"This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. You're gonna have fun, and I'm gonna have fun..." ~National Lampoon's "Vacation"
'Tis the time of the year for family vacations. Most of us are scrambling, trying to find something fun and new to do with our families. Something that will keep the kids entertained and pre-occupied so that the adults may be able to squeeze in one moment of relaxation. Before we can enjoy that time with our families, we must first save, save, save.
The average cost for a vacation for a family of four is roughly $150 a day. If you're adventurous and you want to take a seven-day vacation, it could cost up to $1,050.00; this is according to a Disneyland poll. I know for me this is a lot of money to have to save up especially with all of my other bills that need to be paid monthly. On the bright side I've found many financial institutions have programs to help people reach their savings goal...even for vacations! This has made it easier for me to be able to take that time and be with my family.
One program I am intimately familiar with is BALANCE, a financial fitness program free to our members. Their website is packed full of great resources and tools. One thing in particular they have is a Savings Toolkit which will walk you through step-by-step processes of savings whether it would be short or long term. There are even checklists and also calculators where you can input what you want to save and when you would like to have it saved by and voila – it tells you exactly how much you need to set aside to achieve your goal. I have gone on their website and used some of their tools and it has helped me just even seeing where I can curb some spending (coffee!). BALANCE is my go-to whenever anyone needs some assistance with budgeting. Check it out!
Another program I have seen be very helpful is skip-a-pay. When you are planning a vacation that costs $1,050.00 and you have a $500.00 car payment, it can be overwhelming. What if you had the option to only pay a small fee for that car payment that month? Would you do it? I sure would! Great news – oftentimes there are low fees to skip your monthly payments and I have found most financial institutions – including WSECU – offer a skip-a-pay option. Of course there are qualifications to use these products so check with your financial institution ahead of time to make sure this option is available to you.
Taking advantage of these products and others like them puts you one step closer to getting your feet in the sand. Time is precious and we need to cherish the moments we have with our loved ones. So go on that quest and make it amazing!