding an annual family vacation. Consider planning your vacation around your refund so that way you can fully fund it. This may mean that one year you can be more extravagant and another year may be a bit more conservative, which adds to the fun of planning a vacation!
2) Have a “no spend” month
Most people shy away from committing to a full month of no spending, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. A no spend month can be what you want it to be. For example, something as simple as saying you’re not eating out for a month, or it can be as extreme as saying you’re not spending anything extra. Of course, you’ll need to pay your bills and buy necessities, but you can probably find a few hundred dollars to cut from your budget and throw towards your vacation.
3) Sell some things
If you’re Marie Kondo-ing your house, you’ll have tons of stuff to get rid of. Some of those may be worth a few bucks, and if you add that up – well, you’ve got some cash to save for that vacation. Try listing clothes on Poshmark, collectibles on Ebay and larger items on the Facebook Marketplace. Yes, this will take a bit of time to list everything, but if it makes you extra income, it’s definitely worth it. But don’t keep these things around forever – give yourself a deadline to sell them, then donate the items.
4) Do odd jobs
As a busy military family, you probably have tons of extra time (Yes, that’s written in sarcasm font.). You may have some spare time to bring in a little extra, though. And you can enlist the entire family to help. People in your community may be looking for help in a variety of ways. With PCS season on the way, yard work, house cleaning and even helping people move are ways your family could make some extra cash without a lot of commitment. If you have teens, you could organize some date night babysitting and work together to keep some kids one evening. See what your community needs and decide if that is something your family can do to budget for your next vacation.
5) Work the system
There’s something to be said about putting all the discounts and rewards programs together to save some money. Here’s one such example: Buying gift cards from Kroger, on your credit card, to pay for the vacation. Disclaimer: Don’t spend money on your credit card that you cannot pay off right away! Going into debt for a vacation is not a good idea! The savings, however, are in the details. When Kroger offers 4x Fuel Points for gift cards, that’s when you should buy them. Then, you’re looking at extra fuel points (saving money on gas) and cash back on your credit card. Make sure you read all the details and play this very carefully so as not to get hit with any activation fees.
Family vacations are magical, and they are even more fun when you don’t have to spend the whole time worrying about money. Give yourself a budget, work hard to save enough money, and then relax and enjoy.