Guest post from Alicia of Turquoise Grace:
Are you living on a bare-bones budget, but wish you could afford to take your family on vacation?
If so, you’re not alone.
For my husband and I, we recently decided that we would like to prioritize traveling for our single-income family of 6. Some people think we’re crazy. The stress, the added costs, the sheer exhaustion – all while traveling with a brood of boys – it just doesn’t make sense.
But we have our reasons. We think it’s important.
While there are plenty of articles out there with ideas on how to save money on traveling or how to take budget-friendly family vacations, this isn’t one of them.
You see, I’m writing for those of us who don’t have any wiggle room. Who desperately want to travel with their family, but can barely make ends meet. The ones for whom it’s not a matter of saving money on travel, but simply being able to travel at all.
I realize if you’re in this position, some of these tips might not be the most sound financial advice. But when we’re prioritizing travel without a travel budget, we must get creative! At the end of your life, what’s most important to you? If it’s not traveling with your family, this may not apply. But if it is, then read on…
Why do we travel with our family when we can barely afford it?
We have 4 children and our finances are very tight pretty, no matter what we do. It makes logical sense to tighten the purse strings, put our heads down, fight the uphill battle that is stretching a budget three ways to Sunday, and never look back.
But that often leads to one thing – burnout. And when burnout sets in, despite our best efforts, it’s really hard to make forward progress.
Everyone eventually needs a break. So instead of waiting until we hit rock bottom, we head it off at the pass, and plan breaks with our family throughout the year.
We feel that traveling with our family creates invaluable memories that will last a lifetime.
Sharing unique memories create a bonding experience which deepens relationships.
Deeper relationships with your kids foster greater mutual trust and respect for years to come.
Now that we’ve established why traveling as a family is important for us, let’s take a look at some ways that we can make it happen.
1. Use a portion of your tax return.
Your yearly tax return just might be the perfect opportunity to set aside some money for vacation plans.
Yes, there is most likely something more pressing to put a chunk of money towards; however if traveling is important to your family, and this is the only time you receive a chunk of unbudgeted money, a family vacation might be just what you need.
2. Budget a little bit from each paycheck.
Even if all you can manage is $5 per paycheck, that’s better than nothing! After a year of setting aside $10/month, you could easily have enough to pay for gas for a short family road trip!
3. Use a coin jar throughout the year.
We primarily use cash. Because of this, we have a lot of loose change!
Instead of spending our change on a weekly coffee or some other habit, we designate a Coin Jar to hold any and all loose accumulated change.
We take a family road trip every summer. Throughout the year we add our change to our communal change jar. Believe it or not, by the time our road trip comes around, we usually have enough money to cover our gas expenses for the entire trip!
It’s an easy thing to do that doesn’t require much thought, and generally adds up quickly!
4. Host a garage sale.
Another idea to earn some fast cash is to organize a yearly garage sale. Not only will this help you purge a year’s worth of accumulated clutter, but whatever proceeds earned can be designated to your family vacation fund.
These tips are simple, easy, and quick to set up — which is exactly the point!
If you don’t have wiggle room in your budget for anything except the bare necessities, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to fund a vacation budget. But I believe bonding as a family is THIS important! Don’t let your budget (or lack of!) stop you from getting creative!
If you truly believe in the importance of creating lifelong family memories and bonding experiences by traveling together as a family, consider implementing some of these tips throughout the year to help make it happen.
What tips do you have to help fund a family vacation on a bare-bones budget?
Alicia is a firm believer in family travel, a good cup of coffee, and raising her four boys to become strong Godly men. You can find her at Turquoise Grace, blogging about all things raising boys with a coffee mug in hand, a baby in her lap, and a pile of laundry at her feet.