We travel to see the world, to experience new cultures and to eat great food. Of course we also want to share those adventures with our kids. Family travel is a fantastic way to teach kids about the world beyond their front door. But travel can be pricey. We share 15 easy ways to save money for a family vacation. Get the whole family involved!
15 Easy Ways to Save Money
Track Your Spending to Find Ways to Save Money.
One Thing Not to Scrimp On: Travel Insurance.
Your motivation for reading this article may be to save money overall or to save money for a specific bucket list trip. We all have our own reasons to travel and our destinations or priorities on what we spend on may be different. I’ll tell you one thing that is universal: Don’t scrimp on travel insurance.
If you save money for a great vacation and then hit delays, cancellations, storms or other snags, your savings was for nothing if your trip isn’t protected by travel insurance. We can hope and pray that an airline or hotel will “do the right thing,” but they may not. Who wants to be sitting at an airport with a bunch of disappointed kids trying to duke it out with an overseas hotel that you now can’t get to.
Buy travel insurance. Let them get your money back for you. Then you take that money and set it aside in a savings account for your next vacation.
For the last two years we’ve purchased an Allianz annual family policy. It covers myself, my husband and our four kids. My 14 year old travels as an unaccompanied minor regularly and the policy gives me peace of mind. When my father-in-law was hospitalized with leukemia 2 weeks before my husband was supposed to fly to Iceland, we were able to get a full refund on the flights. As someone with anxiety, travel insurance gives me room to breathe and roll with whatever life throws at us.
Why am I mentioning travel insurance as one of my first tips? For most policies to cover your trip, they need to be in place before you book or within 7 days of payment. Keep this at the top of mind when you save and plan to buy travel insurance first.
Read More: Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
Learn More: What Does Travel Insurance Cover? 8 Surprising Things It Includes!
Earn Money Doing Everyday Shopping.
Here’s a quick rundown on some of the apps that you can sign up for to save travel spending money:
Round Up Your Regular Purchases.
Tighten Up Your Grocery Budget.
- Meal planning. Having a weekly or monthly meal plan will help you to overlap ingredients and cut down on food waste.
- Low-cost meals. Examining the cost per meal can help you to slim up your grocery store spending. Lower cost meals that include pasta, quinoa, or rice with less protein can free up extra money to go to vacation savings. Suddenly, that $10 pack of chicken is making 4 meals instead of 2.
- Buy in bulk. Single use items like school snacks for kids cost more when packaged individually. We purchase these reusable pouches and use them for applesauce and yogurt in lunches.
- Go generic. Taste test some store brands vs. name brands and see if there are lower cost options you can work into your pantry.
- Make your own. You would be surprised at how easy it is to make some basics like bread and yogurt. For us the cost savings on these two items we burn through was mind boggling. I can make bread for 53 cents a loaf and yogurt at less than $2 for 5 quarts.
Pack Your Lunch.
Going right along with cutting your grocery bill is the idea of brown bagging it. Money spent eating out can add up, even beverages. Grab a reusable water bottle and think about eating leftovers if you can. The money savings can really add up.
Give Purchases a Waiting Period.
Cut unnecessary spending by imposing a waiting period on any purchases. You may feel like you need a new jacket or pair of sneakers but after waiting 7 days or 14 days you may find they are no longer necessary. Teaching kids how to delay spending gratification is a great way to make sure that they start off their financial life on the right foot. Most kids today can navigate the internet better than their parents. Assign them the task of looking for the cheapest price online. Have them watch Ebates for the highest cash back offers.
Make Your Bank Work for You.
Look into an online bank. Online banks tend to have lower overall expenses enabling them to offer higher interest rates and high-interest savings accounts. To level up on this? Find a bank that offers Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). Starting retirement accounts early in life can set you up for a life of travel once you retire. If you are even remotely internet savvy look into it!
Shop for Lower Rates on Home Insurance, Life Insurance and Car Insurance.
Many of us have regular bills that we pay. With insurance on multiple items in our lives we want to make sure we both cover everything but don’t overpay. Shopping around for better rates on car insurance, life insurance and home or renter’s insurance is a great way to free up extra money to go to vacation savings.
We had what I considered to be fairly low car insurance payments but after using a comparison tool we lowered our annual bill by more than $1000! None of our deductibles or coverages changed at all. Allit took was two hours on our cell phones to find a cheaper company. We used Qapital to set up automatic transfers of the money we saved into a special vacation savings checking account.
TravelingMom Tip: Don’t want another monthly payment? Look at paying annually. Many companies offer a significant savings if you pay your bill one time instead of splitting it into installments.
Sell Things You Don’t Use.
Get the Kids Involved.
Cut the Cable (or Trim It Down).
If you have cable you may feel like your cable bill is unreasonable. Many times we’re drawn in with special offers that end over time, leaving you with an inflated bill. Look over your bill carefully and see what you’re actually paying for. Eliminate channels or downgrade your plan if you aren’t using it. Some families choose to cut cable entirely and use internet-based servcies such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu or Roku for their viewing needs.
Don’t Buy, Borrow or Trade.
Get in the habit of borrowing items and using local resources instead of buying things. My kids burn through books like they’re going out of style. I want to encourage their love of reading but buying new books constantly is a hit on my wallet. We go to our local library to borrow books, they trade with friends and we resell to our local book store to earn credit towards more books. Local libraries often offer discounted passes to local museums as well. Want to save money near you? Check out our Free Things To Do in the 50 States section!
The same goes for tools you might need to get a job done. Don’t own a drill? Did you know there are tool lending libraries? Also, if you don’t have a new car and your ride needs some work, you can often borrow loaner tools from auto shops! There are kits available for chassis, exhaust, heating and cooling and more.
Do something for the environment and your wallet at the same time. Investing in small changes around your home like a programmable thermostat or energy friendly light bulbs can pay off. These are great projects to involve your kids in. They can count light bulbs, look for deals on Ebates (Jet.com is a great place to start), and help program your new thermostat from your smart phone. For many homes 5% of your energy costs can be lights, so change those bulbs and shut them off when not in use.