Amidst our busy lifestyles, we rarely find the opportunity to spend completely unadulterated quality time with our families. Cue the family vacation which, with summer fast approaching in the UK, is on the top of many ‘to do’ lists. This year, the average British family will spend as much as £1284.54 per person on their summer vacation, amounting to £5138,16 for a family of four – almost double the monthly average salary in the UK. Despite the countless joys associated with a family vacation, many families will suffer severe financial strain when it comes to paying for these special vacations. All hope is not lost though and by following a few basic guidelines you and your family can also afford to take a much-needed break soon.
Draw up a budget and start saving well in advance
As tempting as it may be to charge your entire vacation to your credit card, it will end up costing you hundreds of pounds more in the end and even possibly leaving you with a bad credit record. If you want to continue enjoying good financial health, the first step towards saving for your holiday is to draw up a realistic budget. You need to determine exactly how much money you will need as well as how much you can afford to save towards your vacation every month. The longer time you give yourself to save, the less you will need to save every month – just remember to take possible price hikes into consideration. If you need £6,000, for example, you would have to save £1,000 a month over 6 months, or just £500 over a year-long period.
If you are worried that you may not be diligent enough to physically put money away every month consider setting up a debit order to a separate savings account. Chances are you will completely forget about the savings account and won’t be tempted to withdraw the money to use prior to your vacation. You can get your children in on the action by assigning a coin jar to each of them, encouraging them to save towards their own spending money as well. Set small targets for yourself and your family and see how many of them you can reach, perhaps incentivising some of them as you near your departure date.
Saving money while on vacation
If you have saved industriously in the time leading up to your vacation the last thing you want to do is blow all your savings in a single day. Drawing up a daily budget according to your itinerary (and sticking to it) can help you to make your money last throughout your entire vacation. You can also employ one or all of the following tips that will save you a few pounds without detracting from a quality family vacation.
Buy groceries and cook your own food
Eating restaurant or hotel food on a daily basis can easily set you back a few hundred pounds. If you are staying somewhere that has kitchen facilities, consider buying some groceries and cooking your own meals. You don’t have to slave away in the kitchen the entire day but opting for breakfast cereals and yoghurt instead of a 3-course English breakfast will end up saving you more than a few pennies in the end.
Be prepared to get some work done
Extended working holidays have been popular for a couple of decades already but earning money while vacationing isn’t just limited to school-leavers exploring foreign countries. Internet technology has made it possible for remote work to be conducted from just about anywhere. If you normally work from home, whether as a blogger or content writer, nothing prevents you from getting some work done while on holiday. You don’t have to work at your normal pace but getting a few assignments done while the family is occupied elsewhere will allow you to enjoy a steady income even when away from home.
Effective budgeting comes more naturally to some individuals than others but is undoubtedly a skill that can be mastered with some practice and dedication. Being able to go on vacation is a great privilege and should not leave you with a huge amount of debt to face upon your return. By exercising careful financial planning and making small efforts to save money, you can enjoy guilt-free quality time with your family leaving you feeling relaxed, happy and ready to plan next year’s family getaway.