Between paying bills, day-to-day expenses and all the unexpected costs that pile up, saving money can be a struggle for families of any size. Saving for a vacation often gets pushed to the side for “more important” expenses, but with a few budget-savvy steps, you can put money away for now and later.
Use some much-needed vacation time as motivation to beef up your money saving efforts with these easy moves.
Be proactive in your savings and clean out your closet (and your kids’ old clothing) at the same time. Gather up your uses or unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories and more for a consignment shop like Greene Street or Plato’s Closet — these shops take seasonal-forward clothing with little to no damage, but also give greater payouts for men’s clothing.
If you don’t have a local store, try Poshmark, eBay and other online hubs. Make cash and declutter in one easy step.
Same goes for tech. If you have old phones, tablets, videogames, CDs and tapes, chances are there is a BestBuy or local CD swap store near you: If not, there is always Facebook Marketplace and eBay. You will have selling power and price control, but the less desirable task of packing and shipping.
The family has to eat, but maybe not at such high costs. One easy way to save money is by cooking more and going out less, which most families already know, but there is always wiggle room on food costs.
Just one meal out can run $15–35 a person — put that money toward groceries and you can get a week’s worth of food from a grocery store. Shop savvy at the grocery store by cutting coupons, shopping seasonal local produce, checking out local markets for a better deal and even using frozen vegetables whenever possible — contrary to popular belief, these products can be just as fresh and healthy as the produce aisle, as they were picked and frozen at peak. Peruse sale brands instead of your regular name brands, as generic brands often sell the exact same items at a lower price.
During all this money saving and earning, you may be tempted to put your newfound wealth to another use. Don’t do it! Keep your eye on the prize and set some goals to stay on track.
Start simple with striving to save $10–50 a week and slowly raise that number each week as you get closer to vacation booking. After a month of consistent saving, set a limit for how much you can feasibly spend on the essentials while cutting out frivolous spending for at least two months.
Keeping a tight log of incoming and outgoing money can be a great way to make saving a habit, even when you don’t have the motivation of a family trip on the horizon.
Continuing our story from yesterday (if you missed it, click here), here’s part two on how to make the most of your weekend pioneering, with a closer look at our itinerary for Saturday:
Chances are you know South Beach or have heard about the southernmost section of Miami Beach — 23rd Street to South Pointe Park. It’s the historic Art Deco district with stunning white and pastel buildings lining Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and beyond.
Tucked into the central coast of California is a trail of history waiting to be found by your kids. The Highway 1 Discovery Route through San Luis Obispo County snakes along the winnowy Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1, between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The more than 100 miles of mostly protected coastline begins after a four-hour drive from San Francisco at Ragged Point, or about three hours from Los Angeles at Nipomo. The trail features 10 cities, connected by cliffs, carved by a moody ocean, and a slower pace of life. There are plenty of reasons to stop and walk into the past, preserved by those whose hearts still live there. Nature lovers will linger on the many trails to hike and picnic areas. We drove from Los Angeles with two 9-year-old boys to explore this part of the state.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
Raising a budding Julia Child or Jacques Pépin? Or just looking for a more interactive family activity? Register your family (or kids) for a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America.