The end of the year is the most important time for you to focus on your family budget.  Between holiday spending and bonuses (or lack thereof, as the case may be this year), December is the right time to sit down and focus on your family budget for the upcoming year.

To do this, you and your spouse should dedicate some time to work on this, without the distraction of kids (my husband and I do our budgeting when our kids are visiting with grandma).  If you want to take a vacation next year with your family, first decide where you want to go.

Next, figure out how much your vacation will cost.  Once you know exactly how much you need to save, you’ll have to figure out where the money is coming from.  You’ll either need to use money from existing savings, a bonus or other lump sum, or from ongoing savings.  If you are using ongoing savings, now is the time to know exactly what you need to save per month (divide the expected cost by the number of months you have to save).  Then, make sure you have incorporated that required savings into your monthly budget.

With a little advance planning now, you’ll be better prepared to meet your vacation goals later!