Summer is finally here! You’re probably daydreaming about road trips, cruises and sandy beaches. If you haven’t already started saving up for your next vacation, now is the time to start! With a little imagination, you can beef up your bank account and be ready to hit the road or beach in no time, without your bank account going into the negatives.
Here are 6 of our top tips to help you save up for your next vacation:
1. Open Up a Dedicated Vacation Bank Account
We recently asked our TurboTax users for their best money-saving tips. Users Sheerin James, Lisa Bosher and Catherine Reynolds all suggested saving at least $20 per week in a savings account. Great tip!
One easy way to save for a special trip is to take the amount you can save each week and put it into a dedicated vacation savings account. You can set up automatic payments, and, with a little intervention, leave that money there until it’s time for your trip.
If you choose an interest-bearing account, your money might even grow while you’re looking forward to your trip. We suggest opening a TFSA or Mutual Fund TFSA account – that way your money will earn some interest and you’ll be less likely to withdraw the money.
Once you’re on your way, you can use this same account to track how much you’ve spent on your vacation.
2. Slash Your Food Budget
For so many households — especially those with little ones or teenagers running around — food can be a huge expense. Cut back a little bit on the extras and in no time, you’ll notice you’ve got some extra cash to put toward your getaway.
Save money by buying in bulk from stores like Costco or shopping at your local farmers market or flea market. You could even grow a fruit and vegetable garden in your backyard with your kids!
Saving for a vacation is a great excuse to cut out unnecessary items like pop and sugary treats. Keeping them out of your grocery cart while you’re saving for your vacation helps your family get healthy and keeps more money in your bank account!
3. Get Your Credit Card Working for You
Consider using a credit card that accumulates Air miles or Aeroplan miles for all of your regular expenditures throughout the year. Come vacation time, you could be flying for free!
You can also earn tons of frequent flier miles without signing up for a credit card by shopping online, eating out, taking surveys and other methods.
Another option to consider is credit-card sign-up bonuses. There are some credit cards that give you thousands of free miles just for signing up!
4. Sell Some of That Unwanted Stuff
If you love to vacation, you know that life is about experiences, not material things. Especially when your unused stuff can put some cash in your pocket.
Try selling some of your clothes, purses or shoes to consignment stores, or even electronics you don’t use anymore, on sites like Kijijji or eBay. Check your garage too—you never know, there may be some hidden treasures there that could make you some quick bucks in a garage sale.
5. Get Yourself a Side Gig
Sure, you may need to work a little bit harder now, but think about all the fun you’ll be having on your stress-free vacation that’s already paid for.
Look for ways to earn extra money outside your regular job. You could try something traditional, like babysitting, or something a bit less orthodox… Some people clean headstones and stand in line for tickets for some extra cash! The sky is the limit for odd, side jobs that help bring you one step closer to affording your dream getaway.
Barry Choi was able to save an extra $20,000 over the years , not just for a vacation but also enough for a downpayment for a house, by freelance writing!
Consider short-term work opportunities related to the season. During the winter season, many retail employers look for seasonal workers to help with the holiday rush. During the spring and summer, look for businesses that need extra help, like landscaping companies.
Try out the sharing economy. Why not use your car for a little extra income? Earn some extra cash by driving with Uber. Or, maybe rent your home out. As an Airbnb host, you can make money while you’re away on that vacation you’ve been saving for!
Working these side jobs may mean sacrificing your weekends for a while, but it will help make your vacation dream a reality.
6. Use Your Tax Refund as a Vacation Fund
If you don’t owe the government any money you could get a good chunk of money back come tax season. According to the CRA, 69% of early tax filers will be receiving an average refund of $1,706. That’s a great amount of money to put towards your next vacation!