Are you struggling to save for a family holiday? Need a few tricks to help you get there?
A few months ago, I sold a hall table for $40 on Facebook. When the lady arrived to pick it up she gave me a $50 and asked for her change in two $5 notes.
She told me that she takes all her $5 and puts them in a jar. At the end of the year, she cracks open the jar and uses the cash for a family holiday.
Last week, I came across another woman who did the same thing. Each year she uses the money to book a luxury weekend away.
It got me thinking – what is a really easy way to save for a holiday?
Here are a few ideas that could get you a family holiday faster.
Ditch your change
I reduced the size of my wallet so it won’t carry change. Any coins I get, I shove into a jar in the cupboard. At the end of last year, my jar of change netted $362. It’s not much – but it does help. That amount could get you one night in a gorgeous city hotel. Or a few nights budget accommodation.
This is where the $5 note method really boosts your ability to save for a holiday. You don’t miss those $5.
The travel fund
One friend suggested setting up a separate bank account labelled “travel fund”. Each time her pay came in, she took $50 off and sent it to her travel fund. It was a small amount each fortnight that she didn’t really miss. At the end of the year, she had accumulated $1300.
Over the weekend, another friend suggested the “round up” method. She rounds every bill she has to pay up to the nearest $50. Then she transfers the difference into her travel fund. So if you had an electricity bill that was $513, she would pay $513 to the electricity company and $37 into her travel fund.
The tax return method
If you are lucky enough to get a tax return you can use this for travel. One person (who admits they have trouble saving) told us she actually asks her employer to pay more tax that she is due – so she can collect a larger tax return. That way she is forced to save without noticing she is doing it.
Rack up frequent flyer points
You don’t have to fly to accumulate frequent flyer points. Many credit cards have a large sign-up bonus. You can collect up to 115,000 points just by signing up. On average many offer 50,000 points with a smaller annual fee.
Sydney to Fiji return will set you back 36,000 points per person. For a family of four, that means accumulating 144,000 points per year. Sydney to Auckland, Queenstown, Darwin or Uluru are all 18,000 points for a classic reward flight.
The trick is to run most of your household expenses and bills through the credit card and pay the balance off in full every month. You need to be diligent with credit cards to ensure you don’t spend more than you earn. If you can do this, you could could end up with all your flight costs covered.
Qantas frequent flyer points can also be used for hotel bookings. This is great if the destination you choose has cheap flights but more expensive accommodation. Pick a cheaper destination such as the Gold Coast and you can get the flights covered for 16,000 points return.
Sell some old stuff
If your family is anything like mine, you will be accumulating a lot of old stuff. Everything from clothes to old toys and gadgets and old furniture can be sold online to earn you a little more spending money for your holiday. And the best part is that you will have less junk accumulating in cupboards.
Lemonade stalls / busking / dog walking
This is a classic way kids can raise money of their own for a holiday. It doesn’t have to be lemonade – it could be artworks, craft or even practicing a musical instrument. Find your local market or shopping centre and set up a busking station. You’ll be surprised by how much you can earn.
Stop spending for three months
Set yourself a goal to buy nothing new for three months. No coffee, no takeaway, no new clothes. Then take the money you would have spent and put it into your travel fund.
Ditch the school canteen
As parents, we all know how brilliant the canteen is when you can’t be bothered to make another lunch. If you make a commitment to “no canteen for six months”, you will be surprised how much this will save you. Put the cash away each week instead.
Have a goal
One of the biggest tips we found was to set a goal for saving. If you have a set budget in mind, you are more likely to stick to it. Also, once you get close, you will find yourself throwing in extra scraps of money from all different places just to beat that goal.
That goal must be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you will give up.
Work out the budget for your holiday, including flights, accommodation, meals and a fun allowance. Then take that coast and divide it by the number of days or weeks that you have to save.
If you are planning a $10,000 holiday in one year. You will need to save $192 each week to make it happen. That’s $30 a day.
Package it up
One of the best ways to save for a family holiday is not to spend as much on it. Package deals offer huge savings for families. Some family deals allow kids to fly, stay and eat free. Keep an eye out for these on family travel and you can get a family holiday for much cheaper than booking the individual elements yourself.
Be clever with the flights you book. You shouldn’t overpay. If you read our weekly Family Travel flight sale wrap you will get a feel for how much you should be paying for flights. Snap up the sale fares when they happen.
Do you have any tips or tricks for saving for a family holiday? Tell us on our Family Travel Facebook page.